Sharqiah Season kicks off in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province


DHAHRAN: Amid scattered showers that refused to rain on the parade, Sharqiah Season officially began on Thursday, with the opening of an exhibit featuring the work of Leonardo da Vinci at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).
The exhibit showcased some of Leonardo’s original sketches, with several screens showing videos detailing how his designs have continued to inspire scientists and inventors in the modern era.
While many of the events during the 17-day festival take place in the evening, Ithra is hosting a few daytime exhibits, including an interactive show featuring another great master, Vincent van Gogh, the opening of which was delayed.
Later in the evening, the action will shift to the Khobar Corniche, where festival-goers will be able to visit an Entertainment District and a Cultural Village, both open until 10pm. Fireworks will kick off the season at 9pm, with a light show that will be projected onto Khobar Water Tower.
The festival’s first night on Thursday will also see the opening of “Skyline,” a show put on by the Montreal troupe Cirque Eloize, at Dammam Life Park at 8:30pm. The show, which will run until the end of the festival on March 30, marks a return for the troupe to Saudi Arabia, which performed in Riyadh and Dhahran last year.
Sharqiah Season is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned for Saudi Arabia in 2019. In a collaborative effort by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, the General Entertainment Authority, the General Culture Authority and the General Sports Authority, the project aims to deliver an extensive entertainment experience for both Saudis and visitors to the kingdom.
The festival features more than 80 events in Eastern Province cities, including Dammam, Dhahran, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa and Jubail. Future seasons will focus on different areas of Saudi Arabia, with different entertainment options for each city. Upcoming seasons will focus on different areas, and also different parts of the year, such as Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha.
Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, said in a statement that the organization’s participation in the festival aligns with its goal of improving the quality of life in the Kingdom, and discovering local talent in various entertainment industries. He also highlighted the importance of the entertainment sector and its contribution to the economy and the creation of jobs for locals, all important aspects of Vision 2030.

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