Foxfield, the steeplechase horse race traditionally popular among University of Virginia students and Central Virginians will return to full spectator capacity for its spring races but spectators will find numerous changes including limits on alcohol brought onto the premises.
“For increased safety on race day, for each tailgating space (single car) the maximum amount of alcohol allowed is two [750 milliliter bottles] of hard alcohol, three bottles of wine and three six-packs of beer, seltzer or cider,” officials said in a Wednesday announcement.
Steeplechase races are held in the spring and again in the fall at Foxfield, a 168-acre property off Garth Road in Albemarle County. The races returned in fall 2021 following a pandemic pause. The organization also changed leadership last year. The property was placed in a conservation easement in 2019.
While fall races are traditionally attended by community members and equestrian enthusiasts, the spring event has been a major social event for UVa students who arrive in style with intoxicating fashion and flavor with fancy dresses and formal attire.
In previous years, attitudes and clothes weren’t all that were intoxicating. Attendees have been arrested for being drunk in public and several have required medical care.
Organizers have made other changes, including adding the New Orange Entertainment Park for general admission ticket holders. The park will include drinks for sale, live music, local food trucks and a large tent.
Attendees can watch the race along the rail as well as on a large video wall but they cannot bring in their own alcoholic beverages. Beverages will be available for purchase for those over 21 years old.
“We are excited to offer the New Orange Entertainment Park for an enhanced experience to our largest race of the year,” said Kelsey Cox, executive director of the Foxfield Races, in the news release. “Coming out of a snowy and cold winter with Omicron peaking, we expect everyone will be craving a fun and exciting outdoor spring event. We want to make sure we’re delivering!”
Tickets for the April 30 races went on sale Feb. 7 and can be purchased online at www.foxfieldraces.com. Racegoers also can select their parking spaces through the website along with other add-ons, according to the news release.
A portion of ticket sales will go to Camp Holiday Trails, a local nonprofit that hosts a camp for children with medical needs. The organization is currently raising money to renovate and expand their facilities as part of a 50th anniversary campaign.
“Camp Holiday Trails provides amazing support to children with diagnoses ranging from cancer, asthma, and diabetes to epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, and others,” Cox said in the news release. “Children throughout the Mid-Atlantic region benefit from [the camp’s] in-person programs and facility and traveling Pop-Up Camps. Our goal is to provide financial support so more children can experience Camp Holiday Trails and help improve [the camp’s] facilities to meet the needs of their campers.”