Fall is a great time to watch a horse race, and this weekend marks the 21st running of the Aiken Fall Steeplechase.
“It’s a great time to come to the steeplechase because it’s not as crowded as the spring,” said board member Georgiana Conger.
The day will be filled with events loyal attendees have come to expect.
The gates will open at 9:30 a.m. Guests can set up their tailgates, socialize and relax.
The Village of Shops will open at 10 a.m. and is a great place to get a jump on holiday shopping.
Browse Aiken Steeplechase-related merchandise, equine art, clothing, jewelry, home goods, pipes and cigars and hats.
“A lot of people will have a lot of unique arts,” Conger said.
A hat contest will take place after the third race, and prizes will be given for the most elegant, best Halloween theme and best equine themed hats.
At 11:30 a.m., children will race their stick horses. In the meantime, they can play on the Paddock Playground, which will be filled with activities.
Beginning at 1 p.m., about 50 horses from along the East Coast will – 10 at a time – compete for the Budweiser Holiday Cup.
The fall steeplechase is a little more exiting than the spring event, because jockeys and trainers are pushing for those end-of-the-year trophies, Conger said.
First-time racegoers should take advantage of the guarantors tent, she said. It’s the best way to see the races, because everything is already taken care of. The $80 ticket covers parking, an open bar and a fabulous vantage point.
Conger recommends calling the office to request a ticket. General admission tickets are $10 in advance from aikensteeplechase.com or $15 at the gate. Parking is $10 in advance or $15.
“There’s nothing really new, but there’s lot that you don’t want to miss,” she said.