DAMMAM: Hundreds of Saudis streamed to the Corniche on Thursday afternoon for the opening of the Red Bull Air Race Demo, taking place in Dammam for the first time as part of Sharqiah Season.
French pilot Baptiste Vignes and Swede Daniel Ryfa performed competition maneuvers between 13 “air gates” — 25-meter cones set up in the water — while there was also an aerobatic display, featuring tail slides and rolling turns, high in the skies above the course.
Obadah Al-Sibai and Suhair Nabil were camped out below to see the air demo. “It’s something completely different, unlike anything we’ve ever experienced here in Saudi,” said Al-Sibai.
“The whole of Sharqiah Season has been incredible to see unfold. I can’t believe there’s still more to come,” Nabil added.
The demo, held in collaboration with the General Sports Authority (GSA), is taking place for three days over the weekend on Dammam’s northern waterfront as a prelude to the 2019 season finale, that will be held in the Kingdom in November.
Between the demonstration and the aerobatic display, a vast speaker system set up along the Corniche pumped out pop music, from Queen to Drake, whilst children had their faces painted and visitors posed for photos in front of a replica Red Bull plane.
Sharqiah Season, which features over 80 events across Eastern Province cities, is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned around Saudi Arabia in 2019, organized as a collaborative effort by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage with the GSA, General Entertainment Authority and General Culture Authority.
The second Red Bull event begins at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, with gates open from 1 p.m. Thursday night’s Pitbull concert, meanwhile, has been rescheduled for Friday afternoon in Dammam’s Life Park.