What to expect at first Hatta Festival, from mountain projections to classic car parade

Food pop-ups, camping and ice skating also on the cards

Hatta is fast becoming a hub for fitness enthusiasts and culture vultures alike. Victor Besa / The National
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Hatta is hosting an inaugural festival highlighting its picturesque surrounds, with an array of family-friendly activities, cultural shows and weekend fireworks. It starts on Friday and will run until the end of the month.

The festival is part of the tourism campaign #DubaiDestinations, which puts a spotlight on the emirate's tourist hotspots, as well as up-and-coming venues. The focus is on the winter season, and the mountainous Dubai exclave is taking centre stage.

Taking place at Hatta Wadi Hub and the newly developed Leem Lake, the festival will feature traditional musical performances as well as food and beverage pop-ups. Visitors can expect an “intimate experience of Hatta's culture, cuisine and natural grandeur”, according to a statement from Brand Dubai.

At Hatta Wadi Hub, festivalgoers can expect food pop-ups from Saddle, Home Bakery and G.O.A.T, while enjoying the venue's outdoor activities, such as mountain biking, hiking, kayaking and zip-lining. Fireworks will light up the skies at 8pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, culminating in a New Year's Eve show at 11.59pm on December 31.

Wadi Hub also has camping facilities for those who want to soak in the scenic landscapes overnight. There will be workshops and educational experiences for children, as well as ice-skating and roller-skating rinks, in addition to padel courts and cycling tracks.

Both amateur and professional photographers and videographers can join a workshop conducted in partnership with the Hamdan bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Awards (HIPA), and take part in a competition for the best photo and video of Hatta.

Among the highlights of the festival is the Proudly from Dubai Market, curated by Brand Dubai. This will be staged at Leem Lake, a three-hectare area at the heart of the mountainous region. It will house 30 home-grown businesses, highlighting entrepreneurial stories of Hatta citizens, as well as a pop-up of popular burger shack Salt.

The festival will also have light shows at both venues, as well as projection mapping on Hatta's mountains, called Shining Peaks of Hatta. Visitors can also look out for a bicycle procession on December 24 and 29, while on December 30, a parade of classic cars will embark on a scenic journey from Dubai to the festival grounds.

There is no entrance fee, but individual experiences are chargeable on-site. The festival is open on weekdays from 3pm to 9pm, and on weekends from 10am to 10pm.

Dubai has recently been developing Hatta's infrastructure, and visitors can check out other attractions including Hatta Heritage Village, Hatta Hill Park and Hatta Dam.

The festival, too, coincides with other events, such as Hatta Cultural Nights, to be held from December 21 to January 1, and Hatta Honey Festival, taking place from December 27 to December 31.

Updated: December 15, 2023, 11:13 AM