Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Back For The Summer In Northern Michigan

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival kicked off Wednesday at the Flintfields Horse Park in Williamsburg.

It’s an event that brings in thousands of competitors, horses, and spectators.

The six weeks of grueling competition tests riders from all over the country.

9&10’s Whitney Amann has more on why competitors say this location is so unique.

Thousands of people from across the world compete in equestrian shows throughout the year, but some are making a special stop in Northern Michigan this summer.

“It’s kind of like a work vacation instead of just coming here to work and compete,” said Catie Staszak the host and analyst for the festival as well as a competitor.

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival is back and competitors seem to love this area.

“The venue is just absolutely gorgeous,” said Staszak. “You can’t find a view and a back drop much better than this, when I’m riding around and competing sometimes I can’t help but just look up and be like wow I’m actually here in this beautiful venue.”

“The weather is definitely a huge factor and also the town,” said Jacob Pope, professional rider for Team Rakowsky. “Mondays when everyone has their day off, we go boating on the lake, it just really seems like a great place to come for the summer months.”

Restaurants appreciate the extra business the equestrian festival brings in.

“We’ve seen a really big growth in business, not necessarily at night, but really throughout the day, there’s a lot of workers coming in to come and eat and its definitely been giving us a little bit of business that we haven’t had in those off hours at lunch,” said Jacob Elsenheimer who works at Mr. C’s Pub and Grill.

You can watch the competitions all week long, but the main event takes place every Sunday with the Grand Prix.

“I hear it brings a ton of spectators from all around the world, they come here to Traverse City in the summer, I know it’s a big destination and am hoping that the place will be packed,” said Pope.

“There’s entertainment every week, we have musical performers, there’s vendors,” said Staszak.

For more information on tickets and how you could win a VIP experience, click here.

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