The prestige of the competition, the meticulous showgrounds and the promise of a celebrity sighting will again draw thousands to the Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton next week.
The event, now in its 43rd year, is expected to draw 60,000 people and 1,600 horses to the Snake Hollow Road event grounds for 200 show classes over eight days. It kicks off Sunday at the 60-acre showgrounds starting at 8 a.m. and runs through Sept. 2.
“Not only do you have the best horses and riders that our sport has to offer, but we have a lot of celebrities that come and attend,” said event spokesman Marty Bauman, adding that Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Sofia Vergara have been among attendees in recent years. “When you combine all those things, it’s like electricity.” Springsteen's daughter has been a Hampton Classic competitor.
At-risk dogs, cats and horses will be available for adoption at the event during the classic's adoption & animal welfare day Monday. Georgina Bloomberg, the daughter of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will sponsor the adoption event. She will also compete with top riders from Ireland, elsewhere in Europe and South America.
The 13th annual Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities also is held Monday. The day begins with a breakfast when rider and Olympic gold medalist Peter Wylde will distribute ribbons to participants, Bauman said.
Saturday is designated Kids’ Day, presented by News12. Children younger than 12 get free admission that day and receive a pony ride and gift. Livestock, face painting and musical activities are on the itinerary and a play area is available.
The jumping competition culminates Sept. 2 with the marquee event, the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix CSI presented by Douglas Elliman.
For those who’d rather shop than watch the show, more than 70 boutiques and food vendors will be set up, Bauman noted.
“You can buy everything from a Hampton Classic T-shirt to a Land Rover,” he said.
As for attire, Bauman said the Hampton Classic has no formal dress code and spectators attend wearing everything from t-shirts to designer gowns. He did, however, offer one caveat.
“Don’t wear spiked heels,” he said. “You’re mostly walking on grass.”
Admission ranges from $10 per person to $20 per carload. Children under 6 attend for free. For tickets and the full itinerary, visit hamptonclassic.com.