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Dubai Shopping Festival
The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) was started in 1996 by the government to promote retail trade in the city, and has since grown into the foremost shopping event in the world, an annual extravaganza of shopping and entertainment that promotes tourism and attracts millions of people from around the world to Dubai every year. The city is already known as a shopping paradise, but for a whole month thousands of retail outlets offer further specials, with hotels, travel companies and airlines also extending special discounts to visitors during this period. Besides the shopping malls and souks, one of the most popular shopping spots is the Carpet Oasis, showcasing thousands of exclusive carpets from around the world. Other events include nightly fireworks, laser/light shows, international fashion shows, street performances, music concerts and many cultural events. Daily raffle draws offer very attractive prizes of money, gold, cars and 4x4s. The festival also coincides with the richest horse race in the world, the Dubai World Cup (US$15,250,000 in prize money).
Dubai Desert Classic
Part of the European PGA tour, the Dubai Desert Classic takes place at what was the first grass golf course in the Middle East, which was entitled in 1988. The tournament attracts prestigious international players to compete for the trophy and US$2.5 million in prize money.
Dubai Rugby Sevens
The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens heralds the opening of the IRB Sevens World Series, and features 16 of the best international rugby sevens teams each year. The event has grown rapidly over the last few years and attracts over 70,000 fans from around the world, drawn by its carnival-like atmosphere, making it one of the most popular events in the Middle East.
Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival
Ten of thousands of jazz lovers flock to see some of the finest international acts in the world performing in a variety of genres including rocket-fuelled funk and bluegrass, pop, blues, rock, reggae, and afro-centric music. The increasing number of fans has helped secure it an award for the Best Festival in the UAE.
Dubai World Cup
The Dubai World Cup is the richest horse race in the world, offering a purse of US$10 million, with US$3.6 million going to the winner of the mile-and-a-quarter race. The event attracts the best horses and jockeys from around the world every year. A visit to the state-of-the-art racecourse is an event in itself with its floodlit sand and dirt track and television monitors in all areas. The competition is almost as fierce off the track among the style conscious who compete for title of the best dressed.
Global Village Dubai
The Global Village is a shopping, eating and entertainment extravaganza which runs throughout the winter months in Dubai. Bringing together traditions from across the globe, thousands flock each year to sample exotic foods, buy international goods and experience the sounds and smells of hundreds of diverse cultures. Many countries are represented, each housed in its own enormous pavilion and decorated in accordance with that country's heritage. Each year, organisers strive to make the attractions and pavilions at the Global Village bigger and better. In recent years attractions have included a five hundred metre man-made canal and forty metre Ferris wheel overlooking the desert.
Dubai Tennis Championships
The world's top tennis stars descend on Dubai in February for the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships 2010. It marks the 16th year the competition has been held in the Emirate and will feature the top ten men's and women's players from across the globe. All four current women's Grand Slam champions, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Venus and Serena Williams, have been confirmed to appear on Centre Court. Tickets for the sports event are on sale now. Grandstand seating is free.
UAE National Day
UAE National Day is celebrated on 2 December every year to mark the day in 1971 when the seven emirates first joined together to form the United Arab Emirates. It's a day to abandon reserve and party hard, as parades and fireworks erupt around town. Flags are waved all around, including - as one might except from the UAE - the world's biggest flag, unfurled in 2009 in Sharjah. The best spot to watch the festival parades is Beach Road while the fireworks can optimally be appreciated on the Burj Khalifa observation deck or at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.
Dubai Summer Surprises
Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) is the summer version of the famous and much larger Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), which takes place every year in January. DSS is a pageant to consumer excess with a range of events and performances designed to enhance the mega-sales and exciting discounts in shops and malls all over Dubai. Lookout for the enormous yellow worm, Modhesh, the DSS mascot which is plastered on buildings and billboards. DSS has become the single biggest summer event in the Middle East, with over 6,000 mercifully air-conditioned stores taking part. In 2009 the event attracted 2.2 million visitors who spent over D .37 billion.