Abu Dhabi: The 15-day fun-filled cultural and traditional extravaganza, Al Dhafra Festival will start in Abu Dhabi’s Madinat Zayed on December 14, the higher organising committee of the festival announced on Sunday in the capital.
A total of Dh38 million cash prizes including vehicles will be awarded to 1,400 competition winners, which is a main feature of the festival.
The much-awaited festival also holds a series of competitions and contests in which winners are awarded with millions of dirhams in cash prizes and brand new cars. The competitions include camel beauty contest, falcons, dates, community traditional dresses, archery, dates packaging, lambs, sour camel milk, poetry and classic cars.
Thousands of camel caravan also started coming to the UAE for the camel competition from the entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.
The committee hopes that more than 20,000 camels to participate, along with at least 1,500 owners. They will mostly come from the UAE, but also from Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait.
Majority of the camels will take part in the festival’s camel mazayna (beauty) competitions, which will award more than Dh30 million in cash prizes.
Staff Major General Pilot Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, chairman of the cultural programmes and heritage festivals committee, said, “The 11th edition of Al Dhafra Festival carries the greatest expression of love and loyalty to the nation. The festival is to encourage and preserve local customs and traditions.”
“Today, we stress the need to make every effort to provide comprehensive and valuable activities at Al Dhafra Festival, so as to ensure a positive impact on Emirati society and the world in general,” he said. The festival started in 2008.
“Camels continue to hold a prestigious position in our society. This is confirmed by all participants in the camel beauty contests, who unanimously agree on the significant role of camels,” Al Mazrouei said.
More than 200 shops will be there showcasing different varieties of local culture and traditions with participation of 100 local women. The festival area is spread over 48,000 square metres.
Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Planning and Projects Director at the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee, said, “We are introducing ‘Life of the Bedouin’, a daily show throughout the festival involving falconry, camel riding and poetry. For the first time this year as well, we’ll have a shooting target competition. This is done in partnership with Al Dhafra Shooting Club, and it will be target shooting from 50 metres. The competition is opened to everyone.”
Al Dhafra Festival will be open to visitors daily from 10am till 10pm. Entry is free for all.
What: Al Dhafra Festival
Where: Madinat Zayed, Abu Dhabi
When: December: 14-28