The UAE came together this evening to celebrate One Year to Go until Expo 2020 Dubai opens its doors, with spectacular events in all seven emirates marking the milestone moment in style and offering a tantalising taste of what's to come at the World's Greatest Show.
Global superstar Mariah Carey and acclaimed Emirati singer and Expo 2020 Ambassador Hussain Al Jassmi headlined celebrations in Burj Park, Downtown Dubai - treating the audience to hour-long sets packed with their greatest hits.
All eyes turned to Burj Khalifa at 2020 (8.20pm) for a mesmerising LED and fireworks show that launched the 12-month countdown to 20 October 2020,when the largest event ever staged in the Arab world will open its doors for an unmissable 173 days of inspiration, innovation and fun for all the family.
Top-class events were held simultaneously from 1700 to 2200 in the six other emirates,at Louvre Abu Dhabi, Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, Ajman Museum, Umm Al Quwain Corniche, Al Qawasim Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah Fort.
All seven free,family-friendly celebrations underlined the nation's ever-growing excitement and pride as it prepares to host the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. Each drew a bustling crowd and featured musicians,painters, poets and other figures from the UAE's flourishing cultural scene, as well as great food, craft areas for children, live streams of Dubai's headline acts and plenty more.
Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, Executive Director Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, said: "This was a wonderful 'Be There' moment for the nation after we launched our newest campaign - 'Be There for the World's Greatest Show' - only last week. Tonight gave the entire UAE and the wider world a tantalising glimpse of what Expo 2020 Dubai will offer in just 12 months from now - and proved exactly why everybody will want to be there for an unmissable landmark in our history."
An appearance from Bollywood actress and singer Shraddha Kapoor added further star quality to proceedings at Burj Park, while five UAE-based musicians of diverse genres performed a song they had written especially for the One Year to Go celebrations. Their collaboration will feature in a documentary titled'Musical Encounters' to be released shortly.
Across all seven emirates, performances by 100 artists from 26 different nationalities highlighted the nation's rich talent pool and multicultural modern society, as well as the global appeal of Expo 2020.
More than 100,000 plastic bottles were saved during the national celebrations as part of the 'Be Water Wise' initiative - a collaboration between Expo 2020 and the UAE Water Aid Foundation, Suqia UAE, to raise awareness about water scarcity and single-use plastic.In line with Expo's sub theme of Sustainability, free drinking water and 98 per cent biodegradable and compostable paper water bottles were provided to all visitors, performers and staff.
Expo 2020 Dubai will bring together 192 participating nations and an anticipated 25 million visits, showcasing the best in technology, architecture, gastronomy, culture and more while also exploring how humanity can shape a more sustainable tomorrow through the theme 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future'.
Everyone is encouraged to join the journey to Expo 2020 through a variety of options from Expo Live's pioneering social projects helping communities around the globe, to the volunteers programme, which will see a diverse mix of 30,000 UAE residents and expats become the 'face' of the next World Expo.
More details are being announced about The World's Greatest Show of human brilliance and achievement on a continuous basis. Stay in the know by visiting expo2020dubai.com or follow any of Expo's social media channels.