Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 October 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Abu Dhabi heritage festival to be held with Covid-19 measures in place

Al Dhafra Festival will be held from November 9 to January 29, 2021, in Madinat Zayed

A two-month festival that celebrates local heritage will be held in Abu Dhabi emirate with safety measures in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Al Dhafra Festival, a popular annual event, will be held from November 5 to January 29, 2021, in Madinat Zayed – about a 90-minute drive south-west of Abu Dhabi city.

Competitions will be held as usual but the traditional souq and its related activities will be suspended this year to prevent gatherings, organisers said.

Visitors can still expect to see camel beauty contests including categories for purebred camels from the Asayel (pedigree) and Majaheem (dark-skinned) lineages. Falconry contests will also be held as well as the 2.5-kilometre Arabian saluki race, purebred Arabian horse race, sheep beauty contest, and shooting competition.

Eisa Al Mazrouei, vice chairman of the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee, said the festival aimed to promote the country's traditions and show off cultural handicrafts.

He said race tracks and competition sites would be sanitised daily while festival staff, juries and participants must present a negative Covid-19 test to attend.

They must also wear a face mask and gloves and maintain physical distancing.

The festival, in it's 14th year, is held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Last year's festival attracted 24,000 camel beauty queens to compete for Dh52 million in pageantry prize money.

It is not the first festival in the capital to be impacted by Covid-19.

In July, the 16th Liwa Date Festival was held without spectators and adopted a drive-through format.

Contestants vying for a share of the Dh8 million prize fund were asked to drive to the festival premises and deliver their entries from their vehicles.

Updated: September 27, 2020 03:27 PM

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