Festive Fun

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Festive Fun
Winter is also the time when a myriad of local community festivals are organized by the tourism authorities across the Kingdom. Come and have a blast at some of these most fascinating winter festivals, which also are an opportunity to learn more about the region’s culture and traditions and acknowledge the work of local artisans and craftsmen. Listed below are some of the most happening festivals to be at this winter:
Taif Winter Festival
The month-long Winter Tourism Festival features a number of interesting folkloric shows and has been designed to suit all age groups. The festival has attracted over 300,000 tourists and visitors in the past, and includes several programs for families and children, including traditional shows and many cultural programs, each reflecting Taif's cosmopolitan character.
Contact: Taif PTO in charge (alsaiedm@scta.gov.sa)
Al-Khafji Festival
Organized by the Eastern Province Provincial Tourism Organization (PTO) in the city of Al-Khafji, this Winter Festival is another popular event that has become an annual entertainment and cultural extravaganza that continues to promote trade and tourism in the region and is attended by people from around the Kingdom each year. Exhibitions and traditional arts are the main attractions of the festival.
Contact: Eastern Province PTO in charge (Benayyana@scta.gov.sa)
Asir Winter Festival
The Municipality of Asir’s Winter Tourism Festival is the largest of its kind in the Southern Province and promises to be filled with fun and creativity. Contact Asir PTO in charge (mataena@scta.gov.sa)
Al-Qassim Winter Festivals: Festivals are one of the major components of tourism in Al-Qassim providing entertainment for local people as well as for visitors from other regions. The seven towns that currently organize festivals include: Buraydah, Unayzah, Ar Rass, Al-Mithnab, Al-Bukkayriyah, Al-Badai and Riyadh Al-Khabra. Going by the positive response, all towns plan to continue and expand the festivals in the future. Buraydah’s winter festival runs for a month and attracts a number of entities, locals and tourists.
Contact: Al-Qassim PTO in charge (herbishj@scta.gov.sa)

Jizan Winter Festival
The fourth Jizan Winter Festival is all set to woo visitors again. Jizan has a very beautiful and moderate winter, which, among other things will contribute to the success of the festival. Among its goals, the festival aims to create awareness in the community about the importance of tourism activities and create job opportunities for the region’s residents by allowing them to sell their products. A number of fun activities have been lined up for the festival, including: traditional operetta, light and sound shows, fireworks show, popular art troupe, jet skiing, beach volleyball activities, car shows, animals shows, literature and cultural activities, sailing races, paragliding, cruising, horseback racing, marathon racing, handicrafts, and special activities for women. Some of the titled events to be held during the festival are: Prince of Poets Nights, the Fourth Jizan Masterpiece Forum, the Fifth Youth Spring Forum, the Second Orphan Festival, and Theatre Nights.
Contact: Jizan PTO (kubaisir@scta.gov.sa)

Ha'il Winter Festivals
Ha'il Desert Festival: It is an annual festival held in the province to celebrate and exchange experiences about desert life and culture around the world. Some of its highlights in the past have included: Hatem Al-Ta’I gathering for poem and literature, Aja wa Salma Carnival for desert cloths, desert camel competition, Arabian horse beauty competition and International Balloons Competition. The event is set to target over 400,000 visitors this year, not just from across the Kingdom but also international tourists. With a proposed budged of SR8000, 000, it is expected to create over 700 job opportunities for Saudi nationals.
Ha’il Rally: Ha’il is famous for its diverse sports that can be practiced perfectly in the beautiful locales of this area. The annual Ha’il Rally is the Kingdom’s first international car rally, which was flagged off in 2006 and was approved by FIA in 2008. Among its goals is to promote the participation of qualified Saudi drivers. A number of other events are organized on the sidelines of the festival to attract tourists of all segments. These include: female artisans’ traditional souk, poetry event, falconry, Nufud Traditional Market Event, Family Theater Event (Ladies Camp), dune driving, autocross, paragliding, awareness activities and training courses for youth, field trips for women and children, and Literature Club Event among others.
Contact: Hail PTO (salamahm@scta.gov.sa)

Janadriyah Festival
In terms of scale and popularity, the Janadriyah Festival is the largest annual cultural event in the country scheduled to be held on March 18-31, 2011. Located 45 kilometers from Riyadh, Janadriyah is the venue of Saudi Arabia’s annual national heritage and folk culture festival. Traditional activities, including folk dances, camel races, arts and crafts exhibits as well as poetry recitations are showcased for the entire duration of the festival lasting for two weeks. Organized by the National Guard, the colorful festival becomes a platform for the best of Saudi culture, customs and traditions and is special for both the locals and expats. There are numerous activities allowing one to sample traditional Saudi dishes from the various regions of the Kingdom to viewing the traditional Ardha dance - a must activity for anyone genuinely interested in the country’s history and development. Male dancers yielding swords dance shoulder to shoulder while drummers beat out a rhythm and a poet chants verses in Arabic. Truly, the festival transfers one back in time to the early history and beginnings of Saudi Arabia.

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