Abu Dhabi: Hundreds visit as Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival opens

Attractions feature ice skating rink, drone shows, free bus service



by

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Thu 18 Nov 2021, 6:48 PM

Last updated: Thu 18 Nov 2021, 7:12 PM

Hundreds of visitors flocked Abu Dhabi's Al Wathba area on Thursday evening as the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival, one of the UAE's largest cultural events, kicked off.

Named in honour of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, UAE's Founding Father, the festival celebrates the country's cultural history and showcases the rich diversity of its traditions. It also educates visitors about the legacy of the nation's founder and the UAE's arts, crafts, traditions, customs and food.

Running until April 1, 2022, the festival has a line-up of more than 22,500 performers and exhibitors participating in the cultural event. The festival also has new attractions, including drone shows, glow garden and ice-skating rink, to name a few.

This year's edition features thousands of recreational, educational and cultural events, all of which will be conducted with the necessary Covid-19 safety protocols in place.

People visiting the event can discover the Year of the 50th Zone, which houses a unique art gallery featuring the UAE's journey over the past 50 years. It also sheds light on the aspirations of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his clear vision of building a promising future for the UAE.

The festival has also allocated pavilions, exhibitions and traditional neighbourhood zones to showcase the UAE's civilization and various aspects of its culture and heritage.

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The new additions to this year's event include 'miracle garden' with a collection of famous buildings and illusion structures, 'funfair city' amusement park, 'house of fear' scary escape room, 'crazy car' go-karting, 'extreme weekend' off-road motorcycle racing, and a special kiosk at Expo 2020 Dubai. There will be more than 4,500 cultural events and 650 performances and events, and more than 130 workshops for children.

Visitors and the population around Al Wathba will be dazzled by spectacular firework displays at 9pm every Friday. Visitors will also have thousands of opportunities to win valuable prizes, through its many daily competitions and draws, including the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed International Festival for Arabian Horses prize draws.

Festival provides education and recreation to families

Paying great attention to families and children, the festival is dedicated to providing a cultural, educational and recreational atmosphere in an exciting and entertaining setting, filled with activities and events that introduce them to the differences in heritage and authentic values of countries around the world.

"This is an exciting event, and I have been visiting the festival for more than three years now," said Egyptian mother, Fatima Ahmed, who was among the visitors of the festival on its opening day.

"I come here with my family every year to have fun and also learn about the UAE's cultures and traditions."

Another visitor, Hussein Mubarak, 20, an Emirati, said the cultural festival is a great place to learn about his country's heritage.

"It is only by visiting such events that we can learn about the history of our culture, traditions and customs. There is a lot of things here to learn about Sheikh Zayed and his legacy."

The festival presents many aspects of popular culture of the UAE, Gulf, Arab and international countries through replicas of traditional neighbourhoods that reflect different aspects of these cultures, including architectural heritage, street markets, traditional products, handicrafts of each country, as well as numerous daily performances by international folkloric music, song and dance groups from different countries and civilizations, performed on the festival's stages.

Free bus services for visitors

Free bus rides are available for the general public to travel to the festival in Al Wathba.

The regular bus services, at a frequency of 30 minutes, are available from Abu Dhabi Main Bus Station (3 pm), Cooperative Association (3.30 pm) and Bani Yas Bus Station (4 pm).

The festival starts from 4 pm till 12 am and till 1 am on Thursdays, Fridays and national holidays.

- ismail@khaleejtimes.com


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