Praznik na Garnetata
“Pottery Fest” also known as “Dobrudzha’s Culinary Academy” is a food and arts festival staged originally in the village of Zimnitza since 2009. The activity is organized by the local community (including owners of tourism businesses, residents and authorities’ representatives) with the main purpose to promote regional traditions, arts, crafts, products and cooking techniques and to attract more visitors to the area.
The location of the festival alters and in recent years it has been staged in the village of Alexandria, again in Krushary Municipality, which is a part of the Dobrudzha region (northeastern Bulgaria). The population is rather diverse, consisting of four different ethnos – Bulgarians, Turks, Gypsies and Tatars. Tourism resources are abundant; there are opportunities for developing eco, rural, hunting, heritage and wine tourism. The region hosts more than twenty various places of interests including ancient fortresses, necropolis, rock monasteries, historical buildings, unique natural sites, etc. Unfortunately, most of them are unknown to the wider public. Some tourist sites have been included in alternative tourism packages and the visitors are mainly day-trippers (excursionists).
“Pottery fest” focuses on cooking, showcasing and degustation of typical food and dishes, music, dances and other folklore performances in which visitors may actively take part. In recent years crafts demonstrations such as painting, knitting, embroidery and forging were added. The programme of the festival includes: exposition and degustation of typical dishes; a contest for the best authentic dish and wine; a contest for best decorated stall; crafts; folklore music
and dances; animation for children and adults; agricultural trade fair. The event is annual and attracts around 200 visitors. The participants are locals and tourists who have some culinary talents and zest for traditional cuisine.
The organizers are local enthusiasts supported by the authorities (Krushary Municipality) and other stakeholders such as the regional historical museum in Dobrich, Bulgarian Association of Rural and EcoTourism, regional educational institutions, and non-governmental organizations.
Regional and national televisions and newspapers cover the event (e.g. the 2012-edition was filmed by a national television channel that staged a cooking show in six series around the regional cuisine theme). Moreover, the event is promoted through social media and is featured in the events calendar of various specialist sites for tourism and cultural festivals.
The event was nominated for one of the 100 most important attractions in a trans-border destination project between Romania and Bulgaria and was featured in a trade show in Euphoria (Romania) where it received international attention.
The food festival is attempting to reach broader support from the corporate sector and non-profit organizations. In 2014 for example, there were more than 80 private companies and organizations listed as sponsors of the event.
A symbolic entrance fee was paid for participation in some of the editions of the festival.
Another important source of income is sale of goods, souvenirs, food products and beverages.
Key success factors
- Active involvement of tourists and local residents (visitors not only observe, or make degustation, but also are invited to cook traditional dishes in pottery;
- Combination of music, arts, crafts and culinary degustation;
- Cultural and educational benefits. The festival is also attended by local schools as an opportunity to enhance the Bulgarian identity among youth;
Destination becomes more attractive to tourists and they are encouraged to discover more aspects of this little-known region.
- Transport infrastructure needs urgent improvement. In rainy days, the festival site is practically inaccessible;
- More facilities for the visitors’ accommodation should be planned – such as public restrooms, pick nick areas, recreational shadowed or air-conditioned zones etc.;
- COVID19 pandemic lead to cancellation of the last year addition and it is not evident whether the festival will be held in 2021.
Sources of the images:
Zimnitza and Alexandria Villages, Krushari Municipality, Northeast Planning Region
Food, crafts and arts festival “Praznik na garnetata” (Pottery fest)