ABU DHABI // Tomorrow marks the culmination of 40 days of celebration ahead of National Day.
Mountain clans have celebrated with their fishing clan brothers at mass tribal celebrations in the north. In the cities, government departments have put on luncheons and exhibitions, and private companies have hoisted strings of flags across their foyers.
Schoolchildren have made artwork and written poetry about Sheikh Zayed, the founding President. Homes and cars everywhere are decked out in red, green, white and black.
But the past 40 days pale in comparison to the events about to unfold. Parties are planned along every corniche, fireworks set, parades prepared and many thousands are expected to gather at Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi for the official celebration.
• Free concerts: in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Al Gharbia and Dalma featuring musicians such as Aryam and Hussein Al Jassmy. Also tomorrow and Saturday.
• The RedBall Project: the travelling art installation will be unveiled to the public in Al Gharbia, on the Corniche and at the Zayed Stadium. Also tomorrow.
• Abu Dhabi Corniche: traditional tents, live shows, and fireworks today until Saturday. The Armed Forces will do a fly-by between noon and 2pm tomorrow.
•National Day Shooting Competition: Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club, between 10-11am today and tomorrow.
• Al Ain Zoo: Emirati cultural dances, Harbiya and Ayalaa, poetry readings, Henna, handicrafts, and Emirati food.
• Official National Day Celebration: Zayed Sports City Stadium.
• Al Bateen Beach: the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City will open 200 metres of the coast.
• Free dinner: if you are turning 40 tomorrow, you can claim a free meal for you and three guests on National Day at Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Yas Island. (Call 02 656 3000.)
• Global Village: 28 pavilions from 40 countries will celebrate with performances. Also tomorrow and Saturday.
• Community Development Authority: Jumeirah Beach Residence between 2pm and 10pm. Heritage dances, and fun for children. Also tomorrow and Saturday.
•Union House Exhibition: a photographic exhibition at the birthplace of the union, on Jumeirah Beach Road. Also tomorrow.
• March of Loyalty for Sheikh Zayed: Jumeirah Road 4-5pm
• More than 1,000 Dubai taxi drivers will gather to create a UAE flag from 9am till noon.
• The Ballooning Championship: Meydan Racecourse.
• The 32nd Dubai International Rally: Emaar Boulevard beside The Palace in Old Town 7.30pm.
• My National Day Awards: Mirdif City Centre, Oasis Walk Area. An interschool arts exhibition showcasing 20 “green” art sculptures.
• Spirit of the Union Book Enters Guinness World Records: Dubai Creek Park 7-11pm
•Burj Khalifa: Level 124. A traditional heritage house at the observation deck. Also tomorrow.
• Ferrari Car Parade: Jumeriah Beach Road, Union House between 9am and 12pm.
• Dubai Fountain: at the Dubai Mall. The world’s tallest performing fountain will dance to the National Anthem at 1pm, 7pm, 9pm and 11pm. Also tomorrow.
• Corniche: a community theatre will perform. Also tomorrow and Saturday.
• City Centre: Emirati dances, performances by the Armed Forces, and a musical performance by the National Operetta.
• Unity Drive: Ajman Corniche. Climax of all-women drive around the emirates in memory of Sheikh Zayed’s historic trip.
• Dibba Celebrations: Al Faqwwt Family Beach from 4pm till midnight. Also tomorrow and Saturday.
• Fujairah Fort: sword championships, scout parade, horse show, bull butting, folklore show and crafts. 4pm
•Corniche: Culture and Media Authority host the police marching band, Arabic and International band performances, and activities for children.
Ras al Khaimah
• Saqr Park: RAK Municipality will start their celebrations from 6pm.
• North Coast Mountains: see the enormous flags and murals painted in Wadis between RAK and Al Dara border. Also tomorrow and Saturday.
• Al Qawasim Corniche: the main celebrations will take place here, and a traditional village will be opened at 4pm.
•Corniche: cultural activities, marches, and more from 4pm.
• Al Qasba Park: fireworks display from 8pm.
• Sharjah Heritage area: an Emirati cultural show will feature food, garments, and theatrical performances from 4pm.
• Emirati Expressions: exhibition of Emirati photographers’ work till Jan 20 at Manarat Al Saadiyat.
Umm al Qaiwain
• Al Khor Park: the park will be the main centre of celebrations.
• Spirit of the Union Gallery: photos representing the country’s history and development displayed across 300metres, are aiming to enter the Guinness World Records. The public are invited to submit photographs. Also Saturday.
• Car Rally: at the Cultural Centre at 4.30pm.
* Compiled by Amna Al Haddad