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Water festival gets a splashy start

posted on 13/12/2012: 4083 views

The Sharjah Water Festival once again boasts an array of world-renowned entertainers in its sixth edition, adding more diamonds to its crown as the Capital of Arab Tourism.

The festival kicked-off to a sensational start on Wednesday with the Russian Circus performers taking to the water in a big pool inside the circus tent.

Dubbed as the ‘Magic of Water', the Russian Circus put on an awe-inspiring show exhibiting spectacular fire and water combinations, thrusting onlookers into a fantasy world filled with acrobats, equilibrists and gymnasts. During the show, children also came face to face with the story book hero Sinbad the Sailor.

The mesmerising performance was coupled with an equally popular New York musical from the Ohmies, which saw young and old enjoying the sing-a-long.

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Corporation, formally opened the Sharjah Water Festival in the presence of Mohammed Ali Al Noman, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) as well as a number of senior officials, dignitaries and visitors at Al Majaz Park.

The 10-day festival, organised by the SCTDA and in its sixth year will run until December 21.

Speaking on Wednesday, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed said that with events such as the Sharjah Water Festival, the emirate has proven its excellence in the tourism industry – one of the main drivers of the economy. He said Sharjah has earned itself the accolade as being the Capital of Arab Tourism due to its ability to host such world-class festivals and activities, with the Sharjah Water Festival always attracting families from across the country and beyond.

"This year... we will be having several new shows and artists performing for the first time in the region. This festival gets more interesting and successful year after year. It has emerged as one of the best in the region and as a family event that combines pure entertainment with cultural and social shows in fun atmosphere,” said Al Noman.

He further noted that the Sharjah Water Festival is their biggest and most popular event. "Last year more than 180,000 people visited Al Majaz Park during ten days of the festival. This year the number is expected to exceed 200,000 visitors, which will help the tourism sector and the economy,” he said.

The authority also showcased the festival in the road shows it organised in the GCC and European capitals, with the promotional campaign also targeting schools, colleges, malls and tourist haunts.

Omar Siddique, an 11-year-old Pakistani boy, said that he has been coming to the Sharjah Water Festival for past three years, and loves the unique circus show: "I knew about the Sharjah Water Festival during its promotion in our school. I came here with my sister Maha and brother Sameer together with our mother Arshia,” he said.

New attractions at the Festival include six cabins constructed for nursing mothers and a crèche area, free to children eight years and below, which offers free face painting and arts and crafts. The opening day also played host to a number of acts including the Burmese and Poland puppet shows, Toy Box show from the US and Arlecchino and the Witch from Italy.

Stilt walkers and drummers will be entertaining people throughout the event and Mouj – the festival mascot – will be stamped all over mementos, including watches and mugs, available over its 10 day duration. – Khaleej Times


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