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Liwa Date Festival to welcome visitors for first time since 2019

Cultural extravaganza is back after being closed to the public for two years

Staff Report

The Liwa Date Festival, an annual extravaganza of date-related events, competitions and cultural activities, will welcome visitors for the first time since 2019.

The two previous celebrations of Emirati heritage were closed to the public because of the Covid-19 pandemic and only featured participants.

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., July 18, 2018. First day of the 2018 Liwa Date Festival. — Boy’s check out the heaviest date fruit clumps of the festival.
Victor Besa / The National Section: NA Reporter: Haneen Dajani

Held in Liwa, Al Dhafra, this year’s festival runs from July 16 to 24, Abu Dhabi Media Office reported on Tuesday, and will allow members of the public to learn about the most popular varieties of dates grown in the UAE.

Visitors much show a green Pass on the Al Hosn app to gain entry, while other rules such as distancing will remain, organisers said.

Liwa Date Festival without the public in 2020

Thousands of people visited Liwa, close to the border with Saudi Arabia in the country’s west, from across the UAE before Covid-19 to sample the unique cultural experience. It is about a two and a half-hour’s drive from Abu Dhabi and three and a half hours from Dubai.

Every year, thousands of farmers compete at the festival to win prizes for the best fruit, and there is also a traditional-style souq selling heritage products.

Details of the prize money this year were not announced on Tuesday but more information is expected soon.

Date palms are a revered part of Emirati heritage. The date has been a source of food for generations of desert communities, while the trunk, fronds and other parts of the tree have been used for construction, making tools and fashioning handicrafts.

The event, now in its 18th year, is held under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

Its aims include supporting date palm farmers, promoting sustainable agriculture and bolstering food security.

This year’s festival has a drive-through format due to Covid-19 safety measures
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