This year’s Al Dhafra Festival will see more beauty contest rounds with more participants, organisers said in a recent statement. The fifth session of the camel festival, organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority of Culture and Heritage (Adach), will be held from Dec. 17 to 28 at Madinat Zayed in Al Gharbia (the Western Region). The festival includes many heritage events, including the camel beauty contest in addition to saluki (greyhound), falcon, milky camel, date packaging, Nabati poetry, photography and cooking competitions. There will be multiple heritage activities dedicated to children and school pupils besides the traditional market for the UAE’s industries, which has more than 180 specialised shops for Emirati women. Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, adviser for culture and heritage in the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and director general of Adach, said the rounds of the Dhafra beauty contest will be increased hoping that more competitors will be attracted to the session given the important position the festival now occupies in the region. Al Mazrouei, who is also the festival director, noted that the festival had developed in a very short time into a regional and international heritage event which has succeeded in preserving and reviving all aspects of Abu Dhabi’s cultural heritage besides introducing the Bedouin culture and consolidating “Al Dhafra” name in Al Gharbia on the international tourist map. The structure of the contest will include: individual rounds of Assayel (pure-bred) and Majahim (dark-skin) for sheikhs and tribes (20 rounds), individual rounds for Talad (Hayel, Thanaya, Jathaa, Laqaya, Haqayiq and Mafareed categories) for Assayel and Majahim (24 rounds) and three rounds for Talad (participation with 25 camels). Every competitor will be allowed to participate with six of Mifrada, Haqa, Liqya, Jathaa, Thanya, and Hayel categories. In addition, the positions available for Al Bayrak (the flag) will increase from four to ten for Assayel and Majahim. Around 20,000 camels took part in the last camel beauty contest in December 2010. In that contest, about 800 of the camel owners in the region competed for festival prizes which totalled Dhs35 million.