People bring their camels to the Al Dhafra Festival 2010 at Madinat Zayed in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Nearly 20,000 camels are competing in the Mazayin Camel beauty competition. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Madinat Zayed: About 20,000 camels are competing in the Mazayin Camel beauty competition in the fourth edition of the Al Dhafrah Festival, and other camels are being sold at prices ranging from thousands to millions of dirhams at the Millions Street on the sidelines of the festival.

"This is the first time that I participate in the Al Dhafrah Festival. I've been impressed by how well it has been organised so decided to take a more active part in it this year by participating in the Millions Street trading activities," Saeed Mohsin Munni, an Emirati based in Ghayathi, said smiling. "I'm hoping to sell my camels before the festival ends… I've already received some interest from other owners who want to buy them. I'm also on the lookout for camels to add to my herd."

During the festival's third edition, Emirati Hamdan Bin Ghanim Al Falahi set a record by purchasing several camels for a total of Dh56 million.

"Various factors are taken into consideration when assigning a price for a camel. They include age, type, its purity and its sex. The older a camel, the more valuable it is, especially if it's a female because they are the ones that may give birth to future champions. Their prices are often 70 per cent more than males.

A camel's purity is also important because many owners want to retain specific traits that are only present in each type, but how much a camel is sold for can also depend on how much a person is willing to pay," said Rashid Saeed Seedi, a participant from Oman who has sold four camels and purchased five.

The festival is organised under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Facts: Festival details

WHAT: Al Dhafrah Camel Festival

WHEN: Thursday, December 16 - Saturday, December 25

WHERE: The festival is taking place in Madinat Zayed, also known as Zayed City, in Al Gharbia, the Western Region. Take Highway E11 along the coast towards the Western Region; about an hour west of the capital, start watching for the signs - there should be plenty directing you towards Madinat Zayed, Liwa and the Festival.

WEBSITE: www.adach.ae/en/news/llkjiuym.apx