Souq Waqif Spring Festival draws thousands on day one

 25 Jan 2014 - 6:19


A child enjoys a pony ride and (Right) the ‘Static Man’ enthralls visitors at the Souq Waqif yesterday.

DOHA: The lively Souq Waqif added more attractions to its daily hustle and bustle with the opening of the annual Souq Waqif Spring Festival yesterday.
In its third year, the festival, which runs until February 6, offers musical shows, parades, street performances, acrobatics, games and art activities at various locations in the popular tourist hub.
Thousands of visitors to the traditional souq yesterday enjoyed spectacular sights and sounds ushering in the advent of spring. 
They came in droves prior to the start of the shows scheduled from 4.30pm.
At the souq’s alley, visitors were entertained by Winter Wonderland Birds, Static Man, Comedy Waiters, Sparklers LED, Comedy Waiters, Rope Walkers and traditional bands.
An outdoor theatre was built near the parking space at Al Souq street where performers, including Men in Coats, Gandini Jugglers and a dog act, entertained a large number of audience.
Adjacent to the theatre are bouncy castles and rides for children. Across it is the Dino Park where children can interact with dinosaurs starting January 29.
Near Al Ahmad Mosque are nearly 20 carnival games where children can play and win prizes by buying a ticket worth QR10 which is good for two games.
At the adjoining area are two enclosures where children can ride ponies and horses at QR10.
A huge purpose-built auditorium was erected adjacent to the carnival games area, where the festival is held. 
Famous Arab singers perform at the 2,000-seat venue every night. Last night Saudi singer Rabeh Saqr entertained the audience at a show which started at 8.30pm and ran until past midnight. 
At the same time tonight, Fata Rahima, Mishaal Farhan and Saad Jumah will feature at the festival while Moroccan singer Jannat and Tunisian vocalist Saber Robayy will perform tomorrow night.
Other performers include Khanim Shaheen, Fahad Al Kubaisi, Ali Abdulsattar, Mohammed Abdo, Ebadi Al Johari, Assala, Abu Bakr Al Salem, Abdullah Al Rowaished, Diana Hadad, Nawal, Fares Karam, Nancy Ajram, Ragheb Alama and Kazem El Saher.
Art activities are also going on at Souq Waqif Art Centre where children can colour on a wall and visual artists create artworks.
Several new acts will feature in the coming days, including Ants Orchestra, Charlie Chaplin, Salah, Cars and Men, Benno the Magician, Parrot and a stunt team.
The festival, which aims at attracting more tourists to Souq Waqif and the country in general, is different from other festivals organised by the souq in terms of events and artists participating, including famous Arab stars.
The two-week festival is sponsored by Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels and organised by Souq Waqif administration and Sawt Al Rayyan Radio.
Souq Waqif-based Sawt Al Rayyan Radio, one of the popular stations in the country broadcasting traditional and classical GCC songs, is airing the festival.
Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels has launched Spring Festival offers to attract families from nearby countries, especially Saudi Arabia, from where most tourists are coming.
The Peninsula