After two successful weekends, the AlUla Dates Festival has expanded its programme to welcome visitors every evening in its third and final week until 17 October with farmers and family producers selling and showcasing their dates and other handicrafts and delicacies.
The festival, which brings together date farmers, members of the community, buyers and investors amidst the ancient heritage and palm groves of AlUla, aims to encourage the participation and engagement of all segments of the community. It features an early morning farmers’ market where commercial buyers can purchase date varieties offered by local farmers, and a community souq where visitors can buy local arts and crafts or enjoy date-inspired food and delicacies from local families and chefs.
Over the past week, the festival has held informative workshops organised by various partners and stakeholders intended to broaden local farmers’ and producers’ knowledge of the wider ecosystem.
This included a workshop by the National Centre for Palms & Dates on the Saudi Dates Mark, a certification offered to companies and producers for meeting the technical and standard requirements for food safety, in line with international best practice. The Saudi Food and Drug Authority also hosted a workshop on 13 October to lead attendees through its role in monitoring food factories and issuing export licences for food products.
Mohamed AlShamari, Chief Economic and Social Development Officer at RCU, said: “Growing AlUla’s agricultural sector is part of RCU’s efforts to diversify the region’s economy, unleashing its potential and creating new economic opportunities for the local community. Our new look Dates Festival is a celebration of AlUla’s heritage, an important commercial opportunity for farmers and buyers and it brings the local community together.”
Farmers can still register to sell their wares at the market through a simple online form available on the RCU website. The commercial auctions run from 6.00 to 9.00 mornings and the public souq from 17.00 to 21.00 every day until 17 October. The event is being organised by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) and is taking place in AlFursan, located across the popular landmark, Jebel El Fil (Elephant rock).
The public souq is a chance for the community and visitors to experience AlUla’s culture and heritage first-hand as local families and artisans offer up modern and traditional arts, crafts, and food, while a group of AlUla chefs create dishes that contain date elements in keeping with the theme.
This event is part of the long-term sustainable development of AlUla, which places the local community at the heart of all initiatives and projects. Delivering expanded opportunities and sustainable, community-wide growth to benefit AlUla now and in generations to come is vital to the engagement, strength and wellbeing of the community across the county. This is crucial to RCU’s future plans, in line with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals.