The activities of the 8th annual Al Qasba Food Festival have started in Al Qasba, the premier tourist, leisure and family destination in the emirate of Sharjah, yesterday (Thursday) and will run until April 12th 2014, in participation of renowned Arab and international celebrity chefs. A number of artists and popular media professionals participated in the first day's competitions of the festival, including singer Oraib, artist Faisal Jassim, artist Mohammed Juma Saeed, presenter Mohammed Ali Al Mannaei, Chef Asma Al Bahar and head of UAE team fans Khalid Houria. They prepared traditional meals, desserts and beverages, which were very well received by visitors in a fun-filled and exciting atmosphere. Commenting on the occasion, Sultan Shattaf, Al Qasba Manager, said. "Al Qasba Food Festival is drawing a larger crowd year on year and has become one of the region's most popular highlights in the calendar of family activities. It attracts all members of family alike, who show eagerness to attend the shows, participate in the competitions and prove their ability to prepare delicious meals. We invite all members of the family to visit the festival and enjoy its activities." A special treat during the festival will be the ?Passion for Food' presentation by Chef Manal Al Alem, whose mission statement is to enhance awareness towards food education, nutritional dieting, multicultural recipe development, food styling and dining etiquette through continuous interaction with the public audience. The 2014 Food festival will also feature a number of lectures on the different foods, and herbs that are mentioned in the Holy Qur'an in the treatment of illnesses. These lectures will focus on how to treat common diseases, such as diabetes, blood pressure, and obesity, by using vegetables, fruits, grains, and spices readily available in markets and at homes. Spread over 10,000 hectares, Al Qasba boasts a range of state-of-the-art facilities and tourist attractions including, among others, various restaurants and cafes, Masrah Al Qasba-Theatre "winner of Leaf Award 2012", Multaqa Al Qasba-Conference and Meeting Halls, Al Qasba Business Centre, Kids Fun Zone, Al Qasba Musical Fountain, Eye of the Emirates Wheel, and the Maraya Art Centre.