In the world of horses, Kentucky has the Derby. Maryland, the Preakness. New York, Belmont.
We here in Pennsylvania are lucky enough to have our own variation of an equestrian celebration: the Devon Horse Show, returning May 24-June 3.
This year marks the 116th Annual Devon Horse Show. What started as a one-day show is now the oldest and largest multi-breed, outdoor equine show in the country.
Drawing top competitors from around the world, Devon happens to be the fourth American horse show honored with the designation as a USEF Heritage Competition, an award reserved for those competitions that have been in existence for more than a quarter century and promoted and grown the equestrian sport.
However, if you’re more into shopping around than horsing around, there will be unique boutiques set up in cottages that will offer a variety of stylishly equine items like leather chaps and saddles, custom-made boots, blankets, jewelry, paintings, antiques, toys, needlework, pottery, souvenirs and collectibles.
The Country Fair portion of the horse show include delicious concessions so you can eat like a horse (think burgers, hot dogs, cotton candy, fudge and pizza), lots of vendor booths, an art gallery and a giant Midway featuring a Ferris wheel, carousel and game booths for all ages.
Aside from the horse show and country fair, here’s a listing of various special happenings throughout the 11-day event that you’ll want to know about:
• First Night at Devon: Wednesday, May 23. Patrons, sponsors, and guests will enjoy viewing beautiful art (like equine oil paintings and captivating watercolors). Held the night before the official opening, the grounds are abuzz with horses, riders, and vendors preparing for the opening. Guests can enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while being treated to a special preview of the art, including the official Devon poster. Call 610-525-2533 for info.
• Devon Doggie Parade: Monday, May 28, 1 p.m. An event not to be missed! Free general admission tickets (beginning at noon) to the first 300 children.
• Family Day #2: Tuesday, May 29. Includes guided back-barn tours. Specials at the Fair and Midway.
• Ladies’ Day Tea: Wednesday, May 30, 11 a.m. 11 a.m. Champagne and tea sandwiches, music by Amber Rae and the Swinging Foxes and plein air art exhibition at the Devon Club. Hats are encouraged! $60 per person. The first 200 reservations receive a fabulous goodie bag with earrings, a Boyds gift card and more. Proceeds benefit Bryn Mawr Hospital.
• Luncheon with Elizabeth Letts, author of NYT Best Seller The Eighty-Dollar Champion; Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation: Saturday, June 2, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. If you’re fascinated by stories like Seabiscuit and Secretariat, then you’ll love hearing the author discuss this true story of Snowman, a doomed horse who became a national phenomenon. Harry de Leyer, the man who rescued Snowman and made him a legend, will also be in attendance.
• Plant Sale: Sunday, June 3. Purchase plants and flowers that were strewn about the grounds throughout the festival’s duration at the conclusion of the show.
For more details, check out the Devon Horse Show website.
116th Annual Devon Horse Show & Country Fair
When: May 24-June 3
Where: Devon Horse Show Grounds, 23 Dorset Road, Devon
Cost: General admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under and seniors 65+; Reserved grandstand tickets range from $12-$55
More info: www.thedevonhorseshow.net