The 19th annual Liwa Date Festival, a celebration of Emirati heritage, opened in Al Dhafra on Monday and will run until July 30.
The festival, which celebrates the UAE's tradition of harvesting dates, features a pop-up market as well as an auction where visitors can shop for dates and various date products. Other vendors sell items of cultural importance such as pearls, Arusa dolls and model dhow boats.
The event's main attractions are its competitions, where thousands of farmers come to display the fruit they have grown in a attempt to win prizes – this year worth a collective Dh8 million ($2.17 million).
This year's celebration, held under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, aims to promote agricultural sustainability. The fair displays the latest advances in sustainable food practices through agricultural exhibitions and lectures on date farming. It is also intended to be a culturally enriching experience for visitors, offering poetry readings, music classes, henna artists and handicraft workshops.
The fair is being held in Liwa, Al Dhafra, which is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the city of Abu Dhabi and about three and a half hours from Dubai.
Visitors can enter free of charge.