Opening Weekend Insider Roundup

Happy opening day!

Well folks it’s finally here: The 2011 racing season at the Saratoga Race Course. Your weekend starts Friday, opening day of the track and all weekend long local businesses are overflowing with racing-themed events and promotions. Researching what’s on for the weekend of July 22 was slightly overwhelming, but I’ve narrowed it down to what (in my humble opinion) seem like the most exciting and give you the best bang for your buck.

Of course, the place to be this weekend is 267 Union Avenue at the track, but in between racing there are plenty of other unique and fun events happening after hours in the area.

This weekend we’ve got everything to a barely-there fashion show to all of the events going on through the Hats Off to Saratoga festival. Enjoy and please, remember to drink water to stay safe and avoid that opening weekend hangover especially in this crazy heat wave we’ve been having here in Saratoga. And they’re off!


Join the crowd and drag your cooler down to the track on opening day (or any other day)
  •  Saratoga Race Course Opening Day. Join the thousands of racing fans that will come to the track this Friday to celebrate the official start of the 2011 racing season. The excitement is building and this Friday patrons will be smiling and ready to celebrate opening weekend. Fans will finally be able to get a first look at many of the changes that NYRA instituted this year at the SRC. Join the fun at the only place to be this Friday. Saratoga Race Course, 267 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs. All weekend. Gates open at 11 a.m. Post time at 1 p.m. (584-7064 www.saratogaracecourse.com). $3 Grandstand Admission. Children under 12 FREE. 
Start your opening day after-party at The Post
  • Smokin’ Summer Series featuring MIRK. Too tired from the heat and a day’s worth of drinking at the track? You don’t have to go all the way to Caroline to continue the festivities. Capital Region funk and soul band MIRK is kicking off the 2011 race season with live music at The Post (between the paddock and gate C). Refuel and grab dinner at Blue Smoke or the Shake Shake, both located right by The Post, while you’re at it. Dance the night away and ring in racing season right! Saratoga Race Course, 267 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs. Friday. 5 p.m. (584-7064 www.saratogaracecourse.com). $3 Grandstand Admission. Children under 12 FREE.
Unwind with wine and live music after the races at Saratoga Winery.
  • Track Season Kickoff Event. Saratoga Winery is celebrating the start of this year’s thoroughbred racing season with live music, food and hand-crafted wines. Check out the rock-n-roll stylings of Skyler’s Dream Team and feast on wood-fired pizza while you lounge back in an Adirondack-style chair this opening night. Apparently “wine smoothies” will be available – I’m intrigued! The Saratoga Winery & Tasting Room. 462 Route 29 West, Saratoga Springs. Friday, July 22. 6-9 p.m. (584-9463 www.thesaratogawinery.com). FREE cover.
Sip cocktails and check out a barely there fashion show at Duo.
  • Cocktails & Corsets. Fiat Feminae lingerie boutique owner Lisa Alden is hosting a special sneak preview party at Duo this Friday. The store at 489 Broadway will be open for regular business hours to preview Fiat Feminae’s exclusive European lingerie collections. Later on, the seduction continues at Duo Lounge for another sneak peak event (Fiat Feminae opens for regular business on August 5). After a one-hour cocktail party, guests can enjoy live DJ entertainment and a fashion show featuring models wearing Fiat Feminae’s luxurious collections. Sounds like a scandalously good time. Duo Lounge, 175 South Broadway, Saratoga Springs. Friday, July 22. 9 p.m. (728-8133). FREE cover. 
Grab your girls for Fillies night at the Paddock
  • Friday Night Ladies Night. Friday is officially ladies night at the Paddock Lounge on Caroline. The night feature Hypnotiq Harmonie drink specials, live entertainment with Crush 105.7 and Sanctuary Spa giveaways. The Paddock Lounge, 6 Caroline Street, Saratoga Springs. Friday, July 22. 5 p.m. until close. (330-2426 www.paddockloungesaratoga.com). FREE cover.
Tip your hat to Saratoga
  • Hats Off Festival. Salute Saratoga with an opening weekend tradition at the Hats Off Music Festival and the general Hats Off Festival. The events are bountiful this season and it all begins with the HO Music Fest. Some highlights: Soul Session at Ellsworth Jones Place near the City Center, rock/pop 60’s-inspired band Joe’s Boys at the Collamer Parking Lot and crowd favorite Rich Ortiz at the Adirondack Trust Co. Drive-Through. For times and more details visit the website below. In addition to music the HO will feature their annual Saratoga Hat Contest at the track to wrap up the festival on Sunday. Prizes go to 3 categories: Uniquely Saratoga, Fashionably Saratoga and Kreative Kids. Around Broadway/Saratoga Springs. Friday, July 22 until Sunday, July 24. (584-3255 http://www.saratoga.org/visitors/hats-off-music-festival.asp). FREE.

Enjoy a cool concert with Reel Big Fish in Clifton Park
  • Streetlight Manifesto & Reel Big Fish. Get down to Northern Lights in Clifton Park this Saturday for what is bound to be an unbelievable night of world class alt-rock and folk beats. Great bands, great music, great venue. Enough said. Northern Lights, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park. Saturday, July 23. 7 p.m. (371-0012 www.northerlightlive.com). $20 advance, $23 day of.
Attend a gala for a good cause
  • Light Up the Night Gala. The Saratoga National Golf Club presents its annual benefit to support the department of medicine at Albany Medical Center. Tickets include gourmet cuisine, champagne and specialty drinks. There will also be live music by the New York Players and a grand fireworks display to light  up the night in Saratoga. Saratoga National Golf Club, 458 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs. Saturday, July 23. 7:30 p.m. (262-8892 www.amc.edu/foundation/event/light_up_night.html). $150 per person.

Unleash your inner flower child at a Yaddo Garden tour
  • Yaddo Garden Tour. Check out Saratoga’s most luscious gardens at Yaddo with a complete one-hour tour. You’ll learn the history of the Trask family an the Yaddo Artists Retreat. A fun, interesting way to learn more about Saratoga’s best kept secret. Yaddo Gardens, Union Avenue, Route 9P, Saratoga Springs. Sunday, July 24. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. (584-0746 www.yaddo.org/yaddo/YGhome.asp). $5 per person. 
Check out the final season of the Festival of Baroque Music in Saratoga before it's gone
  • 52nd Annual and Final Season: Festival of Baroque Music. The Baroque Festival is the country's longest running early music festival and will conclude its 52 years in Saratoga this weekend. This Sunday, get down to The Studio in Greenfield Center to enjoy works by classical artists like Bach, Scarlatti and Vivaldi. There will also be a champagne toast and hall dedication with the festival founder. The special guest this year is harpsichordist Kenneth Slowik of the Smithsonian Institute. The Studio, 165 Wilton Road, Greenfield Center. Sunday, July 24. 4-7 p.m. (893-6062). $24 adult/$14 senior/$10 student/FREE 12 and under.


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