(MENAFN -Arab News) Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, opens the popular 29th Janadriyah National Heritage and Culture Festival on Wednesday. A traditional camel race and a host of events are lined up for locals and expats over the next 17 days.
In an interview on Tuesday, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, minister of the National Guard, said: “The Janadriyah festival, organized by the National Guard every year, plays a crucial role in preserving the Kingdom’s national heritage and projecting the country’s glorious image locally and internationally.”
Prince Sultan bin Salman, chief of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), who was also present, said the tourism body set up a bigger stand this year. “The SCTA pavilion will showcase the travel and tourism history of the Kingdom.”
In response to a question, Saud Al-Rumi, the festival’s director general, told Arab News: “Over 300 thinkers, men of letters and politicians including local and foreign guests will take part in the inaugural ceremony of the festival.”
“A major symposium will also be organized on the sidelines of the event. The United Arab Emirates is this year’s guest of honor at the festival,” said Al-Rumi.
He said the opening ceremony would include speeches of high-ranking officials, an operetta, dancing of the Ardha (folk dance), and an event to honor two Saudi cultural personalities, Saad bin Abdulrahman Al-Bawardi and Abdullah bin Ahmad Shabat.
The festival includes cultural activities, lectures and discussions on Islamic political movements and women’s issues, a market, theatrical activities and poetry.
Al-Rumi said the panel of speakers include Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Al-Jasser, Mahdi Mabrouk from Tunisia, Maj. Gen. Samih Al-Yazal from Egypt, Salih Al-Qallab from Jordan, Mahmoud Jibreel from Libya, Tharwat Al-Kharbawi from Egypt, poet Qasim Haddad from Bahrain, poet Muna Hasan from Sudan, poet Shirin Al-Adwi from Egypt, and Abdulhamid Al-Ansari from Qatar.
The organizers have expanded the event this year to allow more government departments including the Saudi Food and Drug Authority and the Saudi Ports Authority to join the show, Al-Rumi said.
All women including families of expatriates will be allowed to visit the festival from Feb. 17 to 28 between 3:30 p.m. to 12 midnight. Saudi men including expatriate male workers will be given entry daily from Feb. 13 to Feb. 16. The opening hours of the festival will be from 3:30 p.m. to 12 midnight during the week, and from 3:30 p.m. until 2 a.m. on weekends.