The festivities surrounding opening weekend at Saratoga Race Course will
be filled to the brim with excitement as the Spa City celebrates its first
weekend of the 144th
summer meet with the annual Hats Off to Saratoga
Festival beginning Opening Day, Friday, July 20 through Sunday, July 22.
Sponsored by The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and
the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, the three-day festival includes live
music in downtown Saratoga Springs on Friday and Saturday evenings; and is
capped off by the 21st annual Hat Contest at Saratoga Race Course on
Sunday, July 22.
annual Hat Contest returns to Saratoga Race Course
The popular Hat Contest will unfold on the track apron on
Sunday afternoon as adults and kids compete in three distinct categories:
Uniquely Saratoga; Fashionably Saratoga; and Kreative Kids. Registration begins
at noon under the grandstand. The competition will take place after the second,
third and fourth races.
The Hats Off Contest winners will be selected by a panel of
judges, including Kristi Barlette, social media strategist and host of the
Times Union lifestyle blog “On the Edge”; Matt Baumgartner, local
restaurateur and host of the blog “Friday Puppy”;
Mary Darcy, co-founder and editor of Capital Region website
AllOverAlbany.com; as well as Kevin Rush and Randi Tyler, co-hosts of the
Morning Crew Show on WRVE 99.5 The River.
“Kreative Kids” marks the first category of the afternoon and
is reserved for those 18 and under. The participants will be competing for
the first-place prize of an oversized Saratoga-themed chocolate bar and a $50
gift card to the Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa. Second- and third-place prizes
are $20 gift cards to Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa and various Saratoga Race
The category entitled “Fashionably Saratoga” invites
contestants to don their most elegant hats for the judges after the third race.
The first-place winner will receive a trophy bowl, $100 betting voucher and a
$100 gift card to the Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa. The second- and
third-place winners will also receive trophy bowls as well as a $50 gift card to
the Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa.
Following the fourth race, the most original artisans will go
head-to-head for the title of“Uniquely Saratoga”. The first-place winner will
receive a trophy bowl, $500 betting voucher and a $100 gift card to the Gideon
Putnam Resort & Spa. The second- and third-place winners will also receive
trophy bowls as well as a $50 gift card to the Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa.
Hats Off to
Saratoga Festival to bring nearly a dozen musical acts
On Friday and Saturday evenings, nearly a dozen bands will
line Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. to provide
fans with a memorable night of music and entertainment at the annual Hats Off to
The Hats Off to Saratoga Festival downtown musical line-up
includes Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers, MAXIMUS, Maryleigh & the
Fauves, Skip Parsons Clarinet Marmalade Quartet, Jeff Strange, Bob Warren &
Friends, and the Racing City Chorus on Friday evening.
Saturday’s lineup will include Aged in the Hills, Bernie
Branch, Chris Cooley, and Rachel Matthews, in addition to a number of returning
acts from Friday evening’s festivities.
Opening Weekend of the 144th season at Saratoga
Race Course includes the Grade 3 Schuylerville for
2-year-old fillies and the Grade 3 James Marvin for sprinters on opening day,
with the Grade 1 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies set for
Saturday, July 21. The 98th edition of the Grade 2 Sanford for
2-year-olds will be run on Sunday, July 22.