A massive new recreational area in West Bay called “Magical Festival Village” will open to the public on Feb. 1, organizers have said.
The area, which is adjacent to Katara Cultural Village, will include a range of exhibitions, shows, shops, restaurants, a dancing fountain and an outdoor “ice-skating” rink.
It is located on empty land across from the St. Regis hotel, the former site of Katara’s now-defunct annual Marine Festival.
In a statement, the Magical Festival Village marketing team told Doha News that the village will be open to the public for three months.
The team added that construction began on the project in mid-December and is expected to be completed by Jan. 20.
Details have been kept “secret” to “surprise” visitors about the offerings, which is the first of its kind in the Gulf, they said.
However, Hassan Al Shawa, executive director of Media Work, one of the main companies involved in the project, revealed information about the project this week in an interview with Al Raya.
According the village’s website, there will be a souq that consists of 400 boutique shops that include prominent brands, as well as 40 restaurants and cafes.
Al Shawa said merchandise in the village will represent different countries, with different “streets” full of shops selling products from Egypt, Turkey, China and some European nations.
On Twitter, the village organizers said there will also be a dancing fountain around the restaurants and cafes to entertain visitors.
تمتع بالجلوس في المطاعم والكوفيات حول النافورة الراقصة بقطر ١٠ أمتار في الأجواء الرائعة في كتارا pic.twitter.com/voMcc2vSC4
— MFV (@InfoMfv) November 2, 2015
In response to questions about the outdoor ice-skating arena, organizers confirmed the rink would be made out of prefabricated panels to simulate real ice.
Admission fees have not been announced for the village yet, but Abdulaziz Al- Mohannadi, chief operating officer of the project, told Al Raya that prices would be “symbolic” to regulate entry, and take into consideration that tickets should be affordable for everyone.
Shows, events and activities
The village will have a 1,500m hall to provide entertainment for both children and adults, Al-Mohannadi said, adding:
”We aim to attract (visitors) from different ages and with diverse tastes through a variety of activities and by providing recreational areas, designed based on the highest international standards, (in addition to) an area including cafes and restaurants, so the whole family can enjoy spending the day in the village.”
He told Al Raya that some of the planned events include:
- Fashion week: A fashion show for women in the Gulf;
- Qatar Master Chef 2016: A competition to choose the best chef in Qatar through live cooking shows by skilled chefs from four- and five-star hotels;
- Scientific experiments: For children from five years old up to secondary school, to teach them practical examples of scientific rules in their daily lives in a fun way; and
- Dessert demonstrations: Displaying chocolates and cupcakes and showing simple and creative ways of making them.
The festival will also include a children’s park with illuminated cartoon characters, in addition to trampoline and paintball parks for older kids, as well as a football field.
The main companies responsible for the project are Qatar-based, according to Al Mohannadi, including Media Work and Qatar Work. He added that the project is also in coordination with Katara.
”Our main goal is to make Qatar a tourist destination for the world and the Arabian Gulf,” he said.
For his part, Al Shawa told Al Raya that planning for the project began in April 2015 and was proposed to the Qatar Tourism Authority for approval.
He explained the project was executed so quickly because much of the village was pre-fabricated and simply needed to be installed.
He added that 600 people, including trained technicians and workers, have been working on the site daily to meet the Feb. 1 opening date.