Even though this was a first-year event, since it was organized by the same people that have been putting on the Taste of Dubai for many years I expected it to be well-planned, easy to navigate with a good variety of vendors. Not so much.
TBG had heard that there was little to *no* parking around this venue, so we drove to the Mall of the Emirates and grabbed a cab to the location – walked through renowned luxury 5 star Kempinski Mall of the Emirates Hotel situated next to amazing Ski Dubai
Their ladies’ room was staffed by a woman that flushed the toilet and re-pointed the toilet paper for the next person, pumped the soap dispenser, and unrolled your fresh linen towel for your wet hands. The sinks were the kind that had water flowing over a flat stone. I swear I could have lived there…. Really!
There was some initial confusion over exactly where and how one would queue to gain entrance, but I attributed that to it being the first day of a multi-day event.
We’d bought tickets online, but they weren’t accepted at the gate, we needed to exchange them for actual tickets. Two lines later, we were finally on the way!
Inside was everything from local grocery stores to culinary schools and the Knorr Soup people – fabulous opportunity to taste a ton of goodies and collect information and samples of many products and companies. Here’s a photo of some of the booty we brought home, and remember, TBG doesn’t take freebies, unless they’re golf-related…..lol….. oh, and missing from this photo are the bananas and pineapple (cause I ate the pineapple!)
Entertainment was about the same as one would expect from a small-town festival, inflatable bouncy things, a small train-like ride for very young children, a small carnival type booth where children threw something for prizes, and there was a tree lighting ceremonial countdown, a very loud DJ, groups of school-children singing in the most adorable off-key manner, and proud parents video-taping their every note….. Disappointing was the actual tree-lighting countdown – no real lead-up no excitement building, no gathering of the dispersed crowd, it was more of a “we’ll be lighting the tree in 5-4-3-2-1!” And it was done.
Supposedly Crate ‘n Barrel had some interesting seminars that I’d read about – holiday decorating, package embellishment and wrapping….. oddly the people staffing their site either didn’t know about them, or didn’t care to learn or flat out lied to me about them, I’m not sure which….. I was surely looking forward to it, and just didn’t get the opportunity to attend. Sad, Crate ‘n Barrel, really sad.
Other attractions were cooking demonstrations and seminars, decorating, gift wrapping, and hand made gifts. There were also some poorly-located arts and crafts vendors, a lot of buy/sell items, some vintage rhinestones (my weakness), jewels and linens that were really fine and some things I’d never heard of and was not certain how to ask about them…..lol.
Overall, it was a good time – just not very “Christmassy” flavored, you know? And coming from a promoter that has been handling Taste of Dubai for 13 years – perhaps they just didn’t have the focus this year, you know??
We DID spot Santa, though, and that’s always a good thing! Here’s a photo of TBG with him….
Ha! Gotcha. OK, here’s a photo of TBG with the *real* Santa……
then home to relax and admire the tree I’d decorated earlier.
Create your own individual holiday memories, folks – make ‘em where you can!