Wintethur’s Point-to-Point will look a lot different this year, according to veteran organizer Jill Abbott.
“We’re going back to how it started,” she said, with a smaller crowd picnicking on blankets as they watch horses race.
The impetus came from social distancing restrictions imposed to control the pandemic.
The steeplechase normally draws 16,000 to 18,000 decked out in their finest outfits and enjoying some impressive tailgating, but the 43rd annual event on May 30 will max out at 3,600.
There will be no general admission tickets. And there will be no carriage parade (the carriages will be at the Devon Horse Show & Country Fair in Pennsylvania), no marketplace and no corporate tents.
Patrons with lifetime rights (meaning that they’ve made a $500 donation to Winterthur for the rights) can buy parking spaces for $375 to $600, depending on their location on the course. They will be limited to 10 people in their pod. Children of all ages count in the 10-person limit.
These patrons have until April 15 to buy a spot for this year’s event, and any remaining spots will be available to the general public starting April 16.
The general public can now get tent spaces for $900 to $1,500, depending on location and also holding up to 10 people. Winterthur supplies and erects the tents.
Both the parking and tent spaces will be socially distanced. Abbott, who’s worked on Point-to-Point for 23 years, said that she devoted hours to measuring the grounds and figuring out the new locations for the spaces in the north and south fields.
“All guests must bring a mask,” according to the Point-to-Point landing page. “Wearing masks is required wherever it is difficult to maintain a safe social distance of 6 feet from people who are not from your household. … The best face cover will win our MASKerade contest.”
Point-to-Point is normally held in early May, but organizers this year chose to hold it Memorial Day weekend. In 2022, it will be on Mother’s Day.