Camels star at Al Dhafra festival

More than 1,200 participants have registered for the Al Dhafra Festival so far, organisers say, and that is not including the 28,000 camels.

More than 1,200 participants have registered for the Al Dhafra Festival so far, organisers say, and that is not including the 28,000 camels. The festival, to be held in Madinat Zayed in Al Gharbia from Friday to February 8, will showcase purebred Asayel and Majahim camels, as well as highlight Bedouin culture and generate tourism, Mohammed al Mazrouei, the director general of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, the festival's organiser, said at a press conference in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Some Dh42 million (US$11.4m) in prize money will be up for grabs at the festival, including awards for camel beauty competitions and races. Some of the 14 camel races will feature prizes of up to Dh1m. Other prizes include cars and lorries. Some races are exclusively for sheikhs and tribe members to participate in; others are open to all. In some races, camel owners may enter as many as 50 of their animals.

Other activities will include camel auctions, as well as date-packing and nabati poetry competitions. Handicraft, cooking and photography contests also are planned. The event also aims to put Al Gharbia on the world tourism map and stimulate the region's economy, Mr al Mazrouei said, by creating a commercial market for buying and selling camels. ealghalib@thenational.ae

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