Events galore to light up National Day in the UAE

The skies above Abu Dhabi city and the Western Region will light up with the colours of the country in a series of fireworks displays marking the UAE's 41st National Day.

On the beachfront at Abu Dhabi Corniche and at the Madinat Zayed Cultural Centre in Al Gharbia, residents will see more than 17,000 fireworks sent aloft from boats, barges and land.

With some explosives expected to reach 150 metres, a seven-minute show featuring comets, tails, volcanoes and shells will kick-off proceedings on the Corniche on Saturday. The show will start at 8.30pm, along with the exhibition at Madinat Zayed.

"National Day is a celebration for everyone in the UAE so it made sense for us to spread our fireworks displays across the emirate," said Sultan Al Muhairi, general coordinator of the 41st National Day celebrations at Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).

The fireworks displays will be set to the song Ya Khalifatna, or Our Khalifa, inspired by the classic UAE song Zanaha Zayed, a 1996 hit written by the Emirati poet Arif Al Khaja.

The breakwater opposite Abu Dhabi Corniche, next to Marina Mall, will be the site of several activities, and will feature shows at the Abu Dhabi Theatre tonight, on Friday and on Sunday.. A two-day sailing regatta will be on Sunday and Monday and a one-off cultural festival at the Abu Dhabi Heritage Village will be held on National Day.

Other National Day attractions include the Union Car Parade at Yas Island on Sunday. Thousands of creatively decorated vehicles will parade and blare their horns, vying for shares of a Dh100,000 prize for having the best decorated vehicle.

With a top prize of Dh25,000 and Dh20,000 for second place, the parade is expected to draw entries from every corner of the Emirates.

The remaining prize money will be divided into eight cash prizes ranging from Dh15,000 to Dh5,000.

"Emiratis are a very patriotic people and many of us are very passionate about cars," Mr Al Muhairi said. "These factors align every year for National Day, a momentous celebration where everyone in the country shows off the UAE's colours and comes together as one society under one flag."

The parade will start on Yas Island at 5pm. Participants are requested to arrive on the island by 2pm to avoid traffic problems. There will be a host of activities sponsored by Etihad Airways.

Star performers from across the Arab world will perform Khaleeji music in concert at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, in Al Ain, on Dalma Island and at Madinat Zayed over the weekend.

Dubai Mall has also extended its operational hours during the National Day. The mall will be open from 10am to 1am on Thursday, and until 3am on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday and Monday, the hours will be 10am to 1am.

Meanwhile, residents of the Northern Emirates who want to visit the capital can take advantage of a RAK Airways promotion offering round-trip flights from Ras Al Khaimah Airport to Abu Dhabi International Airport for Dh80 on Sunday. Regular cost is Dh200.

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