Celebrating the Belmont Nearly Every Day

Edited from NYRA releases

From May 23 until June 7, when Belmont Park will host the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the race will be celebrated almost daily in greater New York City. There is a Belmont Festival at Chinatown; a hot dog eating contest, a street festival, and a hat contest.

"The Belmont Festival allows each community an opportunity to take part in one of the world's biggest sporting events by hosting family-oriented activities and events," said Terry Meyocks, president of the New York Racing Association.

For details on many of these events, and contact information, visit NYRA's Belmont Stakes Festival web page.

Here is a list of many of the events surrounding the race:

Friday, May 23--Breakfast at Belmont school field trip
Sunday, May 25--Belmont Festival in Chinatown (see below for details)
Monday, May 26--T-shirt giveaway at Belmont Park
Wednesday, May 28--Belmont Stakes Festival charity golf tournament
Friday, May 30-- Breakfast at Belmont school field trip
Saturday, May 31--Elmont Children's Olympics; quilt show and concert at York College
Sunday, June 1--World of horses at Belmont Park; Coke Guinness Book of World Records Checkers Event; Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest
Monday, June 2--NTRA Opal Lounge Benefit
Thursday, June 5--Jockeys visit Ronald McDonald House; Floral Park Chamber Luncheon; Belmont Ball
Friday, June 6-- Breakfast at Belmont school field trip; Horses of a Different Color Awards Breakfast; Old Bags Luncheon and Fashion Show; Broadway at Belmont; Floral Park Street Festival; Belmont Festival at Garden City including hat contest, and parade (see below for details).
Saturday, June 7--Belmont Stakes Day; Steve Cauthen, Jorge Velasquez book signing; Harlem Jazz & Music Festival at Belmont.

The Belmont Festival at Chinatown, presented by New York City Off-Track Betting (OTB), is a family-oriented festival June 1 from noon-6 p.m., complete with clowns, face painters, stilt- walkers, inflatables and a variety of family entertainment and activities for horse racing fans and fans-to-be of all ages.

The Festival kicks off at noon in Chinatown's Columbus Park with a traditional Chinese Lion Dance and will feature a large stage for musical entertainment throughout the day, including Chinese entertainers. Children can enjoy pony rides, plus a bounce house.

The Festival will also include a handicapping seminar at 12:30 p.m. so fans can get a "handle" on the 135th running of the Belmont Stakes - the third jewel of racing's Triple Crown - on Saturday, June 7, at Belmont Park. The seminar will be presented by Rick Lang, a well-known turf writer and racing analyst for New York City OTB.

"The Chinatown community is very excited to join in the Belmont Stakes Festival," said Paul Lee, chairman of the Belmont Festival at Chinatown. "We hope our festival will grow into an annual event that draws people from within our community as well as from surrounding neighborhoods."

The Belmont Festival at Garden City
Hats and horse racing, a tradition made famous at the Kentucky Derby and Saratoga Race Course, will make its way to Garden City, N.Y., for the Belmont Festival at Garden City's inaugural hat contest, set to debut on Friday, June 6, 2003.

Sponsored by Saks Fifth Avenue at Garden City and the New York Racing Association, the hat contest is a new event that will be held as part of the annual Belmont Festival at Garden City, a community wide celebration on the eve of the 135th running of the Belmont Stakes.

All creative hat crafters are invited to enter the contest and compete for various prizes. Hat contestants will show off their wares during the Belmont Festival at Garden City's parade, where celebrity judges will choose the winners.

Hat contest prizes will be awarded in three categories: Triple Crown Creative Kids (open to children under 12 who are accompanied by an adult); Stylishly Garden City for the most stylish and fashionable hats; and Whimsically Belmont for the most unusual or whimsical hats. Prizes for first, second and third place prizes will be awarded.

Judges for the hat contest include: Mrs. Sheryl Schwartz, whose husband, Barry K. Schwartz, co-founded Calvin Klein, Inc. and is chairman and chief executive officer of the New York Racing Association; Mr. Alan Tobman, general manager of Saks Fifth Avenue - Garden City; Mrs. Bronwyn Hannon, wife of State Senator Kemp Hannon; and Mrs. Eileen Cornacchia, whose husband, Joe, is a NYRA Trustee.

Pre-registration for the First Annual Belmont Festival at Garden City hat contest will take place at the Garden City Chamber of Commerce, 230 Seventh Avenue. Day of contest registration will be held at 5 p.m. (before the parade) at the Gazebo on the corner of Stewart & Hilton Avenues.

All hat contest contestants will march in the Belmont Festival at Garden City's annual parade, which steps off at 7 p.m. and heads down Seventh Street in Garden City on its way to Belmont Park. All hats will be judged before and during the festival parade. Winners will be announced immediately following the festivities.

The parade includes marching bands, antique cars and jockeys, and will culminate in an appearance by the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales. The parade will also feature children, dressed in jockey silks, pulling several horses from the "Horses of a Different Color" exhibit (currently being featured in front of the Nassau County Courthouse). After the parade reaches Belmont Park, the Belmont Festival at Garden City continues with clowns, street performers and local bands.

In addition to Saks Fifth Avenue at Garden City and the New York Racing Association, the Garden City festivities are sponsored by KeySpan Energy and the Garden City Hotel.

For more information about the First Annual Belmont Festival at Garden City Hat Contest, contact the Garden City Chamber of Commerce at (516) 746-7724.