Abu Dhabi: Decked in festive colours, the fourth edition of the Mother of the Nation Festival opened in the capital Tuesday with the aim of highlighting the positive values of Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and Mother of the Nation

The fourth edition of the Festival will run along a one-kilometre stretch in the Abu Dhabi Corniche’s Al Bahar area. It will feature 120 performances during its 12-day run, and allow visitors to engage in a range of activities in four distinct zones.

“Every element of the Festival was selected in order to provide visitors with new experiences, and also to allow them to find common ground with one another. In the UAE’s Year of Tolerance, it is these connections that are very important,” Farah Al Bakoush, festivals development manager at the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News.

The Department has been organising the Festival since 2016 in order to highlighting the living legacy of Shaikha Fatima.

Al Bakoush said more than 160,000 people are expected to visit the Festival this year, up from about 151,000 visitors in 2018.

As evening fell on the first day of the Festival, uplifting notes from Arabian a cappella act, the Fayha Choir, filled the air. Children gathered excitedly to listen to the tales of Sinbad the Sailor, while older visitors lined up to attend recycling craft and clay sculpting workshops.

The Festival’s Art-Zoo, an animal-themed inflatable section, also proved to be a major draw for young visitors.

This year, the Festival also includes a theatrical circus act, Bazzar, by renowned Canadian company, Cirque du Soleil. Their performances at the Big Top on Yas Marina Circuit will conclude on March 16.

Heading into the weekend, visitors can look forward to an exciting 15-minute pyrotechnic show by one of four nations: Canada, Netherlands, South Korea and Australia. By the end of the Festival, one of the displays will win the prize for the best fireworks display.

Mother of the Nation Festival

When: March 12—23; Bazzar show by Cirque du Soleil until March 16

Timings: 4pm — 12pm from Sunday to Wednesday, and 2pm — 12am from Thursday to Saturday

Where: Al Bahar, Abu Dhabi Corniche. Cirque du Soleil at Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island

Major attractions

A 15-minute fireworks display on weekends. One team each from Canada, Netherlands, South Korea and Australia will compete to win the first prize in pyrotechnics skills.

Performances by Libyan act, the Fayha Choir, Saudi superstar singer Rabeh Sager, and international DJ Nicky Romero

Bazzar, a new show by Canadian circus-theatrical company, Cirque du Soleil

Art-zoo, an area of various inflatable animal castles for young visitors