Internationally renowned for its “Mid-Summer Derby,” also known as the Shadwell Travers Stakes, Saratoga will hope to launch a new mid-summer tradition by invoking the luck o’ the Irish.
“We’re happy to offer our fans some of the many festive St. Patrick’s Day traditions at historic Saratoga Race Course,” said NYRA Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Hal Handel. “Our inaugural Mid-Summer St. Patrick’s celebration promises some great Irish entertainment without the worry of Mother Nature snowing on our parade.”
The event will feature all the essentials for a day of traditional Irish fun at the races, including live Celtic music and dancing as well as classic Irish food and drink specials. Saratoga’s favorite Irish pub, The Parting Glass, will be on site distributing beads and other festive trinkets throughout the day. Special bunting and décor will also lend a decidedly Irish flair to the afternoon.
Bagpipers with the Orange County AOH Pipes and Drums from Monroe, N.Y., will travel to Saratoga to greet patrons at the grandstand and clubhouse entrances, while students from the Boland School of Irish Dance in Troy will perform in step with the music. The bagpipers from Orange County have previously performed in New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. The pipers and dancers will later fill the park with Celtic sounds and steps, including a trackside parade at 12 noon, followed by performances in the backyard, at the bandstand and in the winner’s circle.
Local Irish favorite The McKrells will treat fans to live music at the bandstand with performances from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The band’s founding member, Kevin McKrell, has traveled the world to perform with some of the top musicians at leading Irish, bluegrass, and folk festivals.
The 141st season at Saratoga Race Course begins Wednesday, July 29, and runs six weeks through Labor Day, Monday, September 7. Post time is 1 p.m. with the exception of Party at the Park on Friday, July 31, and Friday, September 4, when post time is 2:30 p.m. and on Shadwell Travers Day, Saturday, August 29, with a special first post time of 11:35 a.m. There is no racing on Tuesdays at Saratoga.
For up-to-date information on Saratoga’s Mid-Summer St. Patrick’s Day and other special events, please visit http://www.nyra.com/saratogaevents.shtml.