"We don't want our Durian Festival to face the same fate as what had happened in Penang when promoting the fruit," said Changkat Jering assemblyman Datuk Mat Isa Ismail, who is co-organiser of the event.
"We want our foreign guests to take part in the event until the end of the programme," he told reporters here on Tuesday.
On June 18, it had been reported that 18 foreign tourists taking part in a durian-eating competition in Penang fled the scene soon after taking a whiff of the fruit as they could not stand its strong smell, resulting in the cancellation of the contest.
Mat Isa said a group of 60 foreign tourists, including Europeans, would be taking part in the durian festival.
He said event organiser, the state Tourism Council, had taken steps to brief them so that they would know what to expect during the programme to promote the fruit.
The move was to ensure the foreigners, who would be arriving in two express buses from Kuala Lumpur, would be able to bear the strong smell of the Malaysia king of fruits.
On the festival, Mat Isa said about 20,000 durians would be given out free during the event to be held at the Bukit Gantang public field in Taiping from 10am onwards.
He said the people would also be treated with all kinds of durian-flavoured foods such as gulai tempoyak, dodol, jam, ice-cream, fritters, yoghurt, and juice.
"The highlight will be a gotong-royong involving 50 housewives to make cucur durian (durian fritters) using eight gunny sacks of wheat flour," he said.
The people could also buy the fruit at bargain prices from the 15 stalls set up at the field, he said.
He added that 10,000 people were expected to attend the event to be launched by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Source : STAR
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