Last year, the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens unveiled the new entrance to the renovated Terrace boxes. This year, for its 25th running of the horses, the only physical change is in the Top-of-the-Turn boxes. Several rows of boxes were removed to make room for the popular Family Tents.
The other changes are behind-the-scenes with new executive director Lucy Knight and race day director Peyton Farrar.
The Infield’s Kids’ Corral is bigger this year, and for a $20 wristband, kids can play all day, Knight said. It’s also got a new sponsor, Carmike Cinemas this year. There will be clowns, inflatable jumps, popcorn, cotton candy and arts and crafts.
“Columbus loves to do family-oriented activities and we’re proud to have Carmike as a sponsor,” Knight said. “Last year, it was a huge success.”
Two other popular events are the stick pony race for young children and the Jack Russell Terrier races. Both are in the Infield. Patrons can also take part in the Ledger-Enquirer’s Best Decorated Terrace Box, Sunny 100’s Best Tailgate and Southern Views’ Best Hat competitions.
Last year, a car was raffled. This year’s raffle is a prize package of more than $10,000 includes airfare, hotel and tickets to the Belmont Stakes and a Broadway show for four. The runner-up gets a pice of designer jewelry. Only 1,000 tickets will be sold.
And for the 25th anniversary, Vineyard Vines of Martha’s Vineyard, has created a special tie in either blue or yellow.
Farrar hopes that people don’t forget the reason to hold the Steeplechase every year.
“It’s for the arts and Steeplechase has given away more than $2.5 million in the past 25 years,” she said.
More than 250 volunteers work on 40 different committees, Knight said.