For many visitors, Saudi Aramco’s Cultural Program exceeded expectations and has left them anxious for more in the future. More than 256,833 visitors from across the Kingdom attended the Cultural Program in Dhahran.

One of the most popular activities for families was the iSpark graduation ceremony held each Monday in the Live Performance Tent, where students showcased their projects and were awarded certificates.

“My sister was an iSpark student,” said Manal Shihri during her visit to the site. “I attended her graduation, and the end projects were very impressive and creative.”

Shihri said 1001 Inventions was her favorite attraction. “It was well organized,” she said. “It had activities for both adults and children, and I enjoyed our tour of the tent.”

She also noted that Heritage Village was nice, and the street performers in their costumes made her feel like she was at a festival. “Last year’s program was OK, but this year I was very impressed — a whole new level. I would love to come back again.”

iSpark student Samar Zahrani said her favorite spot was the Generation Oasis Tent. She brought her little sister with her, and they both enjoyed the activities inside.

“The outdoor shows and street artists were an added value to the program that we didn’t have in the past,” said organizer Rehab Makhloog. They were also some of the most popular attractions at the site, be it a juggling clown interacting with kids, or a futuristic entertainer performing for visitors in a costume of light-emitting diodes.

Saudi celebrities also made appearances at the site, and visitors rushed to have photos taken with them. Stand-up comedian Fahad Albutairi did an interview that was streamed live through LED screens at the site. Saudi International football players, such as Yousef Al-Salem and Fayez Al Subaie, also toured the site and visited the Valencia Tent greeting youngsters there.

Visitors lined up to attend a lecture about Muslim inventions by Professor Salim Al-Hassani, the author of 1001 Inventions: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization, at the Live Performance Tent. Al-Hassani also signed copies of his book in the 1001 Inventions Tent.

Barney and Friends, the Fareej cartoon inspired characters, a puppet show and the Sound of the Ocean program were also popular destinations for families. The tent also hosted theater workshops for young Saudis in collaboration with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.

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