DUBAI, Balqees Fathi takes part in the UAE Golden Jubilee activation at ENOC Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Steve Holland/Expo 2020 Dubai)

By Hermoine Macura-Noble
Special to The Times Kuwait

Expo 2020 Dubai is offering visitors the chance to experience the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, with free site-wide access tomorrow on December 2nd. People can use their existing tickets or turn up on the day to gain free entry, provided they follow the COVID-19 measures. Visitors ages 18 and above are required to present proof of any vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours.

Running from 1-4 December, the site-wide festivities – taking each and every visitor to Expo on a journey of authentic Emirati experiences and stories – will include world-class ceremonies, exceptional musical showcases, meaningful cross-cultural conversations, culturally-fused performances and engaging exhibits.

As announced by the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, 2021 is known as ‘The Year of the 50th’. Commemorating 50 years since the founding of the UAE in 1971, highlights at Expo 2020 include UAE National Day, celebrated every year to commemorate 2 December 1971 when the UAE declared independence as a sovereign nation following the efforts of UAE Founding Father, the late His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, to unite the emirates.

Amna Abulhoul, Executive Creative Director, Events and Entertainment, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “In the spirit of Expo 2020 Dubai, the story of ‘Journey of the 50th’ embodies the meaning of the quote ‘We are not a country in a world – we are world in a country’ by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. As the show unfolds, we will learn about the origins of the Emirati people, the people of this land, who follow the current of the sea, know the language of the stars and hear the wind as it speaks. Their true connection to the earth and how the values of our forefathers still continue to push us forward today.”

Aerial view of the UAE Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Dany Eid/Expo 2020 Dubai)

From 10:15 GST on Thursday, visitors are invited to Expo 2020’s UAE National Day Ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza, including the raising of the flag, high-level speeches and anthem performances by a children’s choir, concluding with an Al Azi Performance by Al Wasmi. This will also feature alongside horses of the Dubai Police and the UAE Ministry of Interior Marching Band in the ‘Colours of the World Parade’ between 12:45 and 13:15 GST.

Installation in celebration of the 50th National Day of the UAE on Al Wasl Avenue, Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Christopher Pike/Expo 2020 Dubai)

Simultaneously, a performance of ‘Al Azi’, where an Arabic poet leads a chorus that ‘answers’ his call, will take place at 13:00 GST at Al Wasl Plaza in a truly authentic celebration of pride in the traditional Arab values of unity, solidarity and courage. A gravity-defying aerial performance by Dubai Police will follow shortly after, alongside a 30-minute musical showcase by Emirati singer Fatma Zahrat Al Ain, and a jaw-dropping flyover display by the UAE Air Force aerobatics team ‘Al Fursan’.

A traidtional Emirati craftswoman seen at Sameen – Story of Our Culture, Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Katarina Premfors/Expo 2020 Dubai)

The diamond in the crown of Expo 2020’s Programming will be Al Wasl Plaza’s immersive theatrical show, ‘Journey of the 50th’.

Some other UAE attractions you don’t want to miss include:

 1) A visit the UAE pavilion

This remarkable building is reminiscent of a falcon in flight and is inspired by the UAE national bird. Once inside, take a multisensory journey that chronicles the rise of a nation of “dreamers who do.” Traverse a dreamlike landscape filled with dunes of real sand to learn about our nation’s founding father sheikh Zayed, the natural wonders of the emirates and their rapid modernization.

2) Check out the Vision pavilion

The Vision pavilion at Expo 2020, celebrates the insight, values and leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai across three galleries filled with captivating exhibits, the pavilion explores His Highness’s personal story and celebrates the Emirati people and culture of Dubai.

3) Try the Hyperloop at DP world pavilion

Enjoy the passenger experience of what it feels like travelling at high speed in this new sustainable mode of high-speed transport.

4) Enjoy a scrumptious breakfast at Saddle

Saddle is an exciting pop-up food experience at Expo that’s built around serving innovatively delicious food that’s sourced from all over the world. They are known for their specialty coffee, healthy breakfast options and a home-made crepe recipe that keeps people always coming back for more.

5) Experience the Garden in the Sky

Make your way to the garden in the sky, where you can stand on its tree-lined upper deck more than 90m from ground level and get that perfect panoramic shot.

6) Gaze on the stunning water feature waterfall

Step inside the 14-metre-high walls of this spectacular water feature and be mesmerized by the 360-degree immersive water, light and fire show that is set to music curated by Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djwadi.

7) Take the kids on a trip to outer space at Latifa’s Space City

Inspired by the relentless curiosity of Latifa, this space city is a fun-filled immersive experience. Bounce over nets in the “zero-gravity” chamber and power a rocket by jumping on energy-generating tiles. Embark on your own mission to mars by hopping aboard a replica of the UAE’s hope probe.

By Hermoine Macura-Noble
The first Australian English speaking News Anchor in the Middle East. She is also the Author of Faces of the Middle East and Founder of US-based 501c3 charity – The House of Rest which helps to ease the suffering of victims of war. For more from our Contributing Editor, you can follow her on Instagram, here.

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