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Hoof around the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY - If you are looking for a fun event for the family to enjoy the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival is happening now until Aug. 11. There are opportunities to be awed by the jumps and strides from horses and riders from all different levels.

Gary Howe, marketing and communications manager at Traverse City Horse Shows, says, “I think taking in that this is right in our backyard in Northern Michigan, that we have 12 weeks of Olympic-level competition. We get riders from around the around the world representing about 25 countries in 2023, and we expect that to be matched this year. So the Olympics will happen in Paris in what ended July into August. That impacts us a little bit because a lot of our top riders are going to be busy. They’re going to be in Europe and in Paris. We so we look forward to watching them on TV. But at the same time, we also hope that they come here in the fall.”

Even though they are missing some Olympians, there is still much to take in.

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Howe said, “Here we when people come the you know, if shopping’s your thing, there’s vendors row, it’s not all equestrian, there’s just some lifestyle, a lot of clothing, some jewelry, things of that. Nature keeps people busy and then just relaxing. So relaxing in the beverage tent or even in a VIP club that we have.”

The new VIP Club offers open views of the Grand Prix Ring, and give guests an option to stay in the shade to enjoy a beverage. There are also options for the whole family to enjoy.

Howe says, “It is very family-friendly, whether it’s ice cream from the concessions and the horses. Kids jump for that. We can see over here on our right and just hopefully introducing them to something unique and special and a little bit inspiring.”

If this is your first time you will not only be introduced to the sport but possibly also to the riders.

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Howe explains, “There any opportunities for riders to get to connect with the you know, we do have occasionally we’ll have autograph signatures, you know, after the ring. But we also it’s very open and relaxed here. So there’s a lot of intermingling going on. So we just encourage people to come out, take it in. If you end up with a favorite rider and horse, you know, going and do it yourself.”

Every week the ticketed event has a chosen nonprofit where the revenue goes towards a charity. This week proceeds will go to Dolly Parton’s Imagine Library.

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