Saturday, September 28, 2013

All The News That's Fit to Tell

Dear Friends and Supporters of The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International:

As the old song goes, "Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few" and only three weeks remain before the start of The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International. Before we get completely caught up in our 24-7 preparations we thought this would be a good time to catch you up on what's new, and what's familiar, about this year's renewal.

Title Sponsor
First and foremost, you have probably noticed the new title of our event - The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International. After six years of title sponsorship, our friends at Dansko have decided to reduce their involvement to that of a Gold Sponsor and we are pleased to introduce our new Title Sponsor, The Dutta Corporation, a leading international horse transportation company that has recently been named the Official Shipper for the United States Eventing Team.

 As always, highlighting this year's competition schedule are the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) CCI*** and CCI** Fall Eventing Championships. These Championships regularly attract many of the world's top Eventing horses and riders such as Olympians Boyd Martin, Phillip Dutton, and Buck Davidson. In addition to a healthy cash award, not to mention the prestige of winning one of the nation's few CCI*** competitions, the winner of this year's Three-Star Championship will receive a special gift as The Dutta Corp has generously donated free transportation for the winning horse-rider combination to any Three-Star event in the world!

Twenty-Five Year Anniversary
This is a very special year as it marks the 25th time the CCI*** will be run on the magnificent Fair Hill property. "It's hard to believe that we have reached our 25th year and we take great pride in knowing that our event has achieved national and international acclaim," said Trish Gilbert, one of the founders and current Co-President of the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International. "We thank all our volunteers, committee members, riders, owners, sponsors and spectators for their contributions in making this event what it is today." As a special anniversary gift to our customers, there will be no admission charge on Thursday, and our souvenir program will be distributed to all attendees throughout the week, free of charge.

Young Event Horse Championships
Also returning are the USEA Young Event Horse Championships on Thursday and Friday, October 17-18. The Young Event Horse Championships feature young horses (ages 4 and 5) competing in three sections: Conformation & Type, Dressage Test, and Jumping Test/Gallop/General Impression. A sort of equestrian talent search, the Young Event Horse classes focus on the education and preparation of the event horse in a correct and progressive manner.

Future Event Horse Championship
Joining the Young Event Horse Championships is a new "Future Event Horse" Championship. This USEA competition focuses on yearlings, two-year-olds and three-year-olds, judging the potential they have to become a successful upper level event horse. The championship will take place on Wednesday morning, October 16, and will feature horses shown in hand.

Back by popular demand are the tailgating spaces that will be set up along the galloping lanes during Saturday's cross county phase. The tailgating spots, at one of three separate locations, are available for $250 each. Each spot includes 6 admission tickets and provides an intimate view of the cross country course. An expanded area features hill-top spots near the start/finish line overlooking the water jumps.

PRO Riders
Our event is once again part of the Professional Riders' Organization PRO Tour Series. PRO is dedicated to improving the standards of competition and promoting safety while working to attract new fans, sponsors and participants to the sport of Eventing. Last year a group of PRO riders participated in a bareback riding competition, jumping a modified jump course in the Main Arena between the Two-Star and Three-Star stadium jumping phases. It was extremely popular with the crowd and will be back again this year.

Family Fun
In addition to the equestrian competition there will be a series of acts and demonstrations that will appeal to people of all ages.
* Falconry - Master Falconer Mike Dupuy brings his audience up close and personal while he and his fierce-looking hawks provide an unforgettable educational experience.
* Kids' Corner - Returns this year, offering a variety of activities for the younger set.  Last year we introduced the Scheeler Seed corn box which proved to be an instant hit. It's much more fun than a sand box . . . . and neater too!
* Miniature Horses will be available on both Saturday and Sunday, to greet old friends and to make new ones.
* Jumping Mules - Coon hunting mules demonstrate their unique fence jumping technique from a flat-footed start at noon on Friday, in the Main Arena, during the Dressage lunch break.
* Chincoteague Pony Drill Team will perform several times during the weekend.   Drill work is choreographed movements on horseback set to music. During her lifetime, Misty II was a member of the Drill Team, and was the only one of Misty's eight grandfoals to be part of this special activity.
* Dog Agility - The popular dog agility demonstrations return this year with some new and exciting opportunities for dog owners. Want to see what agility is all about, and see if your dog has what it takes to compete? Join The Academy of Dog Training from Newark, DE, for agility demonstrations and free mini lessons for beginners and more experienced agility dogs alike on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
* Silly Goose and Val - On Saturday, our younger attendees will be entertained by the magical puppets who made such a big hit last year. They will perform twice during the day near the Food Court and will feature sing-along, dance-along, and play-along songs.
* Dixieland Music - Sunday's culminating day will feature The Riverside Carnival Band, a strolling Dixieland group to add to the festive atmosphere, as well as the return of the event's "Classic Car" display (weather permitting).          
* Country Shoppes - They will be open Friday through Sunday and will feature vendors selling tack, jewelry, artwork, pet needs, exceptional apparel and fine gifts for the approaching holiday seasons. A new, separate section for smaller vendors and non-profit organizations will be included on Saturday and Sunday.
* Food Court - A broad variety of food vendors will be available on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and, as usual, Buck's Pub will dispense its popular Crab Cakes and Bisque from Wednesday on.

It is not too late to volunteer!  If you would like to, and haven't already done so, please follow this link to our Volunteer form:

If you'd like to volunteer ahead of the Event or afterwards, there are plenty of opportunities to do so, especially in the two weeks before and the two days after.

Cross-country - Contact Judy
Oct 5 & 6:  Galloping lanes (putting in step-in posts & roping)  9-4, ½ day fine.
Oct 9, 10, 11:  Decorating.  Contact Judy by email to check time
Oct 12 & 13:  Decorating.  9-4.
Oct 21, 22:  Clean up.  9-4

Other Areas - Contact Joan or go to the website and add some comments to the volunteer form.

Last but not least we want to tell you about the FHI Raffle that's beginning to develop a lot of buzz in the community. Our original plan to start with a series of weekly drawings during the summer and finish with the Grand Prize of $5,000 at the Three-Day in October has been changed, but only in form and not in substance.

Because of slow early sales, we have decided to reverse the order of drawings - we will still award the Grand Prize of $5,000 on October 20 (final day of The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International) and then we will follow with weekly drawings from late October until just before Christmas. We feel we will have more success selling raffle tickets in the week of the Festival when most of our supporters are on the grounds.

There is still time to buy your tickets and participate in 100% of the drawings. Remember, a maximum of only 500 tickets will be sold. If you're so inclined, you can share the risk by dividing the cost of a ticket with a friend. And if you're looking for that unique Christmas gift for the man who has everything, why not buy him a raffle ticket?

Don't forget the most intriguing aspect of this raffle - every time a winning ticket is drawn (even the $5,000 Grand Prize) the winnings are paid to the lucky owner and his or her ticket is put back into the pot, where it can be drawn again and again. If ever there was a "gift that keeps on giving" this is it!

[Please note: If we haven't sold enough tickets to cover our costs by Sunday, October 20, 2013, the Raffle will be cancelled and all proceeds will be returned to the buyers.]

So that's an idea of what's going to happen at Fair Hill on October 16 - 20, 2013. We hope you'll take some time from your busy duties to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy some of the events. Lest we forget - we couldn't do it without you.

Best regards,

Charlie Colgan
Executive Director

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Would You Believe?

Would you believe that in four weeks we will be looking back at the day, the 25th running of cross country day at the Fair Hill International three day event?  FOUR WEEKS, guys.  It's crunch time, and we've got lots of crunching to do.

Would you believe there are people at your local vet office, your local day care, your local Starbucks, your local library, your local New Bolton Center, your local stable, your local mom group, your local bingo group, your local church who don't know about Fair Hill?  Would you believe that YOU CAN HELP FIX THIS?!

If you are local-ish, and you can swing by the office (378 Fair Hill Drive Elkton, MD  21921) to pick up some beautiful posters with event details, and can hang said beautiful posters at your local church, day care, Starbucks, vets office, etc - WE NEED YOU.  Come get some posters.  Hang em up.  Tell your friends about Fair Hill!  (And then, you know, be nice and take them down after FHI is done).

Would you believe that it's pouring rain here tonight?  Of course you would believe that.  It's Fair Hill.  We're going to be crossing our fingers and hoping that the weather is picture-perfect for the event.  But just in case, Frank has been busy filling sand bags to have at the ready for the stabling tent, so we don't flood the stalls of our equine friends.  I'd post a picture of Frank filling sand bags, but would you believe that somehow he has been too busy filling sand bags to stop and take a picture of himself filling sand bags?

Would you believe that after 24 runnings of this event, in generally the same location, with more and more cars and traffic each year, and with yellow signs peppering the entire stretch of Rt 273 between Gallaher Road and Rt 213...  Would you believe that there are STILL neighbors of Fair Hill who have never attended?  Who have no idea what we are all about?  Who have no idea what fun they are missing?  Would you believe that there are people in Cecil County who have never heard about Fair Hill?  Would you believe that there are college students right down the road at the University of Delaware who have no idea they could come tailgate, drink beer, and watch horses on cross country Saturday?  Would you believe there are people right over the state line in Pennsylvania, people in my own MOMS Club, whom I remind EVERY YEAR of this event, who have still never attended?  Who have still not come even though ALL THEIR KIDS GET IN FREE?

So what are we gonna do about this?  It's our 25th Anniversary.  We want to celebrate with old friends, and invite new friends to see how fantastic this event really is.  And to do that we need to spread the word.

Would you believe that we have 1,593 friends on Facebook?  That's 1,593 of you who already help us spread the word.  With every "like" and "share" and "comment" you spread a little piece of Fair Hill.  And with every post we gain a few new friends.  And a few more.  And a few more.  Now, we have no aspirations of reaching the very lofty mark of 44,565 friends, currently held by Rolex.  But surely, with your help, we can reach out and touch some 2,000 friends on our Facebook page before the start of the jog on October 16.  Think we can do it?

Would you believe that we found a fantastic new home for a great advertising board on Rt 1 in Maryland, just north of Rising Sun?  Thanks to the kind folks at Ag Industrial, lots of eyeballs are seeing this sign every day as they drive past:

Would you believe there are artists in the Newark area who don't know we have a Country Shops tent?  Would you believe there are families who don't know that right down the road from them is a fun event for the entire family?  Here's what we did last weekend to try to spread the word a bit, at Newark Community Day:

We need some more ideas.  We need some more help.  We need YOU to help US tell all our friends about Fair Hill.  Tell us how we can do it.  Help us make this 25th Anniversary the very best FHI yet.