Judges from Guinness World Records have done a U-turn after initially disqualifying a UAE entry for the biggest plate of dates. Organisers of the Liwa date festival were dismayed when their submission for the world's largest dish of dates fell foul of red tape - because the plate was made from the wrong material. They discovered too late that the giant stainless steel platter they created specially for the event should have been made from porcelain, crystal or clay to qualify.
Now, after an 11th-hour bid to reverse the decision, the Guinness judges have relented and created a new category for the entry. It means the platter, which measures 12 metres by two metres and will be heaped with dates, will make it into the record books. Yesterday, Mohammed al Qubaisi, one of the festival organisers, said: "We finally have approval to submit our record-breaking plate of dates. Officials from the Guinness World Records contacted us directly and have processed our application now.
"It will be a real pleasure to set the first record of its kind, not only in Liwa but the whole world. It means everyone in the world will be witness to what happens here." As The National reported on Wednesday, the Liwa festival officials had initially submitted a bid for the largest plate in the world and planned to beat the previous record set in Japan in 1996 for a porcelain dish with a 2.8 metre diameter.
They said they were told too late that the competing plate had to be made from the same material as the original attempt. It meant their steel dish was disqualified but with just a fortnight until the festival, there was not enough time to create a regulation platter. Instead, they appealed to the Guinness World Records headquarters in London - and officials finally gave in and created a new category for the largest stainless steel plate.
A spokesman said: "Marco Frigatti, the head of records, looked at the claim and decided to create a new record. "Not any plate will do. With all new categories of this kind, we ask the claimant to make an object at least 10 times bigger than the standard size. "He has already notified the claimants. We are glad they got in touch and have been able to resolve this together." Mr Qubaisi added that Guinness World Records officials reduced the standard Dh50,000 (US$13,620) entry fee for a record attempt to Dh36,000.
There is no official record for the biggest plate of dates but in keeping with the theme of the festival, the steel plate will be piled high with ratb, or half-ripe, dates. It will be unveiled to thousands of spectators on Thursday. The record attempt will mark the culmination of 17 days of festivities, including date auctions, poetry evenings, a group wedding and a competition for the best varieties of the fruit.