Liwa Date Festival celebrates increase in attendance

More than 75,000 people attended the sixth annual festival, up by 25 per cent on last year.

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More than 75,000 people attended the sixth annual Liwa Date Festival, up by 25 per cent on last year. Prizes worth Dh5 million were awarded in competitions that honoured the UAE's best dates in the festival that ended yesterday. Farmers gathered from around the country to participate in the event, which pitched dates against each other in six different categories. The top three contestants in each category won vehicles, and 12 others in each category won cash prizes.

"Farmers presented the best quality dates they have this year in the competition," said Mubarak Al Mansouri, head of the judging committee. "They worked hard to improve the quality of their fruits to keep up with the high standards of the competition." Judges visited the entrants' farms and conducted studies on water and pesticide use. The festival also purchased Dh2.5m worth of dates from the area's farmers. The fruit was packaged into more than 7,000 boxes and given away to festival visitors.

In addition, more than Dh4m of crafts and perfumes were sold by merchants who had set up shop at festival stalls, and visitors were treated to performances of the Shabab Al Ain traditional band and the Abu Dhabi police band.