Mesmerising fireworks, a stunning drone show, and a wide range of activities focusing on the UAE’s rich history and heritage will be the highlights of the 2023 edition of the Sheikh Zayed Festival, which starts in Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba on Friday.

Held under the patronage of UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the direct supervision of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Presidential Court, the 114-day-long festival promises to delight crowds, bringing together culture, heritage, and entertainment.

Ahead of the opening, Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, Adviser to the President, and Head of the Higher Organising Committee of the festival, reviewed the preparations and final arrangements. Sheikh Sultan and the high-level delegation expressed satisfaction and commended the efforts of the organisers. He highlighted the keen interest of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed in the festival and its events.

Over the years, the festival named after the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, has become one of the largest cultural events globally. The popular festival has also contributed to promoting Abu Dhabi’s stature as a key tourism and cultural destination.

More than 2.5 million visitors and 7 million followers and viewers enjoyed the activities of the last edition, Abdullah Mubarak Al Muhairi, Member of the Higher Organising Committee, noted.

Highlights of the festival

Till March 9, the festival will provide residents and tourists with an opportunity to experience the rich Emirati heritage, savour the most delicious food, and create unforgettable moments of joy and entertainment.

Visitors can enjoy fireworks display and drone show on the opening day of the festival. Thereafter, fireworks will be there every Saturday at 10pm.

The festival introduces a first-of-its-kind ‘Flora and Fauna Reserve’ with unique and rare animals and birds on display. Visitors can get ready to be spooked at the revamped ‘House of Horror’ that promises to be scarier than ever. They can find out more about the richness of Emirati heritage and enjoy the arts, crafts, and products in the ‘Heritage Village’, which includes a complete complex of the four different environments – the marine, the land, the mountain, and the agriculture – of ancient Emirati society. Families, especially children will love to enjoy the thrilling rides and activities at ‘Fun City’. Then there is the ‘Union Parade’, the biggest custom car show challenge, the ‘Emirates Fountain’, the ‘Glow Flower Garden’, the ‘Flying Restaurant’, the ‘Children’s Village’, an agricultural excellence award, an art district, various competitions, and draws.

There is an amazing lineup of fantastic live performances, entertaining shows, and more activities and surprises to look forward to during the weekends and public holidays.

Special festivities to mark the National Day celebrations with dazzling shows and performances at the Heritage Village and international pavilions, including folk art shows, military musical performances, firework and drone displays, and the Emirates Fountain activities.

The festival timings are from 4 pm to midnight, and until 1 am during weekends and on public holidays.

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