Scores of school children attended the first day of the Date Palm Festival at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. The event is also providing an opportunity for artisans to showcase their work. Image Credit: Alex Westcott/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Over 100 exhibitors are participating at the Fourth International Date Palm Festival, which began yesterday and will run until Saturday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).

Previously hosted in Al Ain, the festival is being held under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, and organised by Turret Media in collaboration with UAE University, the Khalifa International Date Palm Award and Date Palm Friends Society.

"Over 100 exhibitors and four national pavilions from Oman, Iraq, Jordan and Morocco will join forces to stage a remarkable display of the date varieties and provide additional opportunities for market growth in food services [internationally]. We have received tremendous support from the Abu Dhabi government as the event celebrates the traditional value of the date palm tree, which is beloved by our Rulers. Our aim is to grow with this exhibition… and bring in more pavilions, especially from Europe," Qaboos Khalid, Director of the Festival, Turret Media, said.

Artisans gather

The Fourth International Date Palm Festival is not only bringing together date professionals from around the UAE and the region, but is also providing an opportunity for artisans and traditional handicraft makers to showcase their work.

The festival is being held concurrently with SIAL Middle East, the world's largest international food trade exhibition and conference.

"This is the first time we participate in both events…we're very excited because each will help to highlight a different aspect of our Sougha initiative," said Leila Ben Gacem, Manager, Entrepreneurship Development Department, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development.

"At SIAL, we hope that we will be able to speak to various organisations, including government departments, to allow us to supply them with traditional handicrafts for various events, while at the Date Palm Festival we will be showcasing the results of our one month project that was conducted in three towns to revive date palm weaving as well as launch our first collection of palm wood products," she added.

Desert oasis

The Community of Nutrition Department at Al Tawaam Hospital has organised a Date Palm Oasis at the event to give visitors a real life feeling of being in a desert oasis surrounded by date palm trees.

The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach) is hosting a Date Tasting Area which allows visitors to taste around 200 varieties of dates from all around the world.

Adach is also presenting traditional dance and music performances.


  • What: Fourth International Date Palm Festival
  • When: November 22 to 27
  • Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Hall 11 and Abu Dhabi Hall
  • Timings: November 22 to 25, 10am to 1pm/ 4pm to 10pm; November 26 and 27, 2pm to 10pm
  • Tickets: Dh10
  • Telephone: 800 23632; website: www.datepalmfestival.ae