SOURCE : THE NATIONAL
Thousands of dates were displayed on a record-breaking plate at the Liwa date festival yesterday.
ABU DHABI - AUG 01: Heaped with 2,000kg of juicy dates, it was a sight to behold – and one worth flying all the way from London to see.
The organisers of the Liwa date festival celebrated yesterday as they succeeded in putting the pride of the UAE on the global map with a new entry in the Guinness World Records, for the planet’s largest steel plate. Shortly afterwards, another record was very nearly set when an unnamed festival-goer offered to buy the plate – complete with dates, worth an estimated Dh300,000 (US$81,680) – for Dh4 million. The offer was declined.
The Guinness judges had flown in from their headquarters in the UK to award a trophy to Liwa officials for the enormous oval-shaped platter, which measured 10.06 metres by 2.03 metres and was laden with khlass, barhi, kasaab and shahal dates, showing off the best of Al Gharbia’s top-selling produce.
The dates had been donated by Liwa farmers. The plate, fitted with 15 carrying handles, was manufactured in Abu Dhabi and had to be transported to the Western Region by an oversized lorry.
As the pride of the festival claimed its place in history, Mohammed al Qubaisi, one of the organisers, said: “This will enable us to become known internationally; we are really happy to have this record and achieve something for our country.” Rob Molloy, the director of television at Guinness World Records, who presented officials with a certificate, said it was “a stunning achievement”.
“These guys have all come together to create a record in its own class. It is the first time an adjudicator has come here to judge a record and the first time anyone has been kind enough to invite us personally.”
The UAE, he said, “is what Guinness World Records is all about. It is a celebration of superlatives, whether it is the tallest, the fastest, the most expensive, it all happens here. As everyone knows, whether competing among themselves or against the rest of the world, people in the UAE love to be the best.”
Although the organisers of the festival had much to celebrate yesterday, their plate plan nearly failed to make it into the record books. Initially, officials had submitted a bid for the largest plate in the world, planning to take the record set in Japan in 1996 with a 2.8m-diameter porcelain dish. Any rival bid, however, has to be fashioned from the same material as the original attempt and Liwa’s was disqualified. Organisers were told earlier this month but did not have enough time to create a new plate.
After a last-minute appeal, Guinness judges created a new category for the largest steel plate. “When anyone applies to us for a record, we judge it on its merits,” said Mr Molloy. “On this occasion our initial response was to disqualify it but everyone has a right to appeal and so we decided to accept it.”
The festival ends today