Since 1978, the Foxfield Races have been a Charlottesville tradition. Held biannually, the race is once in the spring and again in the fall. The spring Foxfield Races are always held the last Saturday in April, while the fall races are held the last Sunday in September. Although well-attended by local residents, the spring Foxfield Races are a University of Virginia tradition for many students. Girls wear fancy sundresses and large hats, while the men typically don bow ties and button downs. Think attire from Vineyard Vines, Country Club Prep, and Lily Pulitzer. With over 25,000 guests in attendance at the spring Foxfield Races, things can get a little wild, with many people tailgating and day-drinking during the event. For a more family-oriented experience, the fall races are known as “Family Day” and are better suited for people with children.
History of the Foxfield Races
Longtime Albemarle County resident Mariann de Tejeda originally funded the property now considered the Foxfield Racing Association and Race Course. In collaboration with Raymond G. Wolfe, author of the Secretariat, Mariann de Tejeda began working on creating “one of the finest steeplechase courses on the Atlantic Seaboard” in 1977. With the races beginning a year later, they have become a Charlottesville tradition for over 40 years.
A Day at the Races
So, what can you expect if you attend the Foxfield Races? Well, the event will take place rain or shine, so a little rain is nothing to worry about. Unless the field is unsafe for the horses, the race will delay for thunderstorms, but continue on once it has passed. The gates open at 9:00 a.m., with the first race beginning at 1:00 p.m., so there is plenty of time for tailgating before the races begin. Tickets are $50 if purchased from April 2nd until the day of the race. At the gate, tickets are $60 each, so be sure to buy tickets in advance if you are planning on attending. Parking is $30 in advance or $40 at the gate. If you have a group of friends going, you can save significantly by purchasing a parking pass and five tickets for $200. There are several different sections, so prices may be more expensive for certain areas closer to the rail. For students, there is an Orange Student Section with different ticket options. Be sure to check out the website if you would like to purchase tickets in advance.
What’s better than spending a beautiful spring afternoon watching the horse races with friends and tailgating all day? If you’ve never been to Foxfield Races, it’s a tradition worth experiencing at least once in your life.
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