Dates on display at the Emirates International Date Palm Festival in Abu Dhabi. Participants and visitors are happy with the growth of the festival over the years. Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The fifth edition of the Emirates International Date Palm Festival, which began on Monday, is receiving positive feedback from visitors and participants alike.

The six-day event is being held under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA). It is organised by ADFCA and Turret Middle East and is being held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).

"I've visited the festival ever since it was launched and I'm amazed by how much it has grown. Dates are a very important part of our heritage. Not only were they a staple in our diet, but their trees were used for a wide variety of things," said Abdul Rahman Bin Hamad, Manager, UAE Business Security Guide.

"It's wonderful how there continues to be support to highlight it, especially as the date industry is always growing and innovating, which shows how much demand there is for this incredible fruit," he added.

More than 17,000 visitors are expected to visit the festival, which features 200 exhibitors from 17 countries in a 6,000-square-metre area. China, Italy, United States, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, Morocco, Iraq and Iran are participating for the first time. Each of the last five countries has set up national pavilion at the festival.

‘We're excited'

"We're excited to be here once again… last year, our participating organisations were so well-received that we were encouraged to return and now there are eight companies and institutions participating," said Eng Omarah Zghoul, Executive Director, Jordanian Dates Association.

"We are also very pleased to have a country pavilion during this exhibition as it helps us highlight our efforts in this industry," he added.

In addition to the industry side of the festival, visitors can also enjoy a wide range of cultural and entertainment-based features and activities.

"This is the first time that we have visited the festival and we enjoyed it immensely. My pupils enjoyed learning about different types of dates, as well as about the UAE's culture and heritage and those of other participating countries… they also enjoyed creating several items in the Kids Zone," said Laila Al Souri, an Arabic teacher at the Mubarak Bin Mohammad School.

Things to do at venue

  • Date Tasting: There are over 500 varieties of dates that you can taste.
  • Date Palm Climbing: A key heritage activity. Visitors will have the chance to try their hand at climbing.
  • Date Palm Tree planting: You can plant your very own palm tree in a dedicated area of the festival and learn what it takes to care of one.
  • Date Kitchen: Celebrity chefs Manal Al Alam, Khuloud Saeed, Suzanne Hussaini, Nada Jaber Ali and Tomas Reger will create unique dishes incorporating dates every afternoon and evening.
  • Date Palm Theatre: Visitors can enjoy poetry recitals, competitions, games, plays and much more.
  • Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Entrance ticket: Dh10
  • Information: www.datepalmfestival.net