x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Sandcastles festival could rise again after success

First Emirates International Sand Sculpture Festival attracts 12,000 people, organisers say.

ABU DHABI // The first Emirates International Sand Sculpture Festival attracted 12,000 residents and tourists over the past two weeks, organisers said.

The festival, which began on April 17 and finished on Friday at the Corniche, was initiated by the Emirates Heritage Club.

It was originally due to end on Wednesday but was extended into the weekend, said Amir Ibrahim, the manager of Niqat events management company that helped organise the festival.

"The idea behind this event was to show the culture and heritage as well as the accomplishments of the UAE," he said.

Two Emiratis and nine others, from the UK, Holland, South Africa, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Morocco, created an assortment of sand sculptures.

Among the most impressive was a sand likeness of Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE, along with the message "Kulluna Khalifa", or, "We are all Khalifa".

Mr Ibrahim said most visitors were particularly impressed by the replicas of Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Al Ain's Al Jahili Fort.

Children were also encouraged to showcase their artistic skills, with 50 participating in sand sculpture workshops every evening.

One Emirati boy sculpted a turtle and another made a sand replica of the Great Wall of China.

An Iranian girl made a fish and a sand calligraphy all about the UAE.

"Visitors have been telling us, 'why don't you do this again?'," Mr Ibrahim said. "We also received requests from Emirati women to have a separate section for them."