Qatar’s Local Dates Festival is back for a second edition with the 10-day festival taking place in an air-conditioned marquee at Souq Waqif and opened on Thursday 27th July. For those of you who appreciate fresh produce, and want to learn more about dates, then this is the event you need to attend.
The opening day saw over 2,500 visitors and 7,000kg of fresh dates were sold to members of the public. The Dates Festival is an agricultural initiative by The Ministry of Municipality and Environment to highlight the best of local date growers. It is part to the government strategy to encourage the production of national products. Farm owners are also being supported with seeds and advice to produce higher quality dates, using modern agriculture methods.
There are 57 stalls selling Qatar’s popular local date varieties such as Khalas, Shishi, Khanizi, and Barhi. This has increased from last year’s 18 stalls. Prices have been kept low per kilogram, as producers are selling directly to the public.
Dates ripen in four stages: Kimri (unripe), Khlal (full-size, crunchy), Rutab (ripe, soft), Tamr (ripe, sun-dried). Consumers sometimes prefer the unripe dates which are not as sweet as fully ripe dates.
Dates are an important part of Qatar’s heritage, so the festival is also showcasing the handicrafts that are made out of date products, and young date palms are available to purchase. Local brand, Memo’s Factory, is selling edible items made with dates, including cold drinks.
The Local Dates Festival, at Souq Waqif,
runs until 5th August, and will be open to the public from 4:00pm until 10:00pm. Parking is available at Souq Waqif (West Parking). UPDATE – The Dates Festival has been extended until 12th August due to the success of this year’s event.