x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

More than Dh46 million of prizes on offer at Al Dhafra Festival

Preparations are underway for the seventh annual Al Dhafra Festival in the Western Region.

A camel at last year’s Al Dhafra Festival has its neck and head rubbed with a saffron mixture in a tradition honouring its first-place status in a contest. This year’s festival will begin on December 14. Jeff Topping / The National
A camel at last year’s Al Dhafra Festival has its neck and head rubbed with a saffron mixture in a tradition honouring its first-place status in a contest. This year’s festival will begin on December 14. Jeff Topping / The National

ABU DHABI // Prizes worth more than Dh46 million will be up for grabs at this year’s Al Dhafra Festival.

Preparations are well under way for the popular event, which will begin on December 14 in the Western Region’s Madinat Zayed area.

The two-week festival, which is in its seventh year, aims to give visitors a taste of traditional Bedouin life and showcase the nation’s cultural heritage.

Cash prizes and nearly 200 cars will be given away in a string of competitions, including camel and saluki races, a camel beauty contest and falconry events.

“Al Dhafra Festival is not just a celebration that repeats itself,” said Khalaf Al Mazrouei, the chairman of the organising committee.

“It is a solid bridge that memory uses to cross from past to present, inspired by our shining heritage and thriving present.

“The seventh edition carries a lot of fun and benefit for the lovers of Bedouin life, others who are interested in the revival of the Arab civil heritage and those who desire to explore this heritage and its manifestations in the Emirati future vision.

“This year, we have worked hard to offer a more truthful image and more beautiful performances.”

Festival highlights will include a traditional souq, a camel auction and storytelling events.

Mr Al Mazrouei said the festival was inspired by the words of the founding President, Sheikh Zayed, who said: “He who has no past has no present.”

ksinclair@thenational.ae