A dazzling summer set for Bahrain
Close encounters in space, thrills and spills of motor racing or a glimpse of some of the worldÕs most-loved childrenÕs characters - Bahrain will have them all!Age will be no barrier to enjoying summer in Bahrain this year nor travel a necessity. Bahrain this summer offers a chance to be inside a real live space shuttle, get to grips with a world of Phenomena, experience the thrill of driving powerful vehicles, be dazzled by high-voltage magic or be face to face with Elmo and Big Bird, the Big Bear and his gang and the amazing Toys Land. And to cap this all will be a trip down heritage lane with Bab Al Bahrain Experience, float parades and fireworks fiesta during the two-month Bahrain Summer extravaganza which kicks off on July 1. Organised by the kingdomÕs Economic Development Board, Bahrain Summer promises something for everyone to have a super holiday. The BD4 million festival aims to attract more than 325,000 people, mainly from neighbouring states including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait over the King Fahad Causeway while keeping about 50,000 Bahrainis who travel overseas for summer holidays at home. Most events will be held indoors and in airconditioned comfort and a mini city of tents has come up in the Seef District for the event. It includes what will be the worldÕs largest tent able to accommodate up to 2,000 people. Events will also be held at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre and the kingdomÕs major malls where retail outlets will also be offering special deals as part of the festival. Traders elsewhere are also expected to offer discounts as part of the programme which coincides with the annual summer sales. All five-star hotels in the kingdom are part of the programme, offering deluxe accommodation at special rates of under BD40. Other hotels too are expected to offer room discounts along with other benefits. Show mascot Mahboob (loveable) dolphin has already been a high profile ambassador for the event, visiting schools and other places to raise awareness of the event. Visitors as well as residents have already got the flavour of things to come as the streets take on a festive air with flags, decorations and standees around the kingdom. International marketing communication specialists PICO are the event managers and are being aided in their efforts by Gulf Saatchi and Saatchi and Gulf Hill & Knowlton. A dedicated website, bahrainsummer.com, has proved to be a huge hit registering more than 30,000 hits a day since it went online. Tickets for the attractions will be competitively priced and are being managed by www.tickets.com, an international company which has previously managed tickets for Olympics. A major highlight of the programme will be a world premiere of Panorama Rayat Al Aawdah, a theatrical production which will also add an Arabic flavour to the event. The Panorama, which will staged at the tent city from August 7-10, is being produced by Rahbani Productions. The 75-minute show with a cast of 115 performers including several Bahrainis is a tribute to the Palestinian people and cause. ÒRayat Al Aawdah is not a musical play; but a panorama of poetry, song and dance, with dramatic scenes and strong visuals that are very emotional. It is a drama with a very strong and effective story,Ó said Marwan Rahbani, the president and CEO of Rahbani Productions, who is directing the Panorama. Another highlight of the two month programme will be the Buran (Snowstorm) space shuttle from Russia. The shuttle which has flown 25 times in outer space is a must-see for adults and children giving them a rare opportunity to experience the magic of the world of space and cosmonauts. The shuttle will be on show at the Space Park at the exhibition centre from July 2 to August 30 and visitors will be taken there in special buses. Also at Space Park will be the 150-feet Phenomena disc which will take visitors on mystery tour which includes surreal experiences and meetings with ET. For motor racing enthusiasts, the Race Zone in tent number 3 will offer a chance to pit their skills with the machines, but in total comfort and no risk. Children and the young at heart are however the ones who will be pleased the most. For them, Sesame StreetÕs Big Bird, Elmo, Grover and Cookie Monster will bring ÒWhen I grow upÓ Broadway-style musical; the Bear and his companions Tutter, Pip and Pop, Ojo, Treelo and Luna will lay on a Surprise Party; Cirque Des Reves will bring alive the world of fairy tales while illusionist Franz Harary will dazzle with high-voltage magic and daredevil jugglery.