Events & Festivals
Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF)
Abu Dhabi has an unparalleled capacity of arranging any global event and the year-on-year success of its own International Film Festival is proof of this. The inaugural festival in 2007 garnered extensive media coverage of over 550 press members from almost 40 different countries.
Formula 1 Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi hosted the first Formula One Grand Prix in 2009 at the Yas Marina Circuit with the final race of the inaugural Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Etihad Airways, the flag carrier airline of Abu Dhabi, is the current major sponsor of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Hermann Tilke designed Yas Marina Circuit is built on the intriguing Bani Yas Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF)
This is the fastest growing book fair in the Middle East, providing opportunity for over 800 exhibitors from 63 countries to bring their work into the limelight. Every year the organizers try to introduce more international exhibits in order to gain the interest of more people from around the world.
Abu Dhabi Salsa Festival
The Abu Dhabi Salsa Festival held at The Beach Rotana Hotel & Towers, offers three nights of spectacular Latin dance and music shows. The festival brings together some awesome performances from the finest Latin dancers and musicians from the world.
Abu Dhabi Golf Championship
Abu Dhabi Golf Championship is a European Tour golf tournament that was launched in 2006 and in the following years has become very popular. Today, it is recognized as one of the biggest events on the European Tour and in turn, helping build Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a world-class golf tourism destination.
Camel racing cannot be separated from the social life of Abu Dhabi. It is incredibly competitive and exciting sport because of the generous prize money and provides visitors with a unique chance to watch this traditional sport. The races take place every week on Thursday and Friday mornings during the cooler winter months.
The Emirates Photography Competition
Emirates Photography Competition is an annual event organized to encourage the art of photography in the Emirates, Held under the patronage of International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) and Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage.
Red Bull Air Race World Series
The Red Bull Air race series is an international competition of air races that is arranged in ten cities across the world. Abu Dhabi is one of the centers of this competition. This event was launched with the support from HH Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The first round of the Air Race is held in Abu Dhabi city, with the rest of the seven rounds held in other cities of the world. The 2011, 2012 and 2013 series have been cancelled but the Red Bull series is looking for a potential return in 2014.
Dubai Marathon is a charitable funding event which allows one to take part for a small fee with the chance of winning a hefty cash prize. There are three types of races enabling the event to attract a wider scope of entries: the ‘fun run’ which is only a 3km run for those who have not got the best fitness levels, the over 15’s run which is a 10km road race and the long distance, 50km marathon which is only suitable for 18 year olds and over. It will be held from January to February.
Dubai Shopping Festival
Although Dubai is well known as a shopper’s paradise throughout the year, the month of January is particularly good for bargain hunters. It will be held from January to February.
Dubai Desert Classic
This is the most popular golfing event in the UAE. Many of the world’s leading swingers return every year for a chance to play for the generous prize money. The competition is held at the famous Emirates Golf Club and generally attracts many tourists, who particularly enjoy the exhilaration on the final day. It will be held from February to march.
Dubai International Jazz Festival
This annual festival is held at Dubai Media City and appeals to many tourists who have enjoyed the engaging line ups in the past and the warm friendly atmosphere. Recent line ups have included, Toto, Robin Gibb, Stanley Jordan and Jamie Callum. It will be held from February to March.
Dubai Tennis Championships
This is one of the most exciting events that brings together some of the best tennis players in the world. The Dubai Open is held at the Aviation club, and the championships consist of an ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and a WTA (Women’s Tennis Association). It is a fantastic opportunity to come and watch some of the best stars play under the sun. It will be held from February to march.
Dubai Art Fair
This event has been held since 2007 at The Madinat Jumeirah. The best artists from around the world can flaunt their work. It will be held from March to April.
Dubai World Cup
Every year Dubai is home to the world’s richest horse race, with a US$10 million dollar prize fund! The action takes place at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, where state-of-the-art facilities and a superb track provide race goers with a unique and atmospheric venue at the city’s largest social event. It will be held from March to April.
The Bride Show
During April, Dubai plays host to the annual Bride Show, which features a variety of events centered on the theme of weddings. It will be held from April to May.
Festival of Taste
Held at Dubai Media City, this is strictly dedicated to the lovers of food. It runs for a period of one week, where top global chefs come and prepare their most delicious specialties for various social events. It will be held from April to May.It will be held from April to May.
Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS)
DSS was implemented in order to encourage tourists to visit at the peak of Dubai’s heat wave. Hotels in Dubai are offering special ‘shopaholic’ packages in order to attract more guests. It will be held from June to July.
Motexha Textile Show
This annual trade fair is the largest of its kind in the Middle East and attracts exhibitors and shoppers from right across the region. The main fair is located at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre. It will be held from September to October.
Dubai Rugby Sevens
Every year, the Dubai Exiles Rugby Club plays host to the first round of the IRB Sevens Series. The three days of competition are accompanied by various other shows and events designed to keep visitors of all ages entertained, while those new to rugby will find the fast and furious matches a good introduction to the sport. It will be held from November to December.
Dubai international film festival
This film festival encourages independent and art-house cinema to get a better recognition from the public with special guests attracting large audiences, such as George Clooney and Morgan Freeman. It will be held from November to December.
National Day Festival
The 2nd of December Dubai’s National Day Festival is an annual day of celebration to commemorate the Emirates’ independence from Great Britain.
Festival of Lights
The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has taken over the city at nightfall, reinventing history and monuments to shed light on the emirate’s rich heritage and civilization in a symphony of lights, images, sounds and colors at the 4th Sharjah Light Festival (SLF). The nine-day festival, which had a grand opening featuring Sharjah’s new municipality building on Thursday, showcases this year the Islamic culture and heritage as the emirate celebrates being the “Capital of Islamic Culture” in the world.
Sharjah Water Festival
The Emirate of Sharjah annually organizes the Sharjah Water Festival in December. The festival offers a gold mine of recreational activities and international shows including sand sculpture competitions, water skiing, firework displays and puppet shows.
Sharjah International Book Fair
The 10-day event, taking place in early November at the beautifully landscaped Expo centre of Sharjah, attracts over 400,000 visitors from nearly 42 countries. Hundreds of publishers from all over the world come here to showcase their books.
Al Qasba Food Festival
Al Qasba Food Festival feature cooking competitions by celebrity Arab and international chefs, cooking competitions for families and employees of government bodies and private companies, cookery workshops for young chefs, live shows by chefs who display their skills in preparing a range of delicious dishes and light meals, as well as competitions to create vegetable and fruit carvings and cake decorations, among many other activities.
Chinese Commodities Fair
The Chinese Commodities fair, held in the month of December, is one of the largest trade fairs that take place in the city of Sharjah. The fair offers a wide range of consumer goods, household and industrial goods. Its primary aim is to promote Chinese products in the Middle East.
Sharjah Arts Biennial
The event is a great opportunity for Arab artists to share their ideas and art with other artists from around the world.
Sharjah is popular among tourists for its shopping festivals. Every year, all major malls and stores offer heavy discounts on their merchandise at the various shopping festivals and during the holy month of Ramadan.
Sharjah Summer Festival
In summer, the city of Sharjah offers ten weeks of fun and great entertainment for all. This annual event starts in the month of June running parallel to the neighboring Dubai Shopping festival in Sharjah’s sister emirate.
Sharjah Spring Festival
Every year, thousands of tourists visit the Sharjah Spring Festival which takes place in the month of January. The event is participated by over 1700 outlets selling a variety of products. The promotions offered at the festival include special discounts and offers, fun and entertaining events and activities aimed at highlighting the tourism scene of Sharjah.