America’s oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed horse show descends on the Main Line from May 22nd to June 1st, bringing some of the top competitors in the world to our area. But this equestrian event isn’t only about the horses; there are also tons of things taking place at the accompanying Country Fair, including Family Days, a hat contest, First Night at a local gallery and vendors for shopping and eating galore. Take a trip to the “country” and indulge in all the fun. – Chelsea Karnash
History: The Devon Horse Show originally began as a one-day event way back in 1896. More than a hundred years later, it’s grown to become an internationally recognized competition that draws both spectators and competitors from all over the world. Equestrian disciplines covered at Devon include Hunters, Jumpers, Hackney Horses and Ponies and Roadsters, and events run all day and into the nighttime hours. And the show also raises money for a good cause: Since 1919, its beneficiary, Bryn Mawr Hospital, has received nearly $15 million in funds.
Schedule: The gates open daily at 8 a.m. for the Horse Show and close at approximately 10 p.m. The Country Fair opens around 10 a.m. for shopping. On the first Sunday, the gates open at 11 a.m. and Horse Show classes begin at 1 p.m. On the final Sunday, the show ends at 1 p.m. For a detailed event schedule, click here.
EVENTS & TICKETS
The Devon Country Fair
For an old school treat, head to the Devon Country Fair, which runs daily during the Horse Show. With rides, games, contests, candy and a slew of food and vendors, the fair will keep you and the little ones occupied between events.
First Night at the Art Gallery at Devon
Wednesday, May 21st; 6 – 8 p.m.
$75 per person
Held the night before the Horse Show officially opens, First Night features cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, gorgeous art and the opportunity to check out some of the horses in the practice ring. Since its inception in 1999, the Art Gallery at Devon has raised more than $200,000 in sales of art to benefit the Bryn Mawr Hospital.
Thursday, May 22nd and Tuesday, May 27th
The first 150 kids get free admission to the show, courtesy of the Delaware Valley Friends School. Once inside the grounds, guests can take advantage of carnival specials on rides, food and drink and enjoy live music in the Picnic Grove on May 23rd. On the second family day, don’t miss the guided back-barn tours, happening between 3 and 6 p.m.
Wednesday, May 28th
Rock your most outrageous (or, um, “elegant,” as the website puts it) hat and be rewarded with free admission until 1 p.m. Lovely ladies can also enjoy a special lunch in the Pavilion or enter the competition for the best hat.
Grand Prix Thursday
Thursday, May 29th; 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
This is the big day, so get there early! During the Grand Prix, expect to see the best of the best jumping a course of 10-16 obstacles with heights up to 5’3” and spreads as wide as six-and-a-half feet. This event is also a qualifier for the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team, and horses must undergo a grueling year-long qualifying process just to compete.
Sunday, June 1st
Even when the races end, Children’s Day goes until 3. Enjoy free admission, the Itty Bitty Hat Parade, live music, clowns, pony rides and more. A plant sale will also start at 3 p.m.
Tickets: Single day general admission tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-12 and seniors 65 and over and FREE for kids under 2. There are also all-inclusive event passes available for $60. For more info on tickets, click here.
Directions, Parking & Lodging: The Horse Show website has a comprehensive section with suggestions on where to stay, how to get to the show and where to park once you’ve arrived. Check it out here.