x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Entries at 2011 Liwa date festival up by 20%

An expected 50 exhibitors and 3,600 competitors will participate in the annual Liwa Date Festival in Al Gharbia, with farmers hoping to win a car and Dh5 million.

Some 3,600 competitors will put the precious fruits of their labour before the judges at Al Gharbia in July.

And it is not just bragging rights for which the growers are vying at this year's Liwa Date Festival. The farmer with the finest dates will take home a car and Dh5 million.

An expected 50 exhibitors will also display the country's best dates at the event, for which 80,000 visitors are expected at Abu Dhabi's Western Region on July 16-25.

The number of competitors at the heritage event, which is organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, is expected to be a 20 per cent increase on last year.

"More people are participating because they are taking more care of their date palms and increasing date production by using new technologies," said Obeid al Mazrouei, the festival's director.

Mr al Mazrouei said the festival would prove the UAE produced the "best dates of the region", some of which visitors will be able to sample.

"We care about the quality of the dates and that's one of the reasons the festival has been increasingly successful over the years," he said.

The festival will feature a market with 160 shops, where Emirati women will display traditional handmade products and take part in a handicrafts competition.

There will also be an exhibition of ancient Emirati tents made from palm trees.

"It's a unique festival because visitors will be able to see the tradition of the UAE," Mr al Mazrouei said.

Last year's event included 35,000 palm trees donated by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, which were distributed to farmers in the region.

cmalek@thenational.ae