Abu Dhabi: Thousands of camels are expected to descend on the small town of Al Gayathi once again, as it gears up to host its second Al Gayathi Camel Festival from November 15 to 20, 2011.

"After the success of our inaugural festival last year, which saw not only a great turnout of both visitors and participants from the UAE and beyond, it also helped us to raise awareness about our city," Mubarak Musallam Al Mansouri, Chairman of the festival's organising committee said.

"We will begin to accept registrations five days before the festival begins, and we are looking forward to not only welcoming returning participants and visitors but new ones as well," he said.

The five-day festival, which is spread out over 20,000 square metres, will include various competitions, including falconry, poetry as well as many cultural and community-based activities. It is being held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region.

Generate interest

The event's main feature, the camel beauty competition, is expected to generate the most interest, especially since the festival is taking place just a month before the popular Al Dhafrah Camel Festival, which will also take place in the Western Region from December 17-28, 2011.

"We decided to host this festival close to the Al Dafrah festival because of several reasons. Firstly, it is very well known so we hoped that those interested in it will come to learn about our festival and be a part of it.

"Secondly, participants and winners in our festival can then move on to participate in Al Dafrah," Al Mansouri said.

"We are anticipating a great number of participants this year, not just because of the popularity of such competitions but because they also help highlight our culture and traditions," he added.

In addition to the competition, whose prizes include Toyota Land Cruisers and Lexus station wagons, visitors and participants can also take part in a camel auction, where the average price for a camel is Dh100,000.

"Last year, the auction saw sales of Dh24 million and we anticipate the same number, if not higher, of sales this year…which reflects just how important camels still are to us, even though we are living in a modern world,' Al Mansouri said.

  • What: Al Gayathi Camel Festival
  • Where: Al Gayathi in the Western Region on Abu Dhabi
  • When: November 15-20