Amusement Parks Not Amused By Free For All Eid Entertainment

RIYADH, 17 November 2004 — Firework displays on Sunday night as part of the Eid celebrations illuminated the sky with a sparkling rainbow colors. A huge crowd of men, women and children assembled at Malaz Stadium and at two other places in Riyadh to watch the fireworks.

The firework shows began at about 9 in the evening at Malaz Stadium and also at locations in the Suwedi and Oraiza districts of the city. The entry to the displays and to other events such as traditional dances and dramas were organized by the Riyadh governorate and municipality and are free to all.

“The free entry to a range of government-sponsored recreational programs during the 10-day long Eid celebrations has led to a substantial drop in the income of local amusement parks,” said Abdullah ibn Abdul Rahman, director of Al-Thumamah Entertainment City.

The free entertainment is in addition to a major decoration project implemented by government agencies for Eid this year. The project decorated more than 600 palm trees and 2,400 electric light poles with small bulbs which added more light to the city’s streets.

Referring to the variety of fireworks, a member of the fireworks control unit said that the safety and quality of fireworks used here would stand comparison with those displayed and shown worldwide including major global competitions.

“The fireworks come in all shapes and sizes producing up to 200 shots at one time,” he said.

Commonly used fireworks include cones, fountains, aerial items and sparklers in addition to other varieties sold to children on the streets.

At the same time, officials urged both Saudis and expatriates to pay special attention to safety tips. “We have experienced an increase in the desire for fireworks in Saudi Arabia this year,” said Taha Ramdan, a seller of fireworks in Riyadh.

He called for more safety measures and said that today’s legal fireworks were safer than ever due in part to stringent guidelines. He added, “Injuries can be avoided by following a few simple rules — in particular, stay away from illegal fireworks, especially those known as cherry bombs.”

He pointed out that illegal devices and fireworks are usually unlabeled, don’t bear any warnings and don’t even include the names of the manufacturer.

A fireworks vendor in downtown Batha said that the most commonly used legal fireworks included cones, fountains, aerial items and sparklers. He said that the public should never fail to read and follow the warnings and instructions.

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