Tuesday, 6 November 2007

The Great Race

I've lived away from home, Melbourne that is, for over 5 years now and I get homesick often. It's hard not to. But there is probably no other time of the year that I would want to be in Melbourne more than in spring.....for the Spring Racing Carnival. Today, for the uninitiated, is Melbourne Cup Day, which is held annually on the first Tuesday of every November.

The $5.1 million Emirates Melbourne Cup is more than just a horse race - it is a 145-year old social and cultural tradition that 'stops the nation'. This spectacular event is the focal point of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

This might sound ridiculous to those who live outside Australia, but horse racing is something we take pretty seriously down under. So seriously, in fact, that Melbourne Cup Day is a public holiday in Melbourne, and 21 of the other regional cities in the state of Victoria also has a public holiday in honour of their own "Cup Day".

For girls especially, Spring Racing Carnival is a social event more than anything else. It's a chance to get dressed up (hats are almost compulsory), go out with your girlfriends and drink way too much champagne! And there are a few horses around for those that are interested...

It's the only time of the year that I actually gamble, and will allow myself to by hats. The scramble in the weeks leading up to spring racing is like nothing else, its worse than sale time. It's pretty much the only time of year you'll see hats for sale in the major department stores, and I'm sure its the only time of year our talented miliners make any money! But, as most girls I know need a different outfit for each of the major races, thats at least a few hats per year!

If the weather is good (always a gamble in Melbourne at this time of year) there is nothing more fun than getting dressed up from hat to heels and heading down to Flemington racecourse to watch the crowds, the boys make idiots of themselves, a few horses, the punters and most importantly, the 'fashions on the field'. Myer, one of Australia's oldest and largest department stores sponsors a fashion contest called "Fasions on the Field" which to the girls is more important than the horse race itself.

And for those of you who are still doubt as to how seriously Melbournians take this.....last year Emma Jane Pilkington was brought over from the US to decorate the main sponsors tent, and Carson Kreslley came to judge the contest! (Fashions on the fields that is, not the horses).

As the race is already over, ("Efficient" won if anyone is interested), I know my friends will be heading home from the racecourse, or from the home of whoever hosted this years BBQ, probably drunk, hatless, and looking a little less glam than they did this morning...but I wish I could be there with you!!

15 comments:

The Peak of Chic said...

That sounds like a lot of fun! And I adore the hats seen here!!! Esp. the ones with feathers!

{this is glamorous} said...

Sounds like a lot of fun--loved hearing a little about your hometown.

Suzy said...

POC, the hat's are amazing...those photos are from last year..if I find any from this years carnival I'll post them. Wish I was there now...

Suzy said...

TIG, if you're ever heading down to our part of the world on holiday at that time of the year, make sure you go to one of the races, its a lot of fun.

All Things Bright and Beautiful....Creative Flair Chic said...

Hey Suzy - you beat me too it!! :-)

I've been searching for some good pics from this year- but none really grab me - yours tho are lovely - esp the last one - what a gorgeous girl, hat & outfit! - Very classy!

I'll probably do a wind up after today - see what comes up at Oaks day :-).

Great to see you branching out on your blog!!! :-)

patricia gray said...

Sounds like a lot of "fashionable fun". I love an excuse to dress up and I bet the races are great too.

Suzy said...

Sorry ATBB! I'll keep checking your blog to see what you've posted as a follow up to this years Fashions on the fields!

Suzy said...

Patricia, it really is a lot of fun...I'm suprised that Canada didn't get into horse racing too, being part of the commonwealth and all. It's pretty big here in Hong Kong too, but its just not the same as back home...

Anonymous said...

My Aussie mates tell me that if you can't get a root on Oaks (Ladies') Day,
turn gay.
Kiwi Steve

Suzy said...

Yes, thanks for that charming contribution Steve. That is precisely why Oaks Day, which WAS ladies day, has now been nick-named Blokes day because of that. Precisely why I didn't marry a typical Australian guy...

All Things Bright and Beautiful....Creative Flair Chic said...

dear Suzy!

Hey no Probs!!!:-)
Ive thoroughly enjoyed this post - You have some fab pics that I havent seen !!

Still havent found the Puuurfect pics yet - even after Oaks day - oh well - they trickle their way onto the internet ;-)

Go ahead - more glam fashion & foofy hats the better I say !!! Bring it on!

And!! Spring Racing Carnival wouldn't be the same without an Aussie bloke's angle on why they really go to the races!!!! -

Sorry I have to laugh!!!!!
F :-)

Suzy said...

F - yes, it was a pretty typical comment, even if it came from a kiwi instead of an aussie - much of a muchness when it comes to men I would say...
I'll keep checking your blog for your photo updates!

Habitually Chic said...

It looks like Ascot and The Kentucky Derby all wrapped up in one! How fun! I've gone to The Belmont Stakes a few times and it's so much fun except I never got to wear a fancy feathered hat! That one is fantastic!

Me, Myself, & I said...

Sounds like a wonderful day. I am a happy person anytime I can get dressed up and wear a fun hat.

Love your blog. I hope you don't mind me adding you to my blogroll.

ALL THE BEST said...

How fun! The hats are so great. I love hats and would love to wear one for this event!