RIYADH: Riyadh will host the Global Town Festival for the second time, with the world’s civilizations coming together to give visitors unprecedented historical exploration and cross-cultural discovery for two weeks from Oct. 27.
Countries from all around the world will participate in showcasing famous landmarks, markets, folklore, songs and chants, as well as high-end cafes and restaurants serving people delicious international cuisines.
Reema Alruwaysan, CEO of MOLHIMAH Group, told Arab News that visitors should expect an “exceptional” experience of unforgettable moments that will take them on a journey full of passion and suspense through time.
“We faced many difficulties with the first edition that, thankfully, we overcame, and it was a great success. For this year, I’m 95 percent certain it will be even better,” Alruwaysan said, adding: “It’s time for people around the world to discover the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for what it really is and what it has to offer in culture and knowledge.
“We aim to showcase the country to everyone as it is, using Riyadh as the gate. The Kingdom is a nation that welcomes all under peace, love and tolerance. And this festival is all about cultural and recreational diplomacy.”
The venue, located at the Exhibition Park on Eastern Ring Road, Riyadh, will allow entry to visitors from 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. everyday until Nov. 9.
“The visitor’s journey begins from the Saudi Market, on a scenic and historical journey where time goes back and forth between past and present, passing through the regions of the Kingdom,” she said.
Visitors will get a chance to see ancient Najd, Darwaza al-Tumairi, and Souk Al-Muqaybara among others. The festival will be accompanied by an historical exhibition that displays the most prominent achievements of the Kingdom’s rulers.
While Global Village exists in the UAE, Alruwaysan assured Arab News that the festival in Riyadh will be a completely different cultural experience, with ambassadors expected to attend the opening.
The festival expects some 2,000 to 5,000 participants from around the world including countries such as “Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Egypt, Italy, and France.”
Organizers said the festival will feature a dedicated charity street called “Molhimah Al-Khair,” in line with the Vision 2030 reform plans to empower women and invest in the youth of the country.
Alruwaysan said more than half of those participating at booths were not charged any fees for their businesses and commercial activities.
“We took in as many entrepreneurs as we could find and told them: ‘This place is for you, free of charge, so go and sell! And you can keep all the proceeds.’”
Alruwaysan revealed that the festival will include anime and manga shows, a digital games arena, in addition to ice cream, chocolate and rose kiosks as well as authentic “tarab” nights. The festival will host dedicated Italian, French and African streets, showcasing their rich culinary heritages.
Visit Saudi called the festival one of the “most distinguished, inclusive and entertaining cultural events” of the upcoming Riyadh Season, offering the best combination of Eastern and Western culture and civilization.
Ads for Riyadh Season lit up the streets of London and Newcastle on screens on Tuesday, tweeted by Turki Al-Sheikh (embed tweet https://twitter.com/Turki_alalshikh/status/1447684335771996162?s=20)
Al-Sheikh announced earlier that Riyadh Season would launch on Oct. 20 with the first zone of 14 set to open on Oct. 21.
This year’s event is expected to run until March 2022, with more than 7,500 events that will cover an area of 5.4 million square meters across 14 districts in Riyadh.