Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, the Liwa Date Festival will run from the 12th to the 18th of July, 2014.
This year, the Festival offers a bouquet of exciting activities that will remain firmly lodged in the memory of visitors and tourists of different ages. The Liwa Date Festival is organised by the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi with the support of many state bodies and private institutions.
“The Liwa Date Festival will receive its visitors on a daily basis after Iftar (breaking of the fast), and this from 08:00 pm until 01:00 am. The Festival is considered as the most important event in the Liwa region at the Gate of the Empty Quarter as it offers farmers a unique opportunity to meet with a public of different nationalities and ages,” said the Director of the Liwa Date Festival, Mr. Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei.
“The Festival is the perfect occasion to find out about the cultivation and the preservation of the palm tree and to get acquainted with the different varieties of Al Ratab (half-ripe dates). Participants in the Al Ratab Mazayna (Half-ripe Date Beauty Competition) are required to respect a number of rules and conditions, notably: the general hygiene at the farm, the palm tree maintenance, and the use of the best irrigation methods,” he added.
Mazrouei noted that the weight of the product presented for participation in the single variety categories should range between 20-25 kg. He also stressed that the weight of the product presented for participation in Al Nukhba category should not be less than 4 kg.
“The story of the Liwa Date Festival is one of a lifetime of surprises as each year brings in a new revelation, especially through the introduction of new categories. This year, the 10th edition of the Festival will be characterised by a rise in the number of the prizes to 220, compared to 205 prizes in the 2013 edition. The total value of the prizes will consequently surge to reach Dhs6 million, compared to Dhs5 million in the previous edition,” Mazrouei explained.
Al Ratab Mazayna, the main attraction at the Festival includes seven varieties: Al Khanizi, Al Khallas, Al Dabbas, Abu Maan, Al Fardh, Al Nukhba, and Akbar A’adj. The Best Mangoes and Best Lemons competitions will be held for the fourth time this year, as part of the activities of the Liwa Date Festival.
the 10th edition of the Festival will also witness the introduction and the launch of “The Model Farm Award” competition. The total value of the prizes for this new competition reaches up to AED 750,000, with further details to be announced later.
And to provide visitors, Emirati nationals and tourists with an adequate opportunity to discover the local Emirati agricultural production, a new competition, “The Fruits of the House”, will be launched. The competition includes different products: grapes, figs, pineapple, pomegranate, grapefruit, and others. And, the fruits should be locally produced and originating from the garden or the farm owned by the participant.
The total value of the prizes for this new competition reaches Dhs100,000 (Dhs50,000 for the top winner, Dhs30,000 for the winner of the 2nd position, and Dhs20,000 for the winner of the 3rd position).
“The Fruits of the House”, a unique and pioneering competition of its kind, aims at encouraging farmers to care for the local fruit production, and maintain this type of agriculture. The introduction of this new competition comes as part of the efforts made by the Organising Committee of the Festival to develop this leading event, strengthen performance, and improve the quality of the local fruit production.
The Organising Committee has stressed the requirement to respect the deadlines for the submission of samples in accordance with the categories and in respect of the preset dates. The registration for participation in the different competitions should take place one week before the beginning of the Festival at the official site of the event. The registration for participation in the “The Model Farm Award” competition begins on the first day of the Festival, with results to be announced on the last day.
Mazrouei noted that the name of the competition “Best Heritage Performance” was changed to “Best Heritage Model”. The rules stipulate the use of natural materials in the artwork, within any of the many fields of the authentic Emirati heritage. The jury will take into consideration the number of heritage pieces used in the artwork, the degree of workmanship, and the harmony between the used materials. The artwork should represent an aspect of the old way of life, and the dimensions of the model must range between 1 metre and 2 metres at highest.
“At the Liwa Date Festival, you will find excitement and pleasure and discover heritage and authenticity. The Festival is one of the most popular events where there is no room for loss or failure. For the second year in a row, three promotion laps will be organised for the following varieties of Al Ratab: Al Dabbas, Al Khallas, and Al Nukhba. The three laps are intended for participants who have never won in any of the previous editions of the Festival. And, the objective consists in rewarding these participants for their continued partaking, as well as motivating and encouraging them to make further efforts to compete with others,” Mazrouei said.