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Higher Organising Committee of Al Dhafra Festival Discusses Preparations for 10th Edition

ABU DHABI - - The Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi organises, from the 13th of December to the 29th of December, 2016, the 10th edition of Al Dhafra Festival in Madinat Zayed, in Al Gharbia (The Western Region) in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.


The Festival which aspires to preserve the cultural heritage of Abu Dhabi, and the UAE as a whole, seeks to safeguard the popular heritage, of which Emiratis are still proud of.

The Higher Organising Committee of Al Dhafra Festival held a meeting at Al Raha Beach Theatre in Abu Dhabi to discuss the latest preparations for the launch of the 10th edition of the Festival. Chaired by His Excellency Staff Major General Pilot Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi, the meeting was attended by the directors of the different departments and projects at the Committee, the members of the Higher Organising Committee and delegates of the Ruler's Representative Court in the Western Region, the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport - Western Region Municipality, and the General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police (Western Region Police Directorate) as well as the directors of sub-committees and competitions.


During the meeting, Al Mazrouei extended his thanks to all the members of the Higher Organising Committee of Al Dhafra Festival, including the different state and official bodies that have been actively providing the required assistance so as to ensure the success of the new edition.


“It remains very important to make every effort towards achieving the permanent development of Al Dhafra Festival. On this occasion, we extend our sincerest thanks and appreciation to the wise leadership, in recognition for its support and contribution to the various heritage festivals. It should also be noted that cooperation and coordination between the different bodies is quite essential to boost the image of the Festival, and consequently that of Abu Dhabi and the UAE, and their distinguished position on the regional and international level,” Al Mazrouei said.    


Al Dhafra Festival is actually a special opportunity, and a renewed annual meeting between thousands of people from the Gulf cooperation Council (GCC). Throughout the event, Madinat Zayed in Al Gharbia witnesses a large turnout of visitors and tourists from the different parts of the world.


“Al Dhafra has succeeded in the promotion of the authentic Emirati heritage and the reinforcement of the efforts made towards its safeguard and preservation. Over the years, the Festival has managed to place Al Gharbia on the international map of tourism, through the promotion of the region’s culture, its authenticity and the traditions of the Emirati people,” noted His Excellency, the Chairman of the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee.


“Al Gharbia is intensifying its preparations for this major cultural and economic event that will be held in Madinat Zayed. Tales of ancient history, civilisation and modernity are awaiting visitors who will experience a unique harmony between the authenticity of the past and the excellence of the present,” Al Mazrouei added. 


Since the launch of its first edition in 2008, Al Dhafra Festival witnessed a huge and an unparalleled success. Over a relatively short period of time, it has managed to obtain a highly regarded status among heritage festivals in the region and the world.     


“Al Dhafra Festival has managed to secure a prestigious status thanks to the generous support of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE (May God Protect Him) for the projects of heritage safeguard and his constant encouragement to continue with the reinforcement of the culture of heritage festivals,” said Al Mazrouei.


“The Festival also owes its success to the close care of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.  His Highness has always accorded a special attention to the various efforts made to preserve deep-rooted heritage and inherent traditions. The constant follow-up of the Festival and its development strategy by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, has also contributed to the countless achievements of Al Dhafra,” he added. 


The meeting discussed all the organisational, administrative, financial, logistical, and media affairs, required to ensure the achievement of the Festival’s objectives and mission. The attendees also discussed the coordination with all the concerned parties to ensure the complementarities of roles and the saving of efforts.


The Festival features 14 heritage activities, notably the Camel Mazayna for Asayel and Majahim (78 laps, with a number of them exclusively reserved for Emirati camel owners), the Mahaleb competition, the Falcon Mazayna, the Saluki (Arabian greyhound) Mazayna, the Purebred Arabian Horse Race, the Handicrafts Competition, the Classic Cars Competition, the Traditional Market (in its second stage), and the Children’s Village.


The new edition of Al Dhafra Festival is to witness the implementation of the second stage of the project of the Permanent Al Dhafra Market. The Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi had signed a cooperation agreement with the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations Ltd. (ADCO) to implement the project at the official site of the Festival.


With a total area of 48,000 square metres, the Market is situated near the main platform of the Camel Mazayna (Beauty Contest). Accordingly, the majority of the activities of Al Dhafra Festival will be held at one main site that will allow the tourists and visitors to discover and enjoy the different events and competitions with great ease.


With the creation of this Market, the Committee is aspiring to preserve the Emirati handicrafts and meet the needs of Al Gharbia in good quality products, with a cultural character, for tourists and visitors.  The traditional crafts and industries make, in fact, a dynamic economic sector that contributes to the generation and creation of job opportunities for large segments of the society, notably women.



About Al Dhafra Festival


Al Dhafra serves as a link between generations and an essential occasion to revive and immortalize heritage in the collective memory and strengthen the national feeling in hearts of younger generations. In each new edition, the Festival attracts over 80,000 visitors from all over the world.


Through the organisation of the Camel Beauty Contest (Mazayna), the Festival highlights the role of camels in the culture and heritage of the UAE, and features a variety of heritage activities. The participation in the Camel Beauty Contest is open for purebred varieties of Asayel (light-coloured camels) and Majahim (dark camels), and all hybrid varieties are not accepted.


It should be noted that the Festival witnesses, on a yearly basis, the participation of at least 2,000 camel owners from the Arab Gulf region, with more than 20,000 camels.


Objectives of the Festival


- The preservation of the Emirati heritage, its customs and the related practices.

- With the support of the wise leadership, the Festival provides financial and moral support for Al Gharbia locals and participants.

- Contribution to the development of cultural tourism in Al Gharbia.


The Festival also contributes to:


- The stimulation of the economic activity in Al Gharbia.

- The promotion of the Gate of the Empty Quarter, Madinat Zayed, among the lovers of cultural tourism from all over the world.

-  The encouragement of more visitors to attend the different activities and discover the cities of Al Gharbia.

- The preservation of the heritage of the Arab Gulf region.