RIYADH: The Saudi capital was on Wednesday gearing up for an extraordinary evening of musical entertainment at the opening ceremony of this year’s Riyadh Season.
Taking place under the title Imagine More, the event will be staged near to the extended Boulevard zone and broadcast live with more than 2,760 drones capturing every moment.
Tickets for the ceremony, starting at 7 p.m., were sold out within one hour of going on sale and the lucky holders will be treated to a global parade including more than 1,500 costumed participants performing the traditional folkloric Samri dance.
Shows will include a Harley-Davidson custom bike display, fireworks, and a concert performed by the Cuban-American rapper Pitbull.
An estimated 7 million people visited the first Riyadh Season in 2019 and this year’s festival of activities will offer more than 7,500 events held on an area covering 5.4 million square meters.
Viewers in New York, London, Newcastle, Dubai, Kuwait, and Doha are expected to be among those watching the opening ceremony.
Flying drones shaped the phrase “Welcome to Riyadh Season” in different languages in the sky and Turki Al-Sheikh, CEO of the General Entertainment Authority and chairman of the Season welcomed the audience on stage.
“Our slogan in the first Riyadh Season was ‘Imagine’ and in this second season our slogan is ‘Imagine More,’ do you believe it now? Of course, you do,” he said.
“As long as we have inspiring leaders that support each Saudi to raise their ambition limits and achieve their dreams… in the end, welcome to Riyadh Season.”
Just before the big event, Reem Abdullah, who works in business development, came with her friends to attend the opening ceremony and expressed her excitement and joy for this year’s season.
“I’m looking forward to the parade, mostly the fireworks. I also heard that there’s going to be Pitbull, really looking forward to that because I know most of his music” she told Arab News.
“My favourite zone in the season is Winter Wonderland. I love winter festivals, I love the weather, the design, and the décor, it’s really magical,” she added.
Ema Muradavic from Montenegro and her husband Yasin Ghali from Syria came together for the evening and were surprised how organized the event was.
“It looks like the event is going to be spectacular tonight, and everything is going to be just fine and I hope that the event will measure up with our expectations,” Muradavic told Arab News.
She mentioned that this is her first time to visit Riyadh season “It looks like it’s going to be very fun…it looks awesome.”
As for Ghali, he is most excited about the car shows that will take place in Riyadh this year as he considers himself a lover of speed cars.
“I’m excited to see the McLarens, the Audis and Ferraris in one place,” he said.