The seventh edition of the Liwa Date Festival, which begins on July 16 in the Western Region will include several new competitions, said a senior official.
"This year, in addition to the date beauty competition, we are also adding a competition for the largest date bunch. They can weigh up to 60 kilograms depending on their type. Also, we are adding a cooking competition, whereby participants have to create a three course menu using dates as a main element in each dish," Obaid Al Mazroui, the festival director, said.
"These were organised based on feedback from last year's participants and visitors, however, the competitions' final details, including their prizes, will be announced closer to the festival," he added.
In 2010, 2,000 farmers registered for the date beauty competition. The number of participants has already increased by 20 per cent.
The competition is divided among six varieties of dates: khallas; dabbas, abu maan, fardh, nukhba and the khanizi, which was added last year. Owners of winning entries will receive vehicles and monetary prizes that total up to Dh5 million.
"So far, 3,600 farmers have registered to take part in our date beauty competition. We are expecting even more to sign up, especially since farmers can continue to do so even during the festival. The competition is always heated because even though a farmer may register 250 dates, only 15 of those will be chosen by judges to compete before a winner is announced," Al Mazroui said.
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), the nine day festival, which will end on July 25, has also seen an increase in its overall size to 52,000 square metres, with over 360 stands already registered.
"The space allocated for this year has increased by 2,000 square metres... We already have 160 stands allocated for the traditional souq and we are expecting the number of registration requests to increase as the festival's opening draws closer. We are also expecting 80,000 visitors this year, as a result of its increasing regional and international profile," Al Mazroui said.
He also noted that in the festival's sixth edition, Emirati entrepreneurs also launched successful products including pickled dates and date ice cream, which highlights the potential for diversity within the industry.
The director also indicated the possibility of creating special travel packages for visitors to encourage them to visit the festival.
From / Gulf News