Pinpoints. The October 20 event will take visitors through different activations that highlight the inventions made at world fairs in the past Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: THE BEACH opposite Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai Marina will host a mega event on Friday to mark the countdown to Expo 2020 Dubai, “the festival of human ingenuity”.

The high-octane, free-to-attend event, which will be held from 4.30 to 10pm, will provide residents and tourists a glimpse of what Expo 2020 Dubai is and launch the official volunteer registration programme for the event. The portal www.volunteers.ae/expo2020 which has been set up with the Ministry of Community Development will go live during the function.

According to information provided to XPRESS, the family-friendly evening will feature an array of Expo-themed activities, many of which will be based around innovations showcased at previous World Expos. They include everything from the Ferris Wheel, television set and gramophone to the zipper, ice cream cone and American classics like ketchup, hamburgers and hotdogs. There will also be a six-metre high zip line that will offer a thrilling ride for visitors and an ‘Expo-vation’ on the beach, where the desert discovery of the jewellery that inspired the Expo logo will be recreated.

Though there has been a lot of hype over Expo 2020, few know what to expect from it. In fact, the event’s billboards ask visitors precisely this question: “Ever wondered what a World Expo is?”

Action packed. An artist's rendering of Expo 2020's central hub.

The answers are fascinating and can be gathered by following “Expo-vention pins” spread across the golden sands of THE BEACH. As the riveting activations in the pinned areas let on, the Expos or Universal Expositions have given the world some of its most cherished indulgences, many of them essentials now.

Simple zipper

With great attention to detail, facts about each invention and related developments are explained with the help of different timelines.

Take the case of the simple zipper, without which we are reminded “clothes would have a habit of falling, while luggage would have a hard time staying in suitcases and bags”. The Expo 2020 team explains, “Like many items so vital to our world, the zipper was first introduced at a World Expo – the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. It was the brainwave of Whitcomb Judson who adapted it from an idea from over 40 years earlier by Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine.”

There’s more information packed in, all in the hope that entrepreneurs would draw inspiration to come up with ideas that are as important as they may seem innocuous.

An image of what the Expo 2020 Dubai site will look like.

Similarly, we are told millions of visitors got their first ever glimpse of TV during New York’s 1939 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows, while millions more got their first taste of television coverage in technicolour during the 1964-65 event in the same city. The message: Like previous expos, Expo 2020 too will serve as a platform for innovation and progress that will capture the imagination of the world. It will facilitate new product launches, networking opportunities and meetings to encourage a culture of business. It will bring investment and stimulate new job opportunities, while the welcoming traditions of the UAE will highlight the country as a place where the world can meet safely and work together.

The event will have additional features like an Expo tile wall and an Expo excavation pit for children to play. DJ Big Rossi will kickstart the evening by playing from the gramophone and all the activations will be open to the public. Radio sensations Kris Fade and Preeti Malik will moderate the show which will also present enthralling performances by Mad Violonist, Dragon House, Flamenco Flatland and Emirati Urban Act.

Official videos of Expo 2020 will be beamed and a grand parade of volunteers will initiate the countdown moment. Over 5,000 visitors are expected to join in the celebrations.

What is EXPO 2020 Dubai?

World Expo 2020 is a Universal Exposition to be held in Dubai between October 20, 2020 and April 10, 2021. It will be the first Expo to be held in the Arab world and Middle East region. The UAE was elected to host the Expo amid stiff competition by the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions which manages the World Expos.

The Expo 2020 site, which will cover a total of 438 hectares, is located in Dubai South district, near Al Maktoum International Airport.

Expo 2020 Dubai is being organised under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, with three subthemes: Mobility, Sustainability and Opportunity.