VIDEO: Focus on Fontwell - Let festival fun begin

AT FONTWELL Park, it is all about appealing to racing fans and getting other people to come through the gates. That’s the art, writes racecourse executive director Simon Williams.

Thursday, 1st October 2015, 7:56 am
October Festival action at Fontwell Park / Picture by Clive Bennett

And we hope to prove that tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday when we stage our only two-day race meeting of the year, our October festival.

This is our only back-to-back two-day race meeting of the year.

And with a festival in October, it doesn’t take too much of a stretch of the imagination to understand what theme might work. So we’re having our ‘Oktoberfest’ weekend.

It’s a good theme. We’re pleased that the weather is going to be pretty good, or so we’re promised, but in terms of advanced admissions, which is always a great measure, this year we are more than double where we were at this time last year.

That shows that hopefully two things have happened. We’ve built well during the year and got good exposure to our indigenous population and it’s a theme that has taken off.

It should be a good event – there’s a lot going on. We’ve gone the whole hog with a big marquee; there are German beers, German food stalls, there’s even an oompah band and if that’s your kind of music you’re going to be well catered for!

Not only that, we have a Madness tribute band and for those that want to stay that little bit later, to finish off a great day of sport, we’ll be showing the England-Australia Rugby World Cup match.

October Festival action at Fontwell Park / Picture by Clive Bennett

So, allied to two days of great racing is something for everyone and, with good weather, we think the atmopshere’s going to be special.

Themes at a racecourse like Fontwell are about adding to the day. If people are here for five, six or seven hours of the day, the racing is good, or sometimes great, but we know we can’t cater for just the racing audience.

We have to give broad appeal to as many people as possible so they come in and enjoy the racecourse.

The prize money for the racing at the festival is good, which helps attract top horses, jockeys, trainers and owners.

People can buy tickets in advance to save a bit of money, but for those who do want to wait until the day, they can pay on the gate.

Saturday could be one of our biggest crowds of the year – we forecast it will probably be the third or fourth biggest.

We have important partners over the two days.

On Friday it’s Fullers, and on Saturday we have two charities that are important to us, Rocking Horse and Rainbow, and much more about them can be seen on the day if you come along.

With all the activities we’ve got on, and the support from our partners, and a bit of support from the weather and some good racing, it should be a great racing festival.

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