Memories of bugle calls and growing up at the track come to my mind today as I see plenty of social media talk regarding tomorrow’s Strawberry Hill Races at Colonial Downs. For years now, this has been one of the best events in the Richmond area (probably Virginia), and one that my family has always enjoyed. The networking, tailgating, and thoroughbred action is always awesome.
This event becomes the “Kentucky Derby” of the state as women show up in their finest dresses, heels, and hats! There are even themes for attire and this year is no different. I hear that it is 80’s attire since this year marks the 80th running and yes, even the men dress up. How fun! The prices are more affordable this year ($9 in advance, $12 at the door) and the gates open at 10am. There are steeplechase races, and my favorite, the flat dirt track racing. The weather looks great and I know that people are excited to eat, drink, and dress up!
Colonial Downs also hosts Virginia Derby Day. This is the richest and most important event to the legitimate racing world. This is always the third weekend in July (Saturday, July 21, 2012) and so it is always a scorcher! However, it is tons of fun and brings the best horses to the track. Last year there were bands playing, people dancing, a delicious BBQ dinner, and drinks. You may even buy a ticket for the “Hoot on the Hill” part of the track, where you’re allowed to bring your own tents, chairs, food, beverages, grills, etc. For $10, this is the best deal in my opinion, and becomes a smaller version of Strawberry Hill.
Two years ago I attended the July 4th Colonial Downs night of racing. It was family-packed all night with people of all ages. It didn’t start until the evening so our family had time to go to the pool before the races. Fans saw a night of racing followed by an epic fireworks event. This year, they are having a live concert with the fireworks trackside so I am sure that it will be a blast (no pun intended). There will even be a magician after the races for everyone to enjoy. Get more information about this year’s Racing to the Stars and Stripes event.
Virginia has plenty of horseracing events all summer at Colonial Downs. For more information on all of their events, visit Thoroughbred Summer Horse Racing. Hope to see you there!
Jane Govoruhk is the Assistant International Marketing Manager at Virginia Tourism Corporation, avid Hokie and Steelers fan, NASCAR enthusiast, music junkie, and author of this post.