Salalah, Aug 25 – The 47-day Salalah Tourism Festival (STF) concluded on Saturday amid rush for last-minute shopping and goodbye greetings from participants. The festival saw the last-minute handing over of certificates and prizes to those who missed the completion ceremonies held inside the Municipality Recreation Centre in Itin. Keeping in mind the pleasant weather and closure of educational institutions, the STF organisers decided not to close the festival abruptly and keep running some features such as children’s rides, popular shopping tents and cultural events, including folk dances, until August 31.
Food outlets have also been allowed to continue.
“Other activities such as exhibitions and promotional events by public and private establishments and other entertainment programmes are concluding today,” said an official from Dhofar Municipality.
Many events were lined up at the festival ground this year. Everyone had a good time as visitors got a full package of entertainment, service and shopping delight, while some entrepreneurs and businesses did brisk business.
The drizzle, usually seen during opening of the STF, continued even on the concluding day of the festival.
“With such beautiful weather, no one can say the festival is ending. We wanted this to
continue for some more time because STF had become a great venue for me to meet with my friends, watch performances of Arab celebrities and enjoy the fun,” said Mabrook, a resident of Salalah.
A sense of joy and separation prevailed among STF participants. During these 47 days, they had gotten close to each other. They were seen greeting each other with a promise of meeting again in the next season.
A breathtaking display of fireworks was one of the main attractions of the festival followed by traditional dance and music shows, performances by a band from Scotland, and magic/caravan shows from troupes from Russia, Ukraine and Egypt. There was non-stop entertainment, including rides for children and games for all age groups. The Culture Village displayed traditional ways of life in cities, deserts, mountains, sea and marketplaces.
Officials were happy with the “smooth but challenging” STF this year.
They had to work hard to meet the festival opening deadline due to the Cyclone Mekunu which struck Salalah during the middle of the preparations.
“Mekunu made us work hard but we are happy we could make it and keep visitors engaged in some event or the other all through the festival. We hope to organise the festival in a better way next year,” he said.