Turfside Dining Room
The ponies are moving to Saturday night at Fort Erie Race Track
Saturday nights in August are about to get a lot more exciting. On August 5, Fort Erie Race Track will be making the switch from Sunday afternoons to Saturday night twilight racing. The new calendar will offer live racing every Saturday and Tuesday in August. The first race post time is 4:20 p.m. on both days, with free Tiki Bar concerts after the races featuring local Niagara bands and musicians.
“People seem to really enjoy our twilight racing,” said Tom Valiquette, chief operating and financial officer of the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium. The track introduced twilight Tuesday racing and Tiki Bar concerts in 2010. “We decided to try Saturday night twilights this season to give more people an opportunity to come out to the track to enjoy the races, and experience great live music in an idyllic setting. We are also hoping the change will put us in a better position in the simulcast market, which will help increase wagering on our live racing product.”
Fort Erie Race Track’s Farmers’ Market will also be moving to Saturdays, beginning around 3 p.m. and wrapping up when racing ends. The Tiki Bar concert series will run every live race day in August, featuring popular bands such as Split Second (Aug. 5), The Moore-Vince Band (Aug. 8), 351 Cleveland (Aug. 15) and many others.
In addition to live racing and free concerts, there are a number of exciting events that will be taking place throughout the month of August.
Saturday, Aug. 12 will be the 6th annual Circle the Course fundraiser at Fort Erie. In recent years the event was held on Labour Day weekend, but this year fans will have the opportunity to walk the track after twilight racing and enjoy a free concert at the Tiki Bar by the Madhatters.
One of the highlights will be the jockey hopper ball race, where the jockeys break from the starting gate on children’s hopper balls and race to the finish line. Luminary bags, t-shirts and glow sticks will be sold, with all proceeds donated to the Canadian Cancer Society. All Fort Erie Race Track program sales for the day will also be donated. Fans are asked to bring non-perishable food donations to help fill a horse trailer with food for Community Outreach Program Erie (COPE).
Over the past 5 years, more than $25,000 has been raised through this event, and a horse trailer has been filled each year with food donations for COPE. “We are always happy to give back and support our community where we can. This is an event that we are really proud of, and one that many of our staff and fans have become passionate about.”
Also new this year will be Ladies Night, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 19. It is the same night as Fort Erie’s filly cup races, the Andy Passero Memorial Cup, and the Molson Cup. Ladies can look forward to drink specials, prizes, and can shop the market, which will feature a number of special vendors geared towards ladies. There will be live music at the Tiki Bar between races, and a free concert by Madmen beginning around 7:30 pm.
The final twilight card of the summer will be Tuesday, August 29, before racing switches back to the 1:20 p.m. fall post time on Saturdays and Tuesdays in September.
“It’s free to get in and it’s free to park. In addition to exciting thoroughbred racing we have live music at the Tiki Bar and free concerts after the races,” continued Valiquette. “Whether you’re a horseracing enthusiast or just looking for something new and fun to do, we encourage you to come out to the races and see what Fort Erie has to offer.”
For the full racing schedule and list of upcoming events, visit FortErieRacing.com