x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Al Ain set for spectacular day

Final preparations are underway hours before Al Ain sees its most elaborate National Day celebration yet.

A woman decorates her shop in the Al Ain Heritage Village during the celebration of the UAE 38th National Day.
A woman decorates her shop in the Al Ain Heritage Village during the celebration of the UAE 38th National Day.

AL AIN // Final preparations are underway for Al Ain's most elaborate National Day celebration. From 4pm until midnight and for the next two days, thousands will celebrate the nation's 38th birthday at the Al Ain Heritage Village. The Al Ain Municipality has worked during the past 12 months to bring spectacular events and activities to rival those of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. From daybreak today, labourers, mechanics, vendors, dancers, acrobats and Olympic athletes, have been doing their part to ensure this year's celebration will be one to remember. In front of the main stage at 11am this morning, Lavinia Hansen, a German citizen who was, "born and bred in Dubai", has been practising atop her dancing stallion. She is one of the riders, part of a team of six from Hoofbeatz, who will be performing One Thousand and One Horse Tails, featuring the horse dancing troupe from Dubai. "It's awesome to be here in Al Ain. We are honoured to have been asked to be a part of such a patriotic event," Ms Hansen said. "We have prepared a special performance and costumes based on a UAE theme. We can't wait to get started." Bjorn Hanefield, of Sanostra Performing Communication, a German dance troupe comprised of Australian Olympic athletes was putting the final touches to his team's performance which will kick off today's festivities. "With our performance we want to honour the Emirates and the strength and power it has" Mr. Hanefield said. "We are going to have flying drummers who will be drumming as they go up into the air in a spectacular and powerful way. Then we will come in with dancers with balls. The balls will symbolise the unity of the Emirates. First there will be a small ball then other dancers will come in with bigger balls symbolising the other Emirates. Then we will bring in these huge giant balls which are transparent and there will be dancers inside them." Fire dancers from Phoenix Fire Dancers, also from Germany, will be performing the Arabian Fire Show. Traditional Emirati dances and the UAE University's opera group will also perform. The UAE national anthem will be played in unison with lasers and a dancing fountain. A military band will be performing as parachutists fly in and aerial acrobatics take place in the skies above. On the children's stage 16 different acts, including cartoon characters from the UAE and Disney, will be dancing, along with magicians, a circus, Aladdin, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Cinderella. The fireworks are predicted to be as grand as any taking place in the UAE. ealghalib@thenational.ae