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Dubai super-fest features everything from gold giveaway to Michael Jackson show

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Sure, Dubai's got the most luxurious hotel in the world, fantastic man-made offshore islands shaped like palm trees, fabulous white sand beaches and a city full of skyscrapers – including the world's tallest tower – popping up in the middle of the desert. But if that's not enough to keep you busy during your stay at this emirate (one of the seven United Arab Emirates) on the Arabian Gulf, the local tourism folks have come up with a month-long festival featuring a whopping 150-plus activities and events.

The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) runs through Feb. 2, including shopping extravaganzas, fashion shows, art exhibits, concerts and super-raffles for sports cars and other jaw-dropping prizes. Here are examples of just a few of the events:

- New Orleans-like carnivals complete with musicians, dancers, acrobats and the like (but rather than parading down Bourbon St. they'll be struttin' their stuff on Al Seef St. and on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Blvd.).

- A Cirque du Soleil show saluting American pop king Michael Jackson.

- A fashion show atop half-mile-high Burj Klalifa, the world's tallest building.

- A carpet festival spotlighting “some of the rarest, largest and most unique carpets and rugs from around the world.”

- Daily fireworks celebrations at various spots around the city along with shows by internationally famous singers such as the hit “7 Sopranos” group from Australia, top name musicians, dancers, ventriloquists and even a “soap bubble magician.”

- Among what are expected to be particularly popular events will be drawings for top-of-the-line Infinity and Nissan cars, big cash prizes, “kilos of gold” and diamond rings.

The activity and event listings go on and on. According to Laila Mohammed Suhail, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, the annual DSF project “contributes significantly towards Dubai’s economy...and also helps reinforce (the emirate's) reputation as a global tourism landmark.”

Officials report the emirate “is well on course to achieving (Dubai's) Tourism Vision for 2020 of attracting 20 million tourists.”

Dubai recently won the global competition to host World Expo 2020, a world's fair-like exhibition held in different countries every five years.



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