In its 17th year, organisers of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) are promising one of the most memorable editions of the annual extravaganza. Kicking off today, the 32-day shopping-focused festival, with the theme "Dubai at its Best", will feature cultural events, fireworks displays, carnivals, performances by renowned artists, out-of-town activities, exhibitions and, of course, the mega raffles. Here is a taste of what to expect in the next four weeks.
A fireworks display, which will stretch 6km, will mark the start of the shopping festival at 8.30pm today. Stretching from Business Bay all the way to Shindagha Tunnel, a musical fireworks display synchronised with the theme song of DSF will light up the sky, signalling the start of the emirate's signature event. Also, there will be fireworks displays every night of the festival on both sides of the Dubai Creek.
The Promenade, Dubai Festival City
The newly opened Promenade at Dubai Festival City will be the newest DSF destination featuring a host of family entertainment. Look-alikes of celebrities from Hollywood, the sporting world and royalty will meet visitors and pose for pictures. Performances by sound-alike artists will also feature along with street entertainers like stilt-walkers, acrobats and food-themed acts.
The popular activities on Al Riqqa Street, including the Monte Carlo circus tent, the Night Souq and street performances, will be back this year.
Al Seef Street will feature folk dances and activities and entertainers dressed in colourful national costumes. This location will also host the DSF Bazaar featuring kiosks selling everything from knick knacks to food and traditional wares.
Carnivals at Emaar Boulevard
As one of the centres of entertainment during the festival, DSF Carnivals at Emaar Boulevard will include acts by hundreds of performers including jugglers, stilt walkers, unicyclists, and musicians.
Top Arab entertainers will perform at the Layali Dubai concert series at the Burj Steps during the festival. Featuring some of the biggest Arab stars, performances will be held on two weekend nights every week. The first concert is on January 12, with Sherine Abdul Wahab and Fadel Shaker. Saber Rebai, Wael Jassar and Rola Saad perform the next day. Organisers say ticket prices will be announced later.
Global Village will also host activities and performers from each country pavilion represented at the entertainment destination. True to its theme, cultural shows and products from across the world will be the highlight all through the festival.
Heritage and Diving Village
Emirati heritage will take centre stage all through the festival with a number of cultural activities planned at the Heritage and Diving Village. Display of horses, traditional folklore, classic cars, pearl diving shows, Bedouin and marine-related handicraft will take place every day.
The Infiniti Mega Raffle will give shoppers a chance to take home a luxury Infiniti QX 56 model worth Dh350,000 along with Dh100,000 in cash every day for the 32 days of DSF. In addition, three bonus winners will be drawn as part of the bumper raffle on the final day of DSF. Raffle coupons cost Dh200 each. The Nissan Grand Raffle will also give away a Nissan model every day. Raffle coupons are available at Enoc and Eppco stations during DSF and cost Dh20. And that's not all. The Bag of Fortune gold raffle will give gold shoppers half-a-kilo of gold every day and one winner 3 kilograms of gold on the last day of DSF. Qualification entails a purchase of Dh1,000 or more on jewellery at participating outlets.
DSF Desert Camp is back. A getaway from the city, families will have the options of renting tents or choosing from activities designed for adventure enthusiasts. The focus will be on Emirati heritage, with attractions including camel and horse rides in addition to barbecue facilities and a food court that will serve local cuisine, among many others.