Is this the best edition of this family-friendly event?

A 12-day family-friendly festival welcomes the entire community to celebrate togetherness and unity.

Despite the influx of modern influences, maintaining strong family ties – a tradition rooted in tribal times – remains ingrained in Emirati culture.

With the UAE being a melting pot of different cultures, this concept of togetherness and unity is a blueprint for creating a close-knit community.

Embodying this spirit is the Mother of the Nation Festival, taking place from 12th to 23rd March in Al Bahar on the Corniche.

“The festival celebrates the living legacy and values of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, chairwoman of the General Women’s Union and president of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood,” begins Ameera Al Mazrouie, festival development head at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.

“It aims to highlight the UAE’s growth as a progressive and forward-thinking nation through an exciting line-up of family-oriented events and activities.

“These are designed to inspire a deep sense of connection and strengthen community spirit by bringing together people from diverse nationalities and cultural backgrounds.”

Bigger than ever

With 120 performances from international artists, a host of new attractions, 90 dining experiences and over 35 retail outlets – the latest instalment is the biggest in the festival’s four-year history.

There will be four distinct zones for everyone to explore: Happiness, Souq and F&B, Progress and Special Olympics.

“We’re introducing several brand new concepts [this year],” Ameera explains.

“These include an immersive edutainment show called Transporta, which invites visitors to explore the fascinating world of quantum mechanics; Art-Zoo Inflatable Park, the largest of its kind that’s coming to Abu Dhabi for the first time; and a dedicated Esports Arena where visitors can take part in a variety of action-packed gaming tournaments.”

The UAE’s first ever fireworks competition will also be staged, pitting expert pyrotechnics teams from South Korea, the Netherlands, Australia and Canada against each other.

Guests can also enjoy live entertainment throughout the festival including a headline performance from Saudi superstar Rabeh Sager and Dutch DJ Nicky Romero, who will be making his Abu Dhabi debut.

Meanwhile, sports fans can watch exciting beach volleyball action featuring players of determination from ten countries.

The four-on-four style tournament will take place from 12th to 20th March at the Special Olympics Zone.

The main stage area is the spot to be for fitness enthusiasts where you can join group exercise classes including Zumba and yoga. Then in the evening, the same area will host laser and light shows.

Foodies and shoppers can venture to the Souq and F&B zone to check out the variety of homegrown retail brands selling their wares and food vendors offering a diverse range of global cuisine.

Taking place in tandem with the festival at Yas Marina Circuit from 6th to 16th March, Cirque du Soleil will make its Abu Dhabi debut performing its new show, Cirque du Soleil Bazaar. From AED 195. Show ticket holders will also enjoy free entry to the main festival on the Corniche. Visit:

“By bringing people from diverse backgrounds together through its acts, performances and activities, the festival fosters a spirit of peaceful coexistence,” says Ameera.

“This contributes to the sense of cohesion that is central to the UAE’s inclusive and welcoming society, a theme that resonates strongly during this national Year of Tolerance.

“These values are represented by the spirit of the event, which seeks to create a lasting positive impact on visitors by encouraging people to create extraordinary memories with loved ones, cultivate a deep sense of togetherness, tolerance and camaraderie, and celebrate the progress of the nation.”

Need to know:

What: Mother of the Nation Festival 2019
When: 12th-23rd March, Sun-Wed 4pm-midnight and Thu-Sat 2pm-midnight
Where: Al Bahar, Corniche Tickets: AED 25 for adults, AED 20 for children aged six to 12 years old; free for children below six, senior citizens and people of determination

WORDS Ferdinand Godinez

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