A Day at the Races
For those looking for something a little different in Cape Town, an event which is fun and also embraced by the locals, a day at the races could be your thing. What is it about attending the races that is so appealing? Is it the magnificent horses? Maybe it’s the little adrenaline rush you get as you watch the horse you backed charge toward the finish line. Maybe it’s being surrounded by crowds of people all dressed up and having a good time. Or perhaps it’s the great after party where the ties and jackets come off and everyone parties till late. I’m sure it helps that race days only happen a few times a year. Whatever the reasons, there’s no denying that a day at the races makes for a fabulous time.
Cape Town has two popular race days and they are both early in the year. The L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate occurs in early January (scheduled for the 8th of January in 2011) and is the more sophisticated of the two events. There is a strict dress code and tickets start at R250 for basic entry. The more areas you would like access to, the more your ticket will cost. If your priority is socialising, then the basic entry ticket is fine, but if the actual experience is important to you, then you might want to pay extra for access to marquees which offer food and drinks and comfortable seating as part of the package.
While the Queen’s Plate is quite sedate during the day, once the races have been run, the after party starts. Every year there is a fantastic selection of top local bands and the party rocks until 11pm, making for quite a long but very enjoyable day.
You can read more about this event on their website.
The other race day is the J&B Metropolitan. It will be run next on the 29th of January 2011. It’s a much bigger event than the Queen’s Plate, attracting an attendance of about 50 000 people each year. Some people take it very seriously and dress up and pay large sums of money to enjoy the luxuries of one of the hospitality tents. At the other end of the scale, some people treat it as a big party and arrive in very casual clothes, wandering through the picnic areas and socialising with all and sundry. There are options between those two extremes as well. Your choice will depend on what type of person you are and how much money you are prepared to spend.
There are several after parties, each requiring the purchase of a ticket. These feature local DJs and continue into the early hours of the morning. Find more information on the J&B Met website.
If you’re in Cape Town during January, I would highly recommend attending either of these events.