Above: Khallas dates displayed for competition at the Liwa Date Festival in Abu Dhabi’s western region last year. Below: Mohammad Khalaf Al Mazroui addresses a press conference to announce the Liwa Date Festival Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News Archive

Abu Dhabi: A new category in the date beauty competition, additional contests, discussions and activities await all those who venture to the seventh edition of the Liwa Date Festival, which will take place in the Western Region, from Tuesday to July 21.

"This year, we have included the category of largest date bunch to the date competition in addition to two new competitions, for the best UAE grown mangoes and lemons, that will take place alongside the date beauty competition. We decided to organise these competitions to show that Emirati agriculture is not limited to dates but that we are able to grow a wide variety of produce," Obaid Khalfan Al Mazroui, Director of Liwa Date Festival 2011, said.

The yearly event, which is organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), is being held under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.


"The festival is a unique annual meeting for culture and heritage. Through its broad range of activities and events, visitors to the 10-day festival will be provided with an opportunity to witness the rich diversity of Emirati culture while participants will be provided with avenues to raise awareness about their products and take part in a series of discussions regarding the date palm tree," Mohammad Khalaf Al Mazroui, Chairman of the Organising Committee, the Advisor for Culture and Heritage at the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Director-General of ADACH, said. Additionally, the festival will be hosted in Ajman from July 28 to 30 at the request of the Emirate's Ministry of Culture. "Officials from Ajman's Ministry of Culture approached us to help them organise a date festival in the emirate during the final three days of July and we agreed. This festival will take place after the Liwa Date Festival ends, and there is no connection between the two events," Obaid explained.

More than 3,600 farmers and 360 stands have been registered for the Liwa Date Festival 2011, whose size has increased to 52,000 square metres. In addition to the traditional souq and children's area, visitors will be provided with an opportunity to interact with a wide variety of organisations that will be showcasing their products and initiatives at the festival.

"We have always received positive feedback from participants and visitors since the festival was established in 2004. That has allowed us to grow from strength to strength and promote the UAE's culture and heritage through a unique avenue. With the festival's constant growth, we hope that one day it will reach international recognition, on par with events such as Spain's Tomato Festival," ADACH's Director-General said.


— With inputs from Sarah Hassan, Staff Reporter