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Liwa Date Festival begins next month

The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach) will hold the Liwa Date Festival in July in Al Gharbia (the Western Region) of Abu Dhabi.

The Festival, which will be held between the 16-25 of July, under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, includes many competitions and several events which focus upon ideas of culture and heritage.

The heritage elements of this Festival focus upon the strategy of preserving Abu Dhabi's cultural heritage and improving types of UAE dates. These aims are considered with reference to both local and international excellence.

Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Advisor for Culture and Heritage in the Court of His Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Director General of Adach, stressed that the Festival aims to continue the approach of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the agricultural renaissance in the UAE, and the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, in developing palm plantation in the UAE. The Festival is supported by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan who maintains an active involvement and interest in this project.

The event aims to educate farmers on the ways of modern farming and caring for palm trees in order to yield a useful economic output. It is also hoped that improved understanding in this area will encourage them to pay more attention to the quality of the production of dates, without chemical additives. The Festival serves as an annual event to exchange technical expertise among farmers in order to provide the best quality produce.

Last year, the Festival was a unique heritage and tourism carnival, attracting date lovers, farmers, families and various institutions. Records indicate that more than 75,000 visitors, including foreign tourists, flocked to the event. The Festival also played host to over 10,000 children. Special tents and entertainments were employed to engage these young minds, throughout the course of the Festival.

It has been suggested that, through its successes, the Festival has contributed to Liwa's business boom, with a significant increase in trade and tourism both from within the UAE, and beyond.

The Festival witnessed the participation of 3000 competitors in different categories, namely Khallas, Dabbas, Boumaan, Fardh, and Nukhba, or the competition of the best heritage display.

Obeid Al Mazrouei, Director of the Festival, noted that the event appeared to have been successful in achieving its aims. The ten day Festival also appeared to have had a positive effect on the commercial and services sectors, with particular focus on hotels in Al Gharbia, who reported being fully booked during this period.

The Festival management, as a token of support, bought large amounts of dates from farmers worth 2.5 AED million, whilst providing them with a further 2 AED million as a token of their support. The dates purchased by the organisers were then distributed, for free, amongst the Festival goers.

The traditional market accommodated 159 shops, where Emirati women displayed authentic handcrafts and creative hand made products. Sales in the traditional market reached 4 AED million. Visitors had a chance to witness Emirati women practicing traditional crafts in the majlises as well as witnessing many other skilled craft works.

In the traditional exhibition tent, visitors took a closer look at the ancient Emirati houses with traditional decors. Groups also performed in these tents for the entertainment of the attendees.

The Festival unveiled UAE food and drink. The use of palm was also demonstrated and products such as pickled dates, tea, Arabic and Turkish coffee, teeth cleaner, incense, kohl and skin cleanser were displayed to demonstrate the practical application of these products.

The "Liwa Ratab Festival" also included the display of the largest industrialised date model in the world, which is 10.5 meters long, 5 meters wide and 6 meters high and accommodates up to 20 people in a majlis.

The world's biggest food table, whose diameter is 6.30 meters, was also on display.

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