February 2, 2012 – Muscat Festival has started a week ago (Tues, 26th of January), so my family and I along with our good friend Enrico visit Qurum Park to feel the rush of excitement along with other spectators for this once-in-a-year big fair. We know the major traffic jams around Qurum Park at the running of the festival and decided to go at early afternoon. But the traffic is still bad when we get there. We roam around the area looking for a good spot to park until the policemen direct us to a parking area near Marah Land Amusement Park.
As the cars are in queue, we notice from a distance a young Omani guy selling parking tickets. We are then in doubt as to how come they’re collecting fees where in fact parking in this place is totally free. Jesse goes out of the car line and wants to head out of the parking area. However, the guy catches our attention and argues that we have to move back and pay the fee. My husband, in his fit of disappointment, have a little argument but eventually we end up parking just near the entrance of the amusement park and we get it for free.
We go through the main gate and pay the festival fee (300 baizas for adults and 250 baizas for kids). As soon as we arrive in the small fountain area, we immediately see a lot of booths for commercial concerns such as Oman Air, Nawras, Omantel, Bank Muscat, Bank Dhofar, etc. I check the Ministry of Tourism booth and ask free Oman map and travel destination guide. I collected materials like this especially for our trips and escapades around the country.
At this very hour, tons of people flock together at the heart of Qurum Park. There are play grounds, internet centers, food stalls, garments bazaar, plays and concerts and a lot more. Since, our time is limited and it is too impossible for us to visit all the places in the festival area, we only selected those that really interest us.
First, we go to the International Exhibition for Arts, Heritage, and Creativity where all countries from Asia, Europe, and Middle East will showcase their craftsmanship and cultural heritage. But to our dismay, the area will open the next day.
After taking our quick dinner at the food courtyard, a small parade of fantastic costumes and amazing mascots come along around the lake area.
I grab my kids to take a glimpse of the colorful scenery. I take video while Jesse get photos as my little Anyah is really amazed of the sound and sights.
Next stop is the Oman Heritage and Culture Village. For me, it is the best part of the Muscat Festival because I was able to witness the old and traditional Omani lifestyle.
There are varied displays for talented crafts including weaving, wood carving, coffee making, etc while at the same time Omanis are showcasing their talents in dancing, singing, qur’an reading, and even their old style of living like fishing and farming. They all have made it in a pretty much the same manner it has been done for hundreds of years ago.
Finally we get out of the village where suddenly lights surrounding the park are turn down for the fountain and light show. We hurriedly go near the lake and witness the brightly lit fountains spraying into the air to the beat of some tunes along with some blaze of fire. The fountain and light display run for about half an hour.
After which, we are ready to leave the park and drop at City Centre Qurum for some grocery of our weekly consumption. We arrive home with a wonderful and first experience of Muscat Festival.