Dates Festival concludes Saturday, visitor count soars
August 11 2017 10:35 PM
Visitors walks past one of the participating farms at the festival. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed
A visitor walks past one of the participating farms at the festival. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed

When the second edition of the annual ‘Dates Festival’ concludes on Saturday at Souq Waqif, the total number of visitors is expected to exceed 70,000, an official has said.
As of Thursday, participating Qatari farms had already sold as much as 150 tonnes of dates, said Dates Festival general co-ordinator, Bargash al-Naimi, who is from the Ministry of Municipality and Environment.
“We are expecting around 73,000 to 75,000 visitors by the end of the festival and the quantity of dates sold could reach 160 tonnes ,” al-Naimi told Gulf Times.
Of the varieties of Qatari dates sold at the festival – Sheeshe, Khunaizi, and Barhi, al-Naimi said the Khalas dates were the most popular among visitors.

Dates Festival general coordinator, Bargash al-Naimi. PICTURE: Peter Alagos

He also thanked the support provided by Souq Waqif, which provided an air-conditioned tent and large exhibition venue, “almost double to size of last year’s festival.” To support the 66 participating Qatari farms, al-Naimi said the ministry provided the festival stalls for free.
Hanaa Benzarmid, store manager of Memo’s Factory, which sells ‘dates juice’ at the festival, attested to the success of the event, saying throngs of visitors consistently flocked to the exhibition area.
Since the beginning of the festival, Benzarmid said Memo’s Factory sells a minimum of 200 cups of dates juice per day due to the large number of visitors.
“I had just bought 300 kilos of dates from a local farm participating in the festival because of the high demand of the dates juice,” she said, adding that Memo’s Factory uses Barhi dates for its popular dates juice.

A family tries out the juices sold at Memo's Factory, which is popular at the festival because of its novelty dates juice. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed

She added: “We are dedicated to helping and support Qatari farms, which is why we source all our dates from Qatari farms and we even buy our milk from local suppliers,” she said.
Asked if the ongoing Gulf crisis had any impact on business operations, Benzarmid said the economic blockade imposed by the Saudi-led siege countries “only made local companies stronger.”
“We are getting more business, especially among Qataris who are eager to support ‘Made in Qatar’ brands and local businesses. Our business is doing better now compared to when we started five years ago because the economic blockade had only given prominence to local companies and their products. As a Qatari company, we also support the country by maintaining the same prices,” she said.

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