Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, the Al Sila’ Marine Festival will run on December 9-11 at the beach of Al Sila’ City, in the Al Dhafra region, Abu Dhabi.
Coinciding with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, more than AED3 million will be given away in cash prizes during the Al Sila’ Marine Festival, which will be organised by the Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club (ADMSC) and the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi.
His Excellency Major General Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Commander-in-Chief of the Abu Dhabi Police and Chairman of the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi, said, “Al Sila’ Marine Festival represents a valuable addition to the roster of seafaring traditional festivals that translate the UAE wise leadership's interest in preserving heritage and national identity.”
“Such festivals contribute to delivering the UAE's message of shared humanity to the whole world and passing on our heritage to future generations. They fall in line with the UAE’s strategic vision to promote and preserve our national identity and launch initiatives that will maintain values of the community. The value of cultural heritage isn’t in cultural manifestation only, but in the wealth of experience and skills passed down from generation to generation,” Al Mazrouei said.
He valued the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to support all the initiatives that preserve the UAE cultural heritage. He also hailed H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed’s constant follow-up of the various heritage festivals being organised in the emirate in continuation of the noble efforts that had been made by late Founding Father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, to promote public awareness about quintessential Emirati values and cultural heritage.
His Excellency also praised the efforts of the Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club and its valuable contribution to the maritime activities and competitions that help promote interest in and awareness about aquatic sports among the festival visitors and heritage enthusiasts.
"These activities and initiatives significantly contribute to preserving the UAE heritage, and passing it on to future generations. In the meantime, they help promote our islands and coastal areas, hype marine and heritage sports, and ultimately drive tourist development and stimulate economic growth in Al Dhafra region," he added.
For his part, His Excellency Ahmed Thani Murshid Al Rumaithi, the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club, thanked the UAE wise leadership for their “constant support of sports and athletes in general and marine sports in particular, including both time-honored and modern sports.”
"The Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club diligently seeks to strengthen engagement with maritime heritage lovers through an impressive lineup of large-scale events that contribute to expanding the marine sports practice footprint as well as instill love of UAE’s seafaring traditions in the hearts of young people," Al Rumaithi added.
"Organising Al Sila' Marine Festival with a 43 feet traditional dhow race corroborates the cherished status this sport enjoys in everyone's hearts in this region, where the people are well known for their special affinity with authentic Emirati heritage.
"This partnership with the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festival Committee at the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi, ensures greater successes will be made over the coming period in continuation of the successful events co-organised before by the Club and the Committee," he noted.
Al Rumaithi expressed his full confidence in the commitment of all the event participants to the health and technical protocols in place, citing the public compliance with the Covid-19 countermeasures shown during the heritage events that had been organised since relaxing the pandemic restrictions over the recent period.
He wished resounding success for all the event participants.
"We are hopeful Al Sila' Marine Festival would achieve the aspired goals by increasing the number of sailors and expanding the base of marine sports practitioners in general and heritage enthusiasts in particular," he added.
Essa Saif Al Mazrouei, Vice Chairman, Committee for the Management of Cultural and Heritage Festivals, said that marine heritage festivals have garnered increased interest amongst marine sports lovers and the general public over the past period. He underscored the Committee’s constant endeavors to continue to promote heritage festivals and call attention to the country's seafaring traditions and culture.
“Al Sila' Marine Festival features the 43-foot Dhows Race, and meets the various needs of visitors in terms of edutainment and shopping through an impressive lineup of exciting competitions, including the fly-fishing, Carrom , dominoes, bicycle race, beach volleyball & soccer and traditional arts & crafts competitions. Th festival also includes the Child Village, where there will be a plenty of theatre performances, art, cookery and Bedouin dance workshops, as well as Al Mekshat tents, and a food court," Al Mazroui explained.
He underlined the keenness of the Festival's Organising Committee to ensure compliance with all Covid precautionary and preventative measures as part of the efforts made to recover from the pandemic and restore normalcy.
Majid Ateeq Al Muhairi, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Festival's 43-foot Dhow Race, said, "We are truly delighted to organise the Festival and the Race in an area cherished by every Emirati. We’re confident the Festival and Race will secure significant community involvement and attendance."
He added that the partnership with the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee in Abu Dhabi always yields optimal results, as demonstrated by the successes achieved previously, including in the Dalma Traditional Sailing Festival and the Al Dhafra Marine Festival.
"In the meantime, there will be no space for complacency in implementing the COVID-19 countermeasures. Safety comes on top of the Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club's priorities," Al Muhairi stressed. He underlined the necessity of adhering to specifications and selection criteria for bearings, which, he stressed, will be comprehensively scrutinised before the race starts.
"The past period has witnessed increased involvement on the part of marine heritage lovers and enthusiasts in the races and events organised by the Club. This demonstrates the rigorous work being carried out by the Club to enhance public engagement with heritage events and promote our traditions and heritage among our young people.”
Al Sila' Marine Festival aims to preserve the diverse range of marine and terrestrial ecosystems boasted by the UAE, shed light on Emirati heritage and art, and pass it on to future generations. It also seeks to promote Emirati coastal cities and islands, encourage engagement in marine and heritage sports and drive tourist and economic development in Al Dhafra region.