March 17th 2011: The eagerly-anticipated Qatar Marine Festival (QMF) opens today at the eastside beachfront of Cultural Village Foundation (KATARA) in Doha.
Last night saw the invitation-only opening ceremony attended by a host of VIPs and local dignitaries, but as of 4pm this afternoon, it is the turn of the general public to sample the wide range of attractions on offer at the second edition of this annual event. The Festival is open every day until 11pm (midnight on Thursdays and Fridays) until March 26th, and admission and all activities are free.
QMF is the brainchild of the Qatar Marine Festival Organising Committee (QMFOC) and represents the ‘jewel in the crown’ of QMFOC’s year-round activities and events to raise awareness and understanding of Qatar’s rich maritime tradition and how the country’s past shapes not only its present, but its future.
“We are certain that Qatar Marine Festival 2011 will appeal to adults, children, families – local and expatriate – there is something here for everyone.” said Hamad Al-Tamimi, General Manager of the QMFOC. Visitors to the Festival can look forward to an array of attractions that seek not only to entertain but to educate with the QMFOC hoping to engage the community through five areas of focus: education, environment, culture, entertainment and sport.
The Festival venue is fully pedestrianised and the Doha spring is the perfect climate in which to enjoy the 16 attractions which contain ‘edutainment’, sports, and culture and environmental elements.
For the first time ever in Qatar there will be a Siberian Performing Seal show. Also making its Qatari debut will be the country’s first ‘mini golf’ course. Beach football will be taking place for all age groups and some of the ‘Giants of the Sea’ will rise from the depths and go on display for enquiring minds, featuring Sharks, Starfish and Giant Crab.
The highlight of the Festival is undoubtedly Secrets of the Sea, an exclusive hour-long musical theatre extravaganza which takes place nightly from 7.30pm. Secrets of the Sea comes to Doha as the largest ever performance event staged in the country. Completely unique, this lavish production is a joint Qatari/Italian collaboration featuring a cast and crew numbering over 300, a similar number of elaborate costumes, an original score recorded by a 100-strong orchestra and production sets that would fill 20 shipping containers. Secrets of the Sea will be performed in the purpose-built 1,000-seat outdoor theatre.
QMFOC Chairwoman, Sheihka Hanadi bint Nasser bin Khaled Al-Thani, said of the event last night, “Let us commemorate the origins of our state, the trade of our forefathers, let us celebrate the return of pearl divers... let us celebrate the sea... let us celebrate Qatar. In this second edition of the Qatar Marine Festival, we hope to have created a truly inspiring, enchanting, memorable experience for all and look forward to receiving you.”
Al-Tamimi continued, “Everyone connected with the festival is very excited. We are certain that when the public sees the myriad events we will have running for the duration of the event they are going to feel that excitement too.
“The Festival seeks to entertain – and with Secrets of the Sea and other activities I am certain it is going to do that – but also to enrich and to educate. It’s important both for locals and expatriates to understand the history of Qatari society, how it has evolved to where we are today and where we are going as a country.
“We look forward to welcoming as many people as possible to the Festival. Remember, admission is free and the gates are open daily from 4pm until late so there’s no excuse not to come and see what we have on offer. The festival is not to be missed,” he added.
QMFOC has been invaluably assisted in bringing the second Festival to life by a range of ‘blue-chip’ sponsors. QMF 2011 is proud to be supported by: official telecom service provider Qtel, official bank Qatar National Bank, official airline partner Qatar Airways, official radio Qatar Foundation Radio, official drink provider Pepsi (Ali Bin Ali) and official partners Cultural Village Foundation (KATARA), Nasser Bin Khaled, The Pearl-Qatar, Qatar Development Bank, Qatar Science and Technology Park, Consolidated Gulf Company (Nokia), Blue Salon, Paris Gallery and Amwaj.
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