The ninth Al Dhafra Festival, started last thursday and will continue until December 30, the first four days are dedicated to the Baynounah camel competitions and the rest are going to be dedicated to Al Dhafra camel contests, where camel breeders from all over the Gulf region are welcome to participate.
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Al Dhafra Festival is organised by the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi (CPHFC)
For the first time this year, Baynounah Camel Festival, the competition that used to be held just before Al Dhafra for Emirati camel breeders, was made part of Al Dhafra, which is opened to participants from all over Arab Gulf.
The two festivals have been combined and now the participants can set just one camp and enjoy the festival and the competitions for both Baynounah and Al Dhafra.
Over the years, the festival has grown from just a camel beauty competition to a celebration of Emirati culture and heritage, and the celebration is reflected in 15 different art and heritage activities and competitions taking place during the festival.
Bigger than ever in terms of camel beauty contests, Al Dhafra festival has this year 103 camel competition rounds, 37 of which will be for the Baynounah mazeyna.
It is also foreseen to hold a camel milk competition (for the camel that gives most milk) and a sheep beauty competition.
First introduced in 2014, the purebred Arabian horse and the saluki speed races are back this year, along with falcon and camel races. There are also competitions for best dates and best dates packaging, a sour milk and a photography competitions.
This year there is a permanent market selling traditional products. The market is an ideal platform to promote the pioneering projects of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to safeguard and support national identity and local culture.
Winners of all al Dhafra Festival’s competitions will share total prizes valued in excess of AED 50 million! At the heart of it all, though, remains the camel mazeyna.