Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, 19 December 2016: More than 10,000 residents and visitors flocked to the towering red sand dunes of Ras Al Khaimah’s Awafi this weekend to celebrate the start of the 14th annual festival. PHOTO:Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (TDA) Image Credit:

Ras Al Khaimah: More than 10,000 residents and visitors flocked to the towering red sand dunes of Ras Al Khaimah’s Awafi area over the weekend to celebrate the start of the 14th annual Awafi Festival.

The three-week long festival, which celebrates the northern emirate’s ethnic and cultural heritage, runs each evening from 4pm to 11pm till January 7.

A key feature of this year’s Awafi Festival is its Heritage Village and traditional bazaar, providing visitors with an opportunity to explore Ras Al Khaimah’s defining characteristics, while presenting a display of traditional arts and crafts, perfumes, food and beverage and accessories. Live cultural performances will take place throughout the festival, with a kids’ play zone providing entertainment and activities for the younger visitors.

The fiercely-contested Hill Climb Challenge launched the opening weekend, with Emirati Abdul Rahman Al Selani awarded first place in the six-cylinder cars — manual and automatic — in addition to recording the best time in the tournament at 5.014 seconds. Fellow Emirati Yaqoub Al Alawi took pole position for the eight-cylinder car race.

This year’s festival, supported by various government entities, is expected to attract more than 60,000 visitors to Ras Al Khaimah’s Awafi area.