More than 20,000 camels were competing on Saturday at the fourth Camel Beauty Pageant in the United Arab Emirates' capital of Abu Dhabi, organizers said.

With more than $10 million prizes up for grabs, the competition which started on Thursday is a serious business for camel owners. It is also considered as the largest camel beauty pageant in the world in terms of the value of prizes and number of contestants.

The prerequisite for camel owners who wish to participate in the contest is that their camel has to be clean and disease-free. The Gulf's leading camel connoisseurs will rate the camels on such criteria as the grace of their necks, the shape of their noses and humps as well as the style of their hair.

Judges also categorize the camels by breed, age and ownership. The aim of the Al-Dhafrah Camel Festival, organized by Abu Dhabi's Culture and Heritage Authority, is to promote and revive traditional values and desert culture.

Camel races, children activities and a market for traditional handicrafts are also set up among the activities of the Al-Dhafrah Festival which ends next Friday.


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