Muscat Municipality has closed the Amerat Public Park from Tuesday to prepare for Muscat Festival 2013 scheduled to begin in January-end. The park will be the main venue for the month-long festival along with Naseem Park, which has not been closed as it has the necessary infrastructure to host the event.
A Muscat Municipality official said, “Preparations and maintenance work will need time as all the festival events that used to take place in Qurum Natural Park will now be shifted to the Amerat park. Apart from the heritage village, temporary theatres, shopping stalls and pavilions will be set up.”
The official said that additional parking spaces are being created at the park to cater to a large number of visitors. However, with the temporary closure of Amerat park, residents of the area are left with fewer options for outdoor recreational activities.
Amerat resident Salim al Tauqi welcomed the decision to bring the festival there but said he would have skip his recreational activities at the park for the time being. “I visit the park daily for my evening walks, but since it closed from today, I will have to think of some other option. I cannot drive all the way from Amerat to other parks in the city daily. I can only visit the Qurum Natural Park during the weekends with my family,” he said.
The municipality official said that dates for the 2013 festival have not been finalised. “Details of dates and events will be announced once finalised, but they will be mainly on the lines of last year's festival,” he said.
The official said there will be an amusement area, fun fair, electronic games, children’s shows and an education village at Naseem Park.
“In general, the festival programmes include the Oman heritage and cultural village in Amerat, Omani Food Festival, Muscat Fashion Week, traditional boat racing as well as lectures, Omani plays and concerts, carnival displays, amusement parks and a family village.”
The festival venues will remain open from 4pm to 11pm daily including weekends. “The entry fee is 200bz for adults and 100bz for children,” the official said.