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Night Market Brings Festive Spirit to Dubai

Hooray! The unbearable heat and humidity have finally gone and winter is here. This is undoubtedly the best season to be in Dubai – time to dust down the barbecue and spend as much time as possible outdoors.

While few European expats miss the driving rain, sleet and cold of their home countries at this time of year, there is something about wearing cosy woollens, wrapping up in scarves and hats and the run up to Christmas and the festive season that is missing here. There’s a magical quality to the glittering street-lights, the dazzling and abundant window displays in the high street, the scent of cinnamon and spice and all things nice. The shops here try hard to emulate Christmas traditions – they even, infuriatingly, sell winter clothing, but it’s not the same as back home. Christmas in Dubai is an experience in itself – an incongruous mix of fake snow, Christmas trees glinting in the sunlight and open-air Santa parties.

If you’re after the magic of Christmas, you might want to head to the JESS Jumeirah Night Market on Friday 25th November. Something of an institution in Dubai at this time of year, it is a hugely popular event that attracts hundreds of families and manages to recreate the very essence of festive spirit.

The school grounds are crammed full of stalls selling all kinds of original handicrafts from jewellery to artwork – perfect for finding unique and unusual gifts. There are excellent activities for children including arts and crafts, cookie decorating, Santa’s Grotto, Move One‘s popular bouncy truck, tennis and football games and a coconut shy. Adults are in for a treat too with an on-site beauty salon and well-being area, not to mention the popular tombola and cake stalls. If you’ve still got room after all the cakes, cookies and mince pies, it’s worth heading to the restaurant area where the Jebel Ali Hotel will be providing delicious meals.

This year’s night market is going to be extra-special,” says Maria Wilde, coordinator. “We are very lucky to have some extremely generous sponsors who have donated amazing prizes for our raffle and auction and a packed programme of events.”

There will be a number of displays and musical performances by JESS children throughout the day and Geordiebird from Dubai 92 will be presenting live from the night market.

Proceeds from the Night Market will be divided between Red Crescent and Al Noor, a school for children with special needs. “We also support another charity in Ajman called Al Isan who help disadvantaged local children – we currently help to support 8 children and pay for their school education which they would not otherwise have the means to do”, says Maria Wilde.

This promises to be an action-packed family day out with plenty of festive fun, thousands of twinkling fairy lights and a bit of Christmas magic – and all in aid of good causes.

Put the date in your diary: 25th November. Gates open at 3.30pm and close later than usual at 8.30pm, due to popular demand.

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