What’s New at the Block House
Published 8:00 am Friday, April 1, 2016
The 70th running of the Block House Steeplechase Races on May 7 at FENCE will bring with it all the traditions that have been part of our area since 1947. But the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club is also taking its race meet to a new level with additions like easier online reservations, new options for cooling off, more on-site dining and drink choices, new Block House merchandise, and – finally! – a chance for the men to be rewarded for their fashion courage. Read on!
Ease of Reservations. TR&HC’s new and improved online sales platform makes reserving your parking spot(s) quick and easy by showing up-to-the-minute location availability. No more trying to get through on a busy phone line, just go to www.BlockHouseRaces.com. You’ll even print out your own parking pass so no waiting for the mail.
Personal Shade. With the race date being moved from April to May a few years ago, it can be a little warmer. So for the first time, white canopy tents will be allowed everywhere except a minimum 14 feet from the track rail. Restrictions are: 10 feet by 10 feet width, white tops only (no enclosed sides), maximum 6-foot-2-inch height; tents must be staked down for security. Sources include Sears, Target and Amazon.com for purchase of complete canopies or white replacement tops, or Classic Event Rental in Asheville (classiceventrental.com).
Hospitality. Leave your coolers and picnic baskets at home and get great food and drink onsite. The award-winning Highland Brewing Company of Asheville will have three locations in the infield area, accompanied by food trucks from Table 301 caterers of Greenville, who will offer a variety of different foodie cuisines from sliders to Baja tacos to traditional Southern picnic fare. And you can still enter the tailgate contest – it’s always been judged on décor, not food.
New Block House Merchandise. Start or expand your Block House collection with new logo’d soft-sided coolers, tumblers, umbrellas, visors, two designs of long and short sleeve tees, and more. There will be two Block House merchandise tents, one near Vendor Row and the other at the base of the race tower.
Expanded Vendor Row. Shop before and between the races at a vendor row that’s doubled in size and will have a wide selection of fun things to buy, including clothes, jewelry, crafts and art.
Eight-passenger golf carts will shuttle race-goers back and forth from pasture parking to the infield.
Mint Julep Tent. Tables are reserved for Box Holders and Race Sponsors only. For information on how you can become a Box Holder, please contact email@example.com. The Mint Julep Tent will feature live music by acoustic duo Lake&Moore, white tablecloth-draped tables, floral centerpieces, open bar, separate restrooms, and a private lawn area leading to the rail. Catered buffet from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tickets for entry are exchanged for wristbands at the tent entrance, allowing patrons to come and go all day.
Race Tower Tent. NEW! This hospitality tent is exclusively for Block House officials and volunteers – the people who make the Block House Steeplechase run smoothly on race day. This freestanding, white peaked tent will be centrally located in the infield at the base of the Race Tower, and will feature a catered lunch and beverages, white tablecloth-draped tables, and floral centerpieces. Tickets for entry will be exchanged for wristbands at the tent entrance so volunteers and officials may come and go all day.
Backstretch Banners. Brand new this year, race-goers can show support for the Block House with their own banner displaying a farm, family, non-profit or company name, hung along the backstretch rail for great visibility. TR&HC can have a banner made for you or you can use an existing one. The fee is $200 and a portion goes toward maintenance of the track and race tower at FENCE. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Great GTH Pants Contest – OK, men have always been able to enter the hat contest but it’s really always been about the fancy lady hats, hasn’t it? Now, race-going men of style are being rewarded with their own “Go-To-Hell” pants contest. We didn’t make that name up, it’s an official category of sartorial splendor that includes those bright colors, loud plaids, and lobsters, ducks, or otherwise adorned slacks frequently seen around golf courses, sailboats and other preppy locales. The story goes that the pants first became popular in the 1950s as a rebellion against the staid grey/black/navy suits that young men had to wear to the office. So on their leisure time they were going to wear whatever outlandish pants they wanted to and whoever didn’t like it could just “go to…” well, you know. So gentlemen, slip on a pair and unleash your wild side. (To learn how to wear them well and find out which U.S. president was a fan, go to www.gentlemansgazette.com/go-to-hell-pants.)