Books aren’t the only draw at the fair ­— attendees can enjoy cartoon and cultural stage shows, science and creative workshops, and musical performances. Image Credit: Anwar Ahmed/Gulf News

Al Ain: Hundreds of pupils and visitors flocked on the first day of the 10th edition of the Al Ain Book Fair, which opened to the public on Sunday at the Al Ain Convention Centre.

Families, parents and school children were the first to turn up at the fair. They browsed through a series of books, enjoyed cartoon shows on the stage and participated in a number of science and intelligence workshops. Exhibitiors offered up to 50 per cent discounts on the opening day.

The workshops attracted a large number students but the footfall for bookshops on the opening day remained mild.

The workshops included: build your own flying vehicle, alternative energy car, robotic race cars, creating comics where cartoonist Matt Smith showed them how to create their own unique comic book characters.

Moayyad Al Gharibi, a 10-year-old student from Al Ain School who raced a robotic car using a tablet, said: “The most enjoyable corners for us are the workshops and the stage shows where the Simsimi play was demonstrated. I like reading stories of old cultures so I will explore the fair and find something interesting for me. Now I am playing science games.”

Emirati Khalifa Al Otaiba, in his 40s, from Abu Dhabi, said, “I love visiting book fairs whether in Sharjah or in Abu Dhabi. I already bought a book, Al Gayed Al Afdal [Best Leader], and will be buying some more. I love reading as it brightens up the mind, gives knowledge, innovative ideas and informs us about the past from where we can learn many things and apply in our life.”

The book fair showcased a range of books across various fields including literature, poetry, history, photography and a variety of academic and educational material. The fair will conclude on October 2.

Abdul Rahman, 38, an Al Ain resident hailing from Yemem, said, “I am looking books on languages and linguistics. Today is only the first day; I will explore the fair for the next couple of days and check for discounts before making my purchases.”

Almost all bookshops offered discounts ranging from 10 per cent to 50 per cent at the fair.

The book fair is open till October 2 from 9am to 1pm and from 5pm to 9pm, and on Fridays 5pm to 10pm, at the Al Ain Convention Centre. Entry is free for all.