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Qatar’s Katara, Souq Waqif to hold spring festivals

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Souq Waqif festival 2015
Souq Waqif festival 2015

Two of Qatar’s most popular recreational destinations – Souq Waqif and Katara Cultural Village – will be hosting their annual festivals at the end of January.

The fourth Souq Waqif Spring Festival will take place over two weeks, starting this Friday, Jan. 22 and running through Feb. 4.

Meanwhile, Katara’s third Winter Festival will run over five days, from Jan. 24 until Jan. 28, to coincide with the mid-term break for schools in Qatar and also academic holidays in neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Both festivals are free and open to the public, and will hold family-friendly performances, activities and shows during the late afternoon and evenings.

In line with previous years’ events, Souq Waqif plans to have street entertainment such as stilt walkers and performers who will wind their way throughout the Souq’s streets at regular intervals, starting around 3:30pm and going until 10pm.

Souq Waqif Spring Festival 2016 schedule
Souq Waqif Spring Festival 2016 schedule

There will also be regular shows for children and families in a new area above the newly-created North parking lot, between the Souq and Corniche, organizers said.

This area will have acrobats, stilt-walkers a “nature parade show” and “pigeons show” during the first week of the festival, and a “cybers show” and “candy parade show” during the second week.

Meanwhile a “giant fountain circus show” is slated to take place twice daily, from 4:30 until 5:40pm, then again from 7:30 until 8:40pm in a performance space behind Al Rayyan TV, according to the festival schedule.

Map of events for Souq Waqif Spring Festival 2016
Map of events for Souq Waqif Spring Festival 2016

Festival visitors can park in the underground car park near the Corniche. Above-ground parking has been closed off for months, as work is still underway to construct a second underground parking lot near the Falcon Souq.

The two-story facility should have space for more than 800 vehicles and is expected to be handed over to Souq management in May this year.

Full details about the festival can be found on the Souq Waqif website here.

Katara events

Festivities at Katara’s esplanade are being promoted as having a cultural theme, with activities, games and entertainment focusing on the state’s heritage and folklore.

Events run from 4pm until 10pm daily and include participation from a number of ministries and public institutions, as well as private ventures.

The Childhood Cultural Center will host competitions and activities for little ones while the Qatar Center for Heritage and Identity will put on a theatrical show about winter and run events and giveaways with a “traditional cultural twist.”

Katara Winter Festival 2016 schedule
Katara Winter Festival 2016 schedule

Traditional methods of hunting using falcons and saluki dogs, particularly for younger hunters, will be promoted in events organized by Al Gannas Society, while one of the biggest hunting tournaments in the region, Al Galayal, will also host its own activities.

And green thumbs can get gardening tips from the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP/Baladiya), which runs the state’s parks.

A “birds and animals gallery” by Canary World, health workshops by a number of private medical clinics, traditional ardah (sword) dances, handicraft displays and singing and beach games will also be on offer.

More information can be found on Katara’s website here.

Katara will also host “The Magical Festival Village” from Feb. 1.

Located on the empty land across from the St. Regis Hotel, the development will stay open for three months and include exhibitions, shows, shops, restaurants, a dancing fountain and an outdoor “ice-skating” rink.

Do you plan to check the festivals out? Thoughts?

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