The festival is dedicated to one of the Armenian national confectioneries - Gata. Gata is one of the main decorations of Armenian holiday tables. It is traditionally baked in tonir, mainly followed by the baking of lavash. Gata is a sweet bread, the core of which is khoriz, a mixture of flour, butter and sugar. It is decorated with edible patterns and braids. The main goals of the festival are:
- raise the living standards of the population of the border village;
- create economic activity;
- develop the village as a tourist destination.
It is noteworthy that the results of the festival are also spread in the neighboring villages involved in the events.
The idea of the festival arose in 2014, when one of the young people of Khachik (Arus Nersisyan) participated in a youth exchange program in Moldova. And she made gata as a symbol of Armenian cuisine and culture. The hospitality aroused so much interest among the other participants of the program that when she returned to her native village, she offered the mayor to organize a gata festival together with the community day events. The festival is organized every year since 2014. Only the 2020 program was canceled due to the pandemy and the war.
The festival begins with the blessing of Gata. The most anticipated event is the cutting ceremony of the largest gata in the world, which is then served free of charge to those present. The program includes national songs and dances, national and military games, riding, master classes (noodles, gata, pottery), visit to the village small museum, tasting of delicious dishes and goods typical of the village, tasting and sale of ecologically clean agricultural products, exhibition-sale of handicrafts and works of art, performances by the staff of the Yerevan State Circus.
The innovation of the festival is the biggest gata in the world. Its size is increasing year by year and in 2021 the diameter was 4,35 m.
Key partners and supporters
The main partners of the festival are Areni community municipality, "Areni" festival foundation.
Participants, local community and customer segment
The main participants of the festival are the residents of Khachik and nearby villages. Most of the visitors are from the CIS countries, there are guests in large and small groups from different parts of the world. A large flow of visitors is provided by travel companies. This year, domestic tourists were more active due to the pandemy.
Communication and dissemination channels
The organizers are cooperating with Armenia TV to raise awareness about the festival. The FB pages of the Areni Wine Festival Foundation (https://www.facebook.com/AreniFestivalFoundation) and the Gata Festival (https://www.facebook.com/KhachikGataFest/) are actively used to spread information. The platform of YouTube is also used as a marketing tool.
Specific elements and features
Khachik is located 160 km from Yerevan, 40 km from the regional center. The route from Yerevan includes the following settlements: YEREVAN - Masis - Artashat - Surenavan - Armash - Yeraskh - Tigranashen - Zangakatun - Elpin - Chiva - Areni - KHACHIK. Hitchhiking is often used to reach a village. On the day of the festival, the municipality organizes Areni-Khachik passenger transportation.