Stage set for National Day celebrations

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THE entire 5km stretch of the Corniche from the Emiri Diwan Roundabout to the Sheraton will be turned into a giant stage for a massive celebration to mark Qatar’s National Day tomorrow.

This is the first time the country is mounting festivities on such a large scale. The events are designed to reflect Qatar’s rapid and proud march from a tradition-bound state to a modern and self-confident country as also to display its image as a rich and welfare state.

The celebrations begin by 9.30am with a military parade. And the finale will be fireworks, from 9pm to 9.30pm, on the Corniche.

In between, there will be light and water shows, from 5pm to 9pm. A repeat light show will be seen from 9pm until midnight. During the show, water jets and light beams will shoot into the sky and dance to the beat of music.
In fact, the light show started on Sunday evening and was repeated on the following days. It can be seen again today from 5pm to 9pm.

Revealing details about the activities, Abdullah al-Muftah, head of a celebrations committee, said the memorable events were held in co-operation with schools and other agencies.

The military parade will showcase the country’s horse riders and infantrymen in traditional dress. The march past will also include decked-up camels, officers and men from the Armed Forces, Lekhwiya and Emiri Guards. Vehicles of the Ministry of Interior will also form part of the parade, along with motorbike riders.
During the event, Qatar’s military history in different eras will be highlighted, the official said. The Air Force will mount a fly-past and the Navy will be sailing in the Doha Bay, along with the Coast Guard.

There will be cultural shows as well as other activities. Children from 279 schools will also be involved. Some 50 pupils from each school have been chosen.

The Corniche will be closed for traffic from 8.30am until the end of the parade. Free bus rides will be available from the various parking lots to the activity areas. Some 10 buses, five of them double-deckers for families, will be pressed into service for this purpose.

Makeshift seating arrangements have been made on the Corniche. Of these, some 1,000 seats have been allocated to people with special needs, Qatar Orphan Foundation, senior people and families.

Volunteers will distribute 16,000 specially made mementos to families and other guests, the official said. These will be given away at three times – after the parade, in the early afternoon and after 5pm, the officials said.
There will be giant screens placed at strategic points for the people to see programmes held simultaneously.
There will also be an exhibition of vehicles and military equipment. Both antique and new models of vehicles will be on show, near the Orry statue.

The activities will be comprehensive and will include cultural and heritage events as well as competitions.
In fact, the country is already decked up for the auspicious occasion. Hotels, government buildings and other structures have been draped in giant maroon and while flags. Some 100,000 smaller flags are being distributed through malls, schools and petrol stations. Stickers proclaiming everyone’s allegiance to the country are also appearing on vehicles.

Streets have been illuminated and buildings are bathed in colourful lights.
The officials recommended the public to bring along woollies along since the weather is expected to be chilly. The officials also urged families to take care of children and prevent them from approaching instruments and machines.
There will be five locations along the Corniche for providing first aid.
Preparations for the celebrations started five months ago. More details about the various events can be had by accessing http://www.ndqatar.com/output/Page28.asp
Keeping Qatar’s flag flying high – Page 5

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