All eyes may be on the U.S. Open in Southampton this weekend, but thousands will travel there in late summer for the annual Hampton Classic horse show.
The premier jumper/hunter event runs from Aug. 23 through Sept. 2, hosting at least 120 competitions throughout the eight-day show. The 43rd annual event in Bridgehampton features approximately 1,600 horses, a Grand Prix finale with a cash payout of $300,000 and a host of celebrities.
“It’s a spectacular event,” Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said. “It is, in many ways, to the equestrian community what the U.S. Open is to the golf community.”
In the past, Jimmy Fallon, Jennifer Lopez, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Brook Shields and Billy Joel have attended the star-studded affair.
Along with celebrity sightings, attendees can adopt cats, dogs and even horses on Monday at the 7th annual Adoption Day. The Equus Foundation is taking the lead on helping to coordinate the equine portion of the event and will manage a network of organizations providing adoptable horses.
Georgina Bloomberg, the daughter of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will sponsor the adoption event along with her company Gotham North Ent. She will also compete next to other top riders from Ireland, South America and Europe.
Town officials expect a boost in restaurant and retail sales from the horse show that draws 50,000 to 65,000 spectators annually.
The Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities, a major highlight of the Hampton Classic, will hold its 13th annual finals competition.
Children can take part in the festivities on Sept. 1, which is Kids Day. Children under 12 are admitted free and can enjoy free pony rides, magicians and petting areas featuring goats and pigs.
“You can come to the Hampton Classic and have a great day even if you don’t see one horse jump,” said event spokesman Marty Bauman.
Admission ranges from $10 per person to $20 per carload. Children under 6 attend for free. For tickets and the full itinerary, visit www.hamptonclassic.com.