With a refreshed identity and enhanced entertainment offerings, SummerFest Abu Dhabi - an upgrade of the emirate's annual summer promotion - has been expanded into a 52-day extravaganza spanning mid-summer, the Holy Month of Ramadan, Eid Al Fitr and the destination's traditional EidFest celebrations.
Running June 27 to August 17, SummerFest Abu Dhabi will revolve around a family-friendly hub of edutainment activities, world-class shows and exciting international performances spread over four action-packed halls at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec), while an exciting line-up of Arabic concerts, dual-language comedy nights, theatre productions and celebrity-driven sport activations will also roll-out at du Forum on Yas Island.
Having attracted 100,393 guests to Adnec during last year's festival - a 9.4 per cent increase on 2011 - Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), the event organiser, predicted the longest-ever Adnec schedule and diverse bill of du Forums events will woo record crowds.
"There is now much more to see and do in Abu Dhabi than ever before - a fact highlighted in our fantastic SummerFest Abu Dhabi line-up," said Sultan Al Muhairi, Manager, SummerFest Abu Dhabi.
"We are working to finalise the festival schedule and we anticipate a blockbuster calendar of amazing events and fun, family-friendly activities. SummerFest Abu Dhabi will take our seasonal push to the next level and ensure Abu Dhabi is the place to be for UAE residents and regional travellers over coming months."
At Adnec, a gigantic, three-storey Obstacle Course is the biggest in the festival's history. A perennial favourite with children of all ages, this year's course features rock climbing walls, zip lines, a maze, towers 10 metres in the air and covers a mammoth 40m-by-20m plot. After negotiating the Obstacle Course, kids can make a beeline for the Extreme Tower Bag Jump and fly off a 10-metre board into an inflatable, 10m-by-10m safety mattress.
A live-action Cartoon Network Village will boast life-size, replica sets and interactive games featuring a magical line-up of much-loved characters from the region's most popular cartoon TV network, while a dedicated LEGO Zone will give visitors the chance to recreate the Abu Dhabi skyline.
New this year is the Open Stage, where audiences can sit on beanbags and watch hourly mini-shows featuring the jaw-dropping genius of the Bubble Man, toddler-friendly Balloon Caricaturists and other thrilling stunt-based performances.
"The Open Stage has been introduced because of the overwhelming response to our annual Show World schedule," added Al Muhairi. "It will give even more guests the opportunity to see world-class shows outside of the Show World auditorium, which also returns and features various groups performing twice-daily shows during week-long runs."
Show World kicks off with two consecutive regional premieres. First-up, the Lazy Town live show will get kids out their seats and active during its June 27 to July 3 run, before much-loved Bananas in Pyjamas duo, B1 and B2, take-over for their side-splitting Banana-rific production from July 4-9.
At du Forum, a cache of popular English-speaking Arabic comedians will have audiences in stitches in early July, before theatre productions, stage performances and sport-based coaching clinics and tournaments roll out during Ramadan. The region's leading Arabic singers will then usher in Eid Al Fitr celebrations from August 9-10 to round out a Yas Island schedule tailored for regional audiences.
"The world-class schedule of shows, concerts and comedy nights will significantly expand SummerFest Abu Dhabi's appeal to Arab and expatriate parents and their children," added Al Muhairi. "The du Forum line-up effectively completes the festival proposition."
With the stars of SummerFest Abu Dhabi due to make crowd-pulling appearances at malls across the emirate, Abu Dhabi's shopping centres, hotels and attractions are getting in on the act and activating their own seasonal promotions. Al Forsan International Sports Resort, the multi-sport facility behind Abu Dhabi Golf Club, will host a series of summer camps from 10th July to 3rd August.
The new SummerFest Abu Dhabi website (www.summerfestabudhabi.ae) goes live in early June, when the full calendar of du Forum and Adnec events and activities - including the much-anticipated Show World line-up - as well as ticket information and du Forum show prices will be revealed.
Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction which enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike.
The authority manages the emirate's tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programmes relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
The authority supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate's heritage. A key authority role is to create synergy in the destination's development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base.