JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR | ARAB NEWS STAFF
Published — Saturday 2 March 2013
Last update 2 March 2013 3:21 am
The Yanbu Flower Festival, considered the largest in the Kingdom, is expected to attract more than a million visitors from across the country. “We have extensively publicized the event this year,” said Saleh bin Abdullah Al-Zahrani, director of the Landscaping and Irrigation Department at the Royal Commission for Yanbu.
Speaking to Arab News, he said a carpet made out of more than two million flowers is one of the event’s main attractions. “The flower show has 125 pavilions and stalls and covers 250,000 square meters. About 67 companies specializing in gardening and landscaping are participating in the show,” he added.
Speaking about the flower carpet, Al-Zahrani said it was designed to reflect the history and progress of Yanbu. “People have been highly impressed by this wonderful work and have spent a lot of time looking at it,” he said. More than 600,000 people from Yanbu, Yanbu Al-Bahr, Madinah, Jeddah, Tabuk and other parts of the Kingdom have already visited the festival.
Many Yanbu families visit the festival every day to walk among the beautiful flowers, Al-Zahrani said. “We have created more space so that it will not look overcrowded. People can also walk for about two kilometers. This is good for their health,” he added.
There is a special corner where specialized companies have been given space to set up model gardens. “We have done this to encourage people in Yanbu and other cities to establish gardens at their homes,” he said. Less than 10 percent of Yanbu homes have gardens.
Over the past week, the festival attracted students from more than 300 schools in Yanbu, Madinah, Yanbu Al-Bahr and Jeddah. “We encourage kids to plant their own flowers and take them to their homes.” The organizers have extended the festival to March 7 because of popular demand.
Al-Zahrani commended Dr. Alaa Naseef, CEO of the royal commission, for his support of the festival, saying it has become one of the most popular events in the Kingdom.
“Most hotels including five star hotels in Yanbu are fully occupied these days because of the large number of visitors.”
Al-Zahrani said they have arranged specially designed programs for children, which has pleased parents. “All things related to gardening are available at the show at good discounts,” he added.
Saudis and expatriates have commended the royal commission for organizing the festival. “We hope the authorities can hold a similar festival in Jeddah,” said C.K. Mammad, a business executive who organized a trip for a group of Indian expatriates to the Yanbu show. “I am sure a Jeddah flower fest would be able to attract more companies and visitors.”
“The Yanbu show, especially the flower carpet, was refreshing to the eyes of people living in Saudi Arabia,” said Shamina Aziz of Al-Hayat International School in Jeddah.
“We appreciate the authorities arranging such a wonderful show,” she added. However, Aziz said it would have been even better if there were more varieties of flowers rather than the same kind arranged in different patterns.