Sorry for the tease on Friday! I just couldn't resist. We attended the 27th annual Steeplechase (get it "steeple + chase = steeplechase") at Callaway Gardens on Saturday.
My very generous Mother-in-law treated us to a day at the races! This was my first Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens, and it was absolutely delightful! This event is hosted each year to benefit the arts in Columbus, Georgia to include the Museum, Symphony Orchestra, The Historic Columbus Foundation, the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation and the Springer Opera House.
We were lucky enough to have a tent right next to the 2011 Race Director, Charlotte Hare, and her family. It was a stunning vantage point with lots of space in front for the children to play between races and a couple of strategic jumps just beyond for an exciting afternoon.
The weather could not have been better, and I must say, the people were incredibly kind and gracious.
The day started with the Midland Fox Hounds' parade.
Then the bagpipers kicked off the ceremony for the day.
Those are our tents in the background.
Each race was announced with a bugle blast from this fellow . .
and the first race we saw was a pony race for children (no jumps).
I thought the boy on this tiny pony was the cutest thing ever!!
My daughter who rides here in Birmingham was completely smitten after the very first race. I could not pull her away for a single moment of looking at hats, flowers or anything in between. She stood on the rail all afternoon!
I did talk my nieces into going with me to see the sites. I have to say this event was the closest thing I've seen in awhile to tailgating in the grove at Ole Miss where I went to school. Just look at this gorgeous arrangement in a pierced silver basket, no less!
Then it was time for the real races. I took these pictures in front of our tent as they made the jump.
The entire event was at a very relaxed pace - lots of socializing along with refreshments and yummy treats between races.
This dapper fellow relaxed at the tent next to us!
I happened to snap this picture at the very moment this jockey made the jump and bobbled out of her saddle. Up until this point, I actually thought it looked really fun. I quickly realized it's very dangerous! She did, in fact, fall straight on her head and rolled a few feet. Luckily, she got up and walked away from this fall unscathed, but her horse never stopped.
I loved the look of this arrangement in this old copper basin. It was stunning in person.
This amazing arrangement was in the main tent located right in front of the finish line.
Close to the end of the day, we were treated to a special tour of the stables (this was a highlight for my daughter). This beautiful horse had just finished a race and had won! They were in the process of cooling him down. Based on the looks of these stables, the horses are treated like royalty!
This cute girl (did you see that bird on her hat!) actually helped organize the event and was in charge of the hat contest. So, with my nieces in tow, we made our way to the judges table for a look at the contestants!
Look at some of these hats!
I think this hat actually won the overall category! This lady was so sweet. One of my nieces just flat out asked her if she could try on her hat and she, without any hesitation, popped the hat on her head!
Needless to say, she created a monster and both of them preceded to ask every lady in the crowd if they could try on their hats!
One other thing I thought was fun, this milliner and his wife were selling hats at the event. So, if you did not come in a hat and were feeling left out, you could make it right!!
My nieces saw it as just one more opportunity to try on a few hats. I've never seen such posing in all my life!
Check out the hand on the hip.
Overall, it was a very special day. This event is held annually each Fall. We had such a marvelous time I am sure it will not be our last time to attend. If you are interested in a fun fall day, click here for more information on next year's Steeplechase. I saw one tent called "Girl's Weekend" and it really made my wheels start turning! M.