Liwa Date Festival 2011 concludes on high note

ABU DHABI - The Liwa Date Festival 2011 concluded on a high note in Liwa, the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, yesterday, as the 10 day festival saw a large number of visitors who came to enjoy discovering the world of ripe date and hearing stories about the tree that bears the noblest fruits.
The festival witnessed competitions under several categories, where “Mzainat Al Rutab” which is the festival main competition featured various categories including Al Khallas, Al Dabbas, Boumaan, Kunaizi, Al Fard, Al Nukhbah, Akbar Azej, Mango and Lemon, with the latter made their debut in Liwa Date Festival 2011, in addition to the competition of the Best Heritage Show, which was held with the aim of reflecting the UAE traditions and customs and unveiling the highlights of the ancient local environment.
In the Best Ripe Date Table contest, sponsored by ADNOC, Ms Ghabisha Saeed Al Murar won the first place’s cash prize of Dh3000, Ms Rawdah Mohammed Al Hamili came second and received a cash prize of Dh2500, while the third place’s cash prize of Dh2000 went to Al Anoud Ali Al Malki. Ms Fatima Feri Al Mansouri and Ms Maithaa Rashid Al Mazrouei came fourth and fifth, respectively.
Mr. George Gabriel, Head of Judge Panel, said the winning dish was distinguished in terms of way of presentation, preparation and taste. He added that the entries were evaluated according to major criteria, including the general appearance of the table, degree of difficulty in preparing the presented meal, its healthy benefits and degree of consistency, in addition to the presentation about the dish by the participant. The judge panel will be considering later on the possibility of listing the winning dish in the menu of some hotels.
Speaking on the occasion, Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, the Advisor for Culture and Heritage at the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage and Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee, expressed his delight at the tremendous success of the Liwa Date Festival which was organized by Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. The festival aimed at improving the types of Emirati dates available and confirming their excellence, both locally and internationally, while maintaining their natural health component.
Khalaf affirmed that the festival is a unique heritage and tourism carnival and the first of its kind for date and ripe date in the region.
He commended the level of organizing, the diversity of activities and volume of participation during the 7thedition of the festival which is in line with the authority’s strategy of preserving the heritage of the emirate and the UAE, and highlighting the role of palm which occupies a significant part of the Emirati genuine heritage and the UAE human memory.
Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, member of the Higher Organizing Committee and Director of Liwa Date Festival 2011, said the exhibition area has increased by 20 percent this year as compared to the figures of the last year. This proves the festival management’s keenness to enable the participants to increase the displayed items and receive larger number of visitors. He said the number of visitors this year was over 70.000, which is around the figure of the last year. Al Mazrouei stated that the number

of entries in “Mzainat Al Rutab” category has reduced this year, as the festival management was keen to improve the quality of entries and to focus on quality rather than quantity.
The festival director added that the 7th edition of the festival attracted a large number of tourists and visitors who showed keen interest to get the delicious ripe date and to buy the handmade products displayed in the festival. Average daily sale was Dh250.000.
Liwa Date Festival included this year over 50 pavilions representing a number of government departments and private companies, including one pavilion for Adnoc and its Group of Companies, the official sponsor of the festival. Adnoc’s pavilion attracted visitors from different nationalities and age groups. Visitors expressed their admiration for the company’s initiatives and continuous efforts in the development of the Western Region. Visitors enjoyed touring a gallery that was organized inside Adnoc’s pavilion, displaying a collection of old photos recording important periods of the history of the region.
Adnoc’s keenness to support the festival came in recognition of the outstanding role the festival plays as a unique heritage and tourism event that significantly contributes to enhancing the spirit of competitiveness and spreading awareness among citizens on the excellence of dates as a deep rooted national product. Adnoc’s sponsorship of the festival is in line with its commitment to take a leading part in community development activities and in social, economic and cultural programs as part of its corporate social responsibility strategy.
The pavilion of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, the Platinum sponsor, saw huge response from visitors who were interested to learn about the UAE peaceful nuclear program and its economic and social benefits for the country, in general, and the Western Region, in particular. The corporation sponsored a number of competitions for public and presented gifts and cash prizes.
Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre offered 10 percent discount on agricultural supplies such as seeds, fertilizers and other agricultural production supplies. Al Jamaa Palms offered 15 percent discount for buyers of 50 seedlings and more.
Abu Dhabi Health Authority participated through a healthy and educational stand with the aim to communicate with all groups of society, particularly the Western Region’s citizens. Abu Dhabi Traffic Department, represented by the Traffic Department at the Western Region, intensified efforts to raise the level of traffic education among the festival’s visitors, by such initiatives as distributing educational pamphlets and booklets. Statistics Centre – Abu Dhabi launched a large scale campaign about its national project “Abu Dhabi Census 2011” under the theme “Our Census, Our Future”.
Through its stand, Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs presented its activities and efforts to provide human and social care for orphans and people with special needs in Abu Dhabi.
The traditional market was attractive, with about 160 outlets exhibiting handmade products made from palm and date in addition to a children tent which hosted various heritage and traditional competitions.
The festival witnessed shows presented by reputed folklore bands and the musical band of the General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police as well as female police shows organized by the Western Region Police Department in cooperation with Police Schools of Abu Dhabi Police.
The festival saw a number of innovative inventions and nice additions, including a show for dogs trained to detect infected palms, the launch of the world largest mat made from palm fronds with 24.30 length and 1.75 width, the launch of new types of juices made from date, innovation of delicious dishes made mainly from date and making laptop and mobile bags in a creative mix between the heritage and the modern, in addition to other inventions which make Liwa Date Festival 2011 distinguished.
The festival attracted all groups of society and citizens, residents, tourists, government departments and private companies in one gathering which has become an eagerly awaited event from year to year.
Worth mentioning that the Department of Culture and Information in Ajman will host the festival during 27, 28 and 29 July in the Emirate of Ajman, under the patronage of Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman.