Crowds flock to Expo 2020 Dubai as UAE National Day celebrations get underway
Celebrations to mark the United Arab Emirates’ National Day were underway on Thursday at Expo 2020 Dubai as crowds flocked to the world’s largest cultural gathering to mark the historic Golden Jubilee celebrations.
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Making the most of free entry to the world fair to mark the landmark event, throngs of visitors packed the 4.38 square kilometer site, to view some of the Expo’s 191 pavilions, and experience a site-wide National Day celebration, including fireworks, a flypast, aerial stunts, celebratory ceremonies, musical showcases, cross-cultural conversations, cultural performances and exhibits.
Waving miniature UAE flags, every district of the vast site was packed with residents and tourists alike as they came together to mark 50 years since the nation’s historic unification and founding in 1971.
Khalifa bin Kuwair, a seven-year-old Emirati, was visiting Expo with his younger brother Mansoor, three, and his mother.
Waving a UAE national flag, Khalifa gave a toothy grin as he told Al Arabiya English he was “very, very excited” to spend National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai.
”I want to see the Expo mascot and the fireworks. I am very excited to be here.”
He was visiting an International Colors of the World Parade, which horses of the Dubai Police and the UAE Ministry of Interior Marching Band, as well as performers on stilts and colorful dancers who wowed the crowd on Al Ghaf Avenue.
Saudi national Omar was also among the visitors.
He told Al Arabiya English that he regularly visits the UAE and came to Expo as it was “a perfect place to celebrate the UAE National Day.” ”It has been very good so far, I’ve just visited the Saudi pavilion. It has been a great atmosphere.”
Yahya al-Maqbali, a 32-year-old Emirati, was visiting Expo 2030 with his group of friends.
With a scarf bearing the colors of the UAE flag, he said: “We love all the National Days, but we are very happy today. We came to Expo as we get to see all the nationalities that call Dubai home. It is a special place to mix with so many people.”
Among the visitors thronging Al Ghaf Avenue at the Expo was Indian national Sakir Hussein.
The technician told Al Arabiya English he had come to Expo to avail the free entry offer.
“It has been very nice so far,” he said. “I plan to visit many pavilions including Iraq, India and, of course, the UAE.”
Visitors throughout the day were treated to a variety of music and cultural performances.
Among those performing was Rashid Hamad, a 16-year-old Emirati who was performing with a marching band.
“It is a proud day for all of the UAE,” he said.
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