BATAVIA – Ramping up the entertainment at a benefit polo tournament this weekend just west of Batavia will be a tailgating competition, Clydesdale-drawn wagon rides and characters from the Land of Oz.
The fun is set from noon to 4 p.m. July 16 to support the Batavia Arts Council and Shakespeare at the Centre, which returns with a production of “Love’s Labour’s Lost” opening July 28.
“The [costumed] characters will be strolling around interacting with the people sitting on the sidelines,” said Julane Sullivan, president of the Batavia Arts Council, and the Shakespeare show’s director.
She said everyone is invited to get into the spirit and can draw inspiration from the Judy Garland film and musicals “Wicked” and “The Wiz,” as well as the original literature.
She said it’s the perfect theme, accessible to children and adults.
“You can go any direction you want to go,” Sullivan said. “It creates a fun environment.”
The event hosts are Barbara and George Alexander, whose Blackberry Polo Club will provide plenty of equestrian action when two teams face off.
It will be a lively afternoon with families and groups invited to drive into the field area, where they are encouraged to tailgate.
A raffle will offer close to 30 gift baskets, and people can place their tickets toward a chance to win the items of their choosing.
“We have some nice prizes from businesses around town,” Sullivan said. “There’s something for everybody – [including] children … women. The Tea Tree has given us a wonderful gift basket.”
Others range from a golf basket to one brimming with items for dogs from DePaw University.
“We always have prizes for the tailgate competition,” Sullivan said. “People can decorate their area or tent or back of [their vehicle] or create a menu that is thematic.”
The winner receives “Golden Gate” bragging rights among the prizes awarded by judges.
At halftime at Blackberry Polo Field, George Alexander will offer free wagon rides, pulled by four to six “gorgeous” Clydesdales from the farm, Sullivan said.
An event committee member each year creates children’s games that are matched to the day’s theme. An ice cream truck will be on hand, and people are welcome to bring their own picnic lunch and refreshments.
The two team sponsors are Bulldog Plumbing and A Mirror Image.
If you go
WHAT: Polo tournament benefit
WHEN: Noon to 4 p.m. July 16
WHERE: Blackberry Polo Field, located on Bliss Road, a quarter mile south of Main Street, on the west side of Batavia
COST: $10 per person or $35 per carload in advance; $15 and $45, respectively, at the gate
INFO: Tickets can be bought at bataviaartscouncil.org