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DUBAI: After a year of delay, Expo 2020 Dubai finally opens its doors this evening with a star-studded ceremony in front of an audience of 3,000 people.

The opening ceremony will feature leading artists, including acclaimed tenor Andrea Bocelli; Andra Day, Grammy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actress, singer and songwriter; British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding, platinum record; international megastar pianist Lang Lang; and four-time Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo.

The opening ceremony will be broadcast live to more than 430 locations across the United Arab Emirates as well as around the world.

Expo 2020 Dubai was scheduled to open around the same time last year, but has been postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“There were many challenges for us throughout the construction of the ceremony, but we are very fortunate to have the most amazing venue and I am also positive to deliver our ceremony.” Kate Randall, vice president of Expo 2020 ceremonies, told Arab News.

And the celebrations won’t stop after tonight’s 90-minute show, Friday will see three spectacular fireworks displays in Dubai, marking the Expo’s first full day.

In a statement, organizers said Friday’s show would be “a spectacular visual celebration commemorating the journey from winning the nomination in 2013 to the opening of the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and in South Asia and the largest global event organized since the start of the pandemic.

The colossal venture will give participating nations the chance to come up with ideas on how to create a better and more sustainable future.

During the first fair of 1889, France unveiled its Eiffel Tower. 12 years later, the x-ray machine made its debut in Buffalo, New York.

This time around, the organizers will use a newly built futuristic city to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges and opportunities.

Covering an area of ​​4.38 km². – or more than 600 football pitches – the site will house ultramodern pavilions designed by renowned architects.

The flag of the United Arab Emirates resembles a hawk at rest while Saudi Arabia has become the largest of all participating countries outside the United Arab Emirates, holding three Guinness World Records: largest LED mirror screen, the largest interactive floor and longest exposure on the water.

Over six months, Expo organizers expect some 25 million visits to the site with more than 200 participants – including 192 countries.

“One of the most interesting things for me about this trip was that I was not originally from this part of the world… but that I was learning many stories that originated here in the region and the world. Arabic, ”Randall said.

With the organizers putting the finishing touches, the stage is now set for attendees to showcase their achievements in architecture, food, agriculture, industry, the arts and intellectual pursuits.

Transport links are complete, with the Dubai Metro Route 2020 capable of carrying 44,000 passengers per hour directly to and from the Expo site.

Meanwhile, Alif – The Mobility Pavilion has the world’s largest passenger elevator, which can hold over 160 people, and has a twin sister in Singapore.

In total, the Expo has around 200 restaurants, offering more than 50 global cuisines to visitors from all over the world who will stroll through the interactive theater.

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, took to Twitter to express his enthusiasm, posting a video revealing a bird’s-eye view of the multibillion-dollar project with the caption “are you ready.”

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