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Spreading joy
Mehregan celebrations in Orange County, California

By Hossein Hosseini
October 28, 2003
The Iranian

This year's Mehregan Festival attracted thousands of people to Southern California. Organized by NIPOC -- Network of Iranian-American Professionals of Orange County -- the 8th annual event was perhaps the largest Iranian Mehregan gathering in the United States. While we don't have the final count yet, the estimates are that over 10,000 visitors attended the two-day family event on October 4-5 at the Orange County Fair & Exposition Center in Costa Mesa.

Mehregan is a community event where hundreds of volunteers donate their time and talents to its success. All proceeds are used for future Mehregan celebrations, other cultural events, and student scholarships >>> Photos

There were plenty of activities for young and old including traditional music, dance, arts and Crafts, traditional sports, pop music, and of course exotic Persian food from various kaebabs to a vendor selling "Ashe Khaleh".

Entertainers on the main stage included Nooshafrin, Black Cats, Ali Daniel, Pyruz & The Romantics, and Helen. The legendary Ardavan Mofid kept the crowd happy with his Naghali, and the dance group Naynava, directed by Shida Pegahi performed outstanding tradional dances.

One area which has always been a crowd favorite was the Tea House. This area was decorated by several tables covered by kilims, reminding people of old tea houses in mountain tops near Tehran.

There was also dance and singing contests, poetry reading, carnival games, a play house for children, ceramic and pottery work, a performance by clown and magic star Yu-Gi-Oh,
Iranian cartoons, painting, handicrafts, face painting, and balloons.

A Persian heritage center was set up to display various cultural aspects of Iran's provinces and peoples, including Assyrians, Azerbaijanis, Qashqaies, Gilanis, Isfahanis, Kermanis, and Khuzestanis. Also, prime examples of Iranian Cinema, literature, and sports were highlighted.

Influential American and Iranian community leaders (more than 120) were treated to fine Iranian hospitality in the the VIP Tent and introduced to the rich culture of Iran.

Despite the large crowd, the local sheriff's department was amazed at how peaceful the event had been. This was a great opportunity for us to overcome the constant negative images portrayed in the American media about Iran and Iranians.

We rely on many volunteers to help us make the Mehregan Festival an enjoyable experience for all. If you are interested in participating in future events, email us at >>> Photos

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Book of the day

Funny in Farsi
A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America
By Firoozeh Dumas
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