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Dubai Festivals

Dubai during the shopping festival (March 1 to 31) is a splash of colours, some 30 million bulbs illuminating its streets and bylanes in electronic patterns. As you enter the spectacular fairyland, clowns direct you to your destinations and you are drowned by offers of free gifts and raffle tickets. Genuine goods and good shows await you. Dubai charges no duty, no tax: Goods are cheaper by 25 % to 50 % than in their country of origin.

The annual festival has put Dubai, the commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates, on the world map. There was a whopping traffic of 2.5 million visitors to the event last year. The sales were to the tune of a staggering Dhs. 4.3 billion.

The festival means many things to many people. Apart from its 2,500 outlets of goods and services ranging from haute couture and perfumes to electronics and jewellery, it offers a raffle prize of two Luxus cars and Dhs. 100,000 (Rs 12,50,000) as scholarship for schoolchildren. There is daily draw. A third one, Win-the-World, means a daily prize of business class air tickets for two adults and two children to various destinations.

There are also other 400 events like cartoon shows featuring Pokemon, Casper, Tarzan, Toon Land, Alligator and Dolphin, Fashion Week, Global Village, Carpet Oasis, Al Rostamani Aqua Fantasia and sporting events. The sporting events include the $ 12 million Dubai World Cup, the world's richest horse race at Nad Al Sheba, Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Course and the Dubai Tennis Open.

There are also Children of the World Olympiad, Open Tennis Championship, Hockey on Synthetic Surface, Ice Hockey, Football Tournament, Russian Ballet on Ice and Rowing Championships.

At Al Seef Street's Youth Sports Oasis, sports lovers can take part in skating activities. Professionals from Russia and Germany conduct training sessions in skating.

A major attraction of the festival is the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Draw which gives away a prize of $ 1 million! There is also a raffle of 1 kg of gold every day of the month. This year, the jewellers offer another 5,000 prizes of gold. Shoppers get the raffle coupons from the jewellery shops. There are facilities for visitors' accommodation. Over 18,000 rooms and 6,500 furnished family apartments are available.

There will be business conventions, seminars, exhibitions, book fairs, Hope Opera for the Handicapped, closing ceremonies, and many more.

The festival theme is One World, One Family, One Festival. It's worth a visit.


CHILDREN'S SHOWS: Pokemon-the-Musical, Al Mamzar Park, March 2, 3, 5 to 10, 12, 17, 19 to 24, 26 to 30; Casper Show, Mushrif Park, March 1, 2, 4 to 10, 12 to 17, 19 to 24, 26 to 31; Tarzan Show, Al Safa Park, March 1, 2, 4 to 9, 11 to 16, 18 to 23, 25 to 31; Toon Land Show, Creek Park, March 1, 2, 4 to 11, 13 to 18, 20 to 21, 23 & 24, 27 to 31; Barbie's House, Al Muraggabat Street, March 1 to 31 PERFORMANCES: Musical Play by Mansour Rahbani, Dubai Media City, March 7 to 9; Khel Starring Naseeruddin Shah and Paresh Pawal, Crown Plaza Hotel, March 2 & 3 ILLUMINATION: Al Zarooni Fireworks, Dubai Creek, March 2, 5 to 9, 14 to 16, 21 to 23, 28 to 30; Al Rostamani Aqua Fantasia, Dubai Creek Park, March 1 to 31 WORLD RHYTHMS: Googoosh, Dubai World Trade Centre, March 21; Al Ahli Club Stadium, March 24; Julia Boutros, American University of Dubai, March 15; Asha Bhonsle & Asnan Sami, Yacht Club, March 8; Pepsi Music Festival, Aviation Club, March 27 SPORTS: Dubai World Cup, Nad Al Sheba Race Course, March 24; Dubai Desert Classic, Emirates Golf Club, March 1 to 4; 9th Dubai Tennis Championships, Dubai Tennis Stadium and Aviation Club, untill March 3 EXHIBITIONS: Global Village, Next to Creek Park, March 1 to 31; Heritage and Diving Village, Near Shindagha Tunnel, March 1 to 31; Carpet Oasis, Dubai Airport Expo, March 1 to 31 TALENT SHOWS: Fashion Week, Wafi City, March 19 to 25; House of Talent 2001, Dubai World Trade Centre, March 15 to 21; Artist Oasis, Al Seef Street, March 1 to 31 ADVENTURES: Planet Pepsi, Al Riqqa Street, March 1 to 31; International Circus, Al Riqqa Street, March 1 to 31; Family Fun Fair, Al Muraggabat Street, March 1 to 31; Dolphin Show, Al Muraggabat Street & Creek Park, March 1 to 31; 3D Cinema, Creek Park, March 1 to 31; Abra Race, Al Seef Street, March 23; Trampoline Bunjee, Al Seef Street, March 1 to 31; Cars World, Al Muraggabat Street, March 1 to 31; Go Kart 24 Hours, Al Seef Street, March 22 & 23; Crocodile Show, Creek Park, March 1 to 31; Monster Truck Show, Al Muraggabat Street, March 2 to 31; Dubai Desert Extreme, Al Seef Street, March 1 to 31; Dubai World Records Venture, Dubai Marina, March 22

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