Sunday 29 May 2022 - 12:25:09 am

Al Dhafra Festival continues to enthral visitors until 22nd January

Al DHAFRA, 20th January, 2022 (WAM) -- The 15th edition of Al Dhafra Festival’s competitions are continuing in Madinet Zayed, Al Dhafra Region - Abu Dhabi, with large numbers of heritage enthusiasts and lovers of camel and horse races from across the emirates descending on Al Dhafra Region to compete in delightful and thought-provoking cultural traditional competitions and enjoy the breath-taking landscapes and nature in its finest form.

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the festival is organised by the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee 12th to 22nd from January. It reflects the sustained efforts made by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to underline the UAE's position as a regional and international hub for strengthening heritage preservation for future generations.

This year’s edition abounds with enthralling activities that start from the early hours of the morning until 16:00. The festival features multi-faceted heritage activities and contests, primarily the Camel Beauty Pageant, which this year includes 82 rounds for Asayel, Majahim, hybrid Asayel and Wadh. This is in addition to the six-round Mahaleb Competition and nine heritage contests that celebrate the legacy of our ancestors and founding fathers, including traditional Arabian Saluki Race, Falcon Mazayna, Arabian Saluki Mazayna, Ghanam Al Naim Mazayn and Archery, together with Arab bazaars of Saluki, mazyna dates, happiness sheep bazaar, shooting contest, sour milk contest, and other functions.

Another main highlight of the event is the Heritage Souq, where visitors can find up to 200 indoor and outdoor shops selling traditional Emirati and Gulf craft items, including perfumes, incense, clothing and accessories and domestic utensils. The outdoor shops showcase some of the best of UAE heritage. Sadu (weaving), talli (embroidery) and khos (palm frond braiding) are present at Al Dhafra souq not only in final products but also in workshops, showing visitors how to create their own basket or decorate their dress in traditional Emirati fashion.

On Million Street, visitors have access to camel auctions and the chance to join in or watch the winners being paraded back to their camp. The Million Street atmosphere is incredible with tens of food trucks, camping and hunting gear shops selling handcrafted, state-of-the-art camping and hunting knives and restaurants with dedicated family areas. The visitors can also enjoy watching some of the Arabian Gulf’s prettiest camels walk its path, beautifully dressed up in gold and silver as they travel to or return from the competitions. Their owners and keepers are always with them, driving around in four-wheel-drives, music blasting, and occasionally dancing around the camels if they win one of the top places in the beauty contest.

COVID-19 countermeasures are strictly in place across all the festival’s sites, with the visitors required to present an active Green Pass on their Al Hosn app for entry. The camel beauty contests also require green status on Al Hosn, plus a negative PCR test result received within 96 hours of the event.

WAM/Esraa Ismail/Amjad Saleh