x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Dates meet their fates from tomorrow in Liwa

The annual Liwa Date Festival begins tomorrow with a promise from its director that this year's celebration will be the biggest and best yet.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, inspects a date during last year's festival.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, inspects a date during last year's festival.

ABU DHABI // The annual Liwa Date Festival begins tomorrow with a promise from its director Obaid Khalfan al Mazrouei that this year's celebration will be the biggest and best yet. The approximately 43,000 square metres of tents erected on the site include a farmer's market of 140 stalls. The event will also present evenings of poetry, traditional games and a children's theatre.

"The festival this year will be the best, most celebrated and most updated," Mr al Mazrouei said. "We have a new logo, a new website and a tent for children." The market stalls will be run by local families, and Mr al Mazrouei said he hoped the event would encourage date farmers in the area to continue their trade. "We opened the ratb [date] market for selling farmers' products directly to visitors to encourage our citizens and farmers and make way for greater participation," he said.

Visitors to the 10-day event will be able to sample the many varieties of date. From 8am to 3pm and 6pm to 11pm each day, visitors will also be able to watch the judging of dates in such categories as the general hygiene of the farms, care for the palm trees, methods of irrigation, and, of course, the taste and appearance of the fruit. Entry standards for competitions this year are also higher than in previous years, said Mohammed Khalaf al Mazrouei, the chairman of the supreme committee for the festival and director general of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach).

"Before, any farmer could bring their dates to the festival's competitions, but this year, we are sending inspectors to the farms to see the dates before they come to the event." aseaman@thenational.ae