x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Children race to Yas Island Weekend

The Mad Hatter and Alice, from Alice in Wonderland, dropped into the venue's Gateway Park to welcome visitors to the first of a series of Yas Island Show Weekends for children.

ABU DHABI // After the fairytale race victory of Sebastian Vettel in last week's Grand Prix, Yas Island yesterday played host to a different type of fairytale.

The Mad Hatter and Alice, from Alice in Wonderland, dropped into the venue's Gateway Park to welcome visitors to the first of a series of Yas Island Show Weekends for children.

The community-oriented Kids Fun Zone event is part of the family friendly activities that will continue throughout today, following the teen-pleasing Jonas Brothers concert on Thursday night.

One of the most popular attractions was the demonstration by Mighty 4, a hip-hop group which has branches in more than 40 countries across the world.

The Middle East team put on break-dancing demonstrations and workshops, while artists from around the world created aerosol art (others might call it graffiti) on fabric walls in the park.

"We're here to communicate to people here, to give knowledge about what it means to be hip-hop, what it means to be a real b-boy [breakdancer]," said B-Boy Tommee, 28, a German-born breakdancer who lives in Dubai.

Paulskee, the founder of the original Mighty 4 in San Francisco, said being in Abu Dhabi was a chance to spread the message of hip-hop.

"I've done events all over the world, and what kind of blows my mind is that this generation of kids can now be part of this, and they have a chance to say they can be something," he said backstage at the first demonstration.

Dozens of children also picked up tennis rackets for lessons and games at the Mubadala Tennis in the Schools workshop, while others flocked to watch the acrobatics of Acrodunk, an American basketball skills and tricks team.

"I wasn't really sure what to expect, but we thought we'd come down and give it a shot," said Clifford Stamp, 48, who came with his nine-year-old son, Christopher. "There's a lot going on."

Children rode the kiddie train, took turns on the bungee trampolines and scaled new heights on the climbing tower. Less during visitors participated in fair games, including the three-legged race, ring toss and sack race.

But the purpose of the Kids Fun Zone was not just fun and games; it is an effort to boost children's health by encouraging them to take part in sport and activities.

"If you come see our show, you will see it's incredibly active," said Jerry Burrell, the 46-year-old ringleader of Acrodunk. "We're an example, the epitome of being active, and we hope young people will be inspired to be physical when they see us."

The Kids Fun Zone continues today with more hip-hop demonstrations, football workshops and games.

The Show Weekends will run until the end of the year, and next weekend's theme is one of street culture, entitled "Leave Your Mark on Yas".

 

jthomas@thenational.ae