Spectacular end for festival

Astronauts for a day ... children get a taste of life in space during a visit to the Space Park.

A spectacular fireworks display brought the curtain down on the two-month long Bahrain Summer festival.

The fireworks display at the Seef District, the venue for a majority of events during the festival, was preceded by a grand raffle draw for eight cars, valued at more than BD90,000 ($238,745).

The grand finale of the Lebanese show depicting the plight of the Palestinian people, Rayat Al Aawdah, and the final show of the Toys Land Circus, also marked the end of the festival.

The festival, which made this year's Bahrain summer different from that of previous years, will now be an annual event, said the main organisers, the Economic Development Board (EDB).

Under the patronage of Crown Prince and BDF Commander-in-Chief Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the festival officially got under way with a grand opening ceremony on July 1 at the Bahrain Summer City.

Figures on the number of people who have attended the festival are not yet available, said EDB marketing and relationship management head Mazen Matar.

"There have been shortcomings, and we are evaluating the feedback we have received," he said.

"We believe there is room for improvement for all our events, and we have been able to learn a lot from the suggestions we have already received, both positive and negative."

Matar said he was pleased with the economic returns of the festival.

"The wide television coverage to the event has enabled Bahrain to receive better international attention," he said.

"The hotels in Bahrain have experienced a boom in business, and the arrival of an increased number of tourists to the country has indirectly contributed towards commercial activities in the country."

Matar said all the shows were acclaimed as technically rich and of very high quality.

He said the two-week "World of Illusion" show by world-class illusionist Franz Harary was extremely popular.

"The high profile family show was just one of the many international shows that Bahrain Summer attracted to entertain families in the region.

"However, the most popular event of the festival was the circus, Cirque des Reves, which featured two different shows.

"The theatrical performance with Sesame Street characters at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre, and the Bear in The Big Blue House show at the Summer City also proved popular with children.

"The hi-tech Space Park did not attract many people but Race Zone attracted both the young and the old."

Matar said the four-day show in support of Palestinians was of high international standard.

Twenty boys and 20 girls from Bahrain joined the visiting performers from the Beirut and Dubai-based Rahbani Productions to present the show about Palestinians and their struggle.