A day at the races

Twice a year, in the spring and fall, all eyes in Albemarle County turn toward Foxfield. Whether you opt for staying at home and avoiding the mad rush to the races or you plan your picnic menu weeks in advance, Foxfield affects us all. This year the celebration marks the 25th anniversary of the races, and the planning has been extensive.
    The Foxfield Races Silver Anniversary Celebration begins at 11.45am with a dressage demonstration and “competition” by Celebrity Freestyle. This performance is the preamble to a fundraising event in June benefiting the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation to further spinal cord research. A celebrity panel including Rita Mae Brown and Tim and Daphne Reid will judge each of the six riders. Following the dressage, the Budweiser Clydesdales will parade around the track. Post-time for the first race is 1:30pm, last race is at 4pm, and the gates close at 5:30pm.
    Significant changes have been made to ease traffic congestion on race day. There will no longer be a charge for general admission parking, and there’s a new entrance off Garth Road for general parking. Reserved parking is now split between the East Gate and the Main Gate. Tickets will be for sale only in the general admission parking area. If you are in a car destined for a reserved parking space, everyone in the car must have a ticket.
    Foxfield’s designated driver program, the Savvy Fox, continues this spring. Designated sober Savvy Foxes should sign up at one of two tents to receive a premium and non-alcoholic beverages. This program attracted over 500 participants in 2001; this year race officials are hoping for even larger participation.
    Foxfield brings out the throngs— from UVA graduating seniors to returning alumni to tourists and locals. All in all, if there’s one event that symbolizes Charlottesville, where one can see and be seen, it’s Foxfield. Thanks to this year’s traffic calming measures, maybe we can enjoy our picnics on the field surrounded by our friends and not sitting in our cars along Barracks Road waiting to move another inch.

Foxfield’s 25th anniversary celebration will be held Saturday, April 27. Gates open at 10:30am. General admission tickets are $20 in advance, $25 on race day. Tickets are available at Foxfield Race Offices, Mincer’s, Timberlake’s Drug Store, Dominion Saddlery, and Greenberry’s. Races will run rain or shine. Do not bring dogs.

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