It’s that time of the year again as the Dubai Shopping Festival returns for its milestone 25th edition, transforming the city into a must-visit destination in the UAE.
In the mix are live concerts with international superstars, dazzling fireworks displays, delicious food, citywide raffles, and a whole host of events for the entire family. And while enough food and entertainment options exist to leave you spoilt for choice, what most of us look forward to during the month are the incomparable retail experiences, with UAE residents and visitors alike looking forward to DSF to make their prized purchases.
However, to make the most of the shopping extravaganza, you need to be prepared, and for sure many in the UAE are ready with their wish lists. We speak to a few to find out they’ve planned for the current DSF edition.
Stevie Lowmass considers DSF to be more than just a shopping destination, for her the Emirate is a celebration of the diverse cultures the city is proud to represent. “I look forward to many activities that happen during DSF and the exciting programmes at Dubai Opera and the Live the Heritage Festival at the Global Village,” says the South African national, who is the founder and CEO of a home-grown skincare product range. She also plans to explore the traditional markets at Al Seef and JBR.
Street food fun
Rizwan Sabdeen along with his family and friends wants enjoy some street food from food trucks and at the Global Village during the festival. “It’s DSF’s silver jubilee edition this year; I look forward to the concert by Liam Payne and Jorja Smith that will happen at Burj Park. The spectacular firework displays at La Mer and Dubai Creek also top my family’s favourite activity list,” says Sabdeen, a Sri Lankan, who works in the aviation sector.
Adela Siddiqui has selected her preferred retail outlets in the malls to pick clothes and household items during this year’s festival. “The Global Village can’t be missed,” says the Business Analyst, who is from Pakistan. “I have planned to visit Dubai and pick up some traditional embroidered suits for ladies, artificial jewellery, henna art, enjoy the sumptuous food, watch the spectacle of cultural shows and play crazy games with my husband and 16-month-old child. I also intend to take my child to the kids’ play area for lots of rides, swings and snacks.”
“I feel the electronics and gadget sales during the DSF are often better than Gitex offers,” says Rey Araja, a Filipino, who works as a senior media executive.
“I look forward to purchasing gadgets during this DSF and as the weather is pleasant, our family will take some time to enjoy fun-filled activities at Global Village, exploring the world in a night. This year, I am also excited to see British pop star Ellie Goulding grace the Coca Cola Arena on January 10.”
The classic Cinderella
Harry Tregoning and his family are excited because the pantomime Cinderella, told in classic British musical theatre style, is returning at Fairmont The Palm. The real estate company owner says, “As we are British, a pantomime is very much part of life at this time of year and we cannot wait to go. My son loves the Trolls and wants to see them, and I would enjoy meeting Rio Ferdinand at W Dubai, The Palm. So, we can’t wait.”
Luck in raffles
Shaneer N Siddiqui likes to try his luck in the various draws held during DSF, including the raffle tickets he receives against purchases made at malls. But Global Village can’t be missed. “My five-year-old son and my wife’s itinerary includes Global Village and the fireworks display,” says the Indian media and PR professional. Shaneer has an eye on the theatre offerings. “I wish to attend the musical, Broken Wings, an autobiographical account of Khalil Gibran’s love story, as well as the Al Quoz Art Fest.”
Items for the home
Praveen Mehta has seen DSF evolve over the years. “As a family, we like to visit new shopping spots that have come up since last year,” says the Indian finance and business management professional. “We like to catch up with the fast-paced development of the city. DSF also offers good purchase deals. We usually buy items that we might need on holidays, gifts during the festive season and sometimes technology or products needed by our family members from back home. This DSF, we are looking to buy a 1,500cc electric car, space-efficient furniture and electronic healthcare products such as automatic wheelchairs, at attractive prices.”
Engaging art fests
For expats, meeting friends and family that live back home is always a delight and DSF offers that pleasure to Juhi Malhotra every year. “The weather during the festive season is just ideal to inviting loved ones to Dubai,” says the Indian interior designer. “Visiting the Global Village has become a ritual that we have observed for many years, as we along with our guests enjoy exploring the world under one roof. My son loves the fireworks shows, so a ride to Al Seef and La Mer is on the cards. I am also looking to revamp my house with some new furniture or accessories and will be hunting for bargains during DSF.” Malhotra will also be attending the Al Quoz Arts Fest at Alserkal Avenue that celebrates community, culture and art with curated activities, exhibitions, and live performances in the offing.