Liwa Dates Festival to begin on July 20

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Liwa Dates Festival to begin on July 20
The festival will be held till July 30.

Abu Dhabi - 220 prizes worth Dh6 million will be given away at the celebration of fresh harvest of dates.


Silvia Radan

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Published: Mon 18 Jul 2016, 9:39 PM

At least 60,000 people are expected to head to Mazeirah in the Western Region during the next couple of weeks, for the Liwa Dates Festival (LDF).
Now in its 12th year, the biggest summer festival in the emirate is a celebration of the fresh harvest of dates, otherwise know as "ratab", the half-ripe dates.
Taking place from July 20 to 30 in air-conditioned tents stretching over 20,000 square metres, the festival is organised by the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi, which this year gives away 220 prizes worth Dh6 million.
The majority of these prizes are for best tasting and best looking dates, but there are also competitions of date palm farming, Emirati grown mangoes and lemons, best fruit and dates baskets as well as heritage model making and photography.
"In each new edition, we remain keen on celebrating the date season, as part of a comprehensive vision to protect and safeguard the tangible and intangible heritage of the emirate," said Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Director of the festival.
"The palm trees and dates represent an integral part of our local heritage, hence we continue to work towards the development of the palm plantation in the UAE," he added. In the past few decades, the UAE has planted 22 million palm trees, which according to the United Nations, represent 20 per cent of the total number of palm trees worldwide. Trade-wise too, the UAE has overtaken 40 other nations, now being the world's largest exporter of dates with over 100,000 tonnes per year.
Some of the country's best quality dates will be available at the festival. A special market for "ratab" will be set up at the festival, where farmers, mostly from Liwa and Al Ain, will sell their fresh dates.
"The quality of their dates is very close to the quality of the top winners of the date competition," Al Mazrouei told Khaleej Times.
In 2015, around 300 farmers vied for the top titles of the dates competitions, and this year the same number of participants are expected.
"To be honest, we are far more interested in the quality of the dates participants enter in the competitions than the numbers, and we have noticed an improvement in quality year by year, making the judges' job increasingly difficult."
Entrance to the festival is free and opening hours are from 4pm to 10pm.

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