Doing the Durban July in style

2019-06-26 06:01

JULY fever will take hold next month as Durban’s Greyville racecourse welcomes over 60 000 people to the 123rd edition of the greatest fixture on the racing and social calendar – the Vodacom Durban July (VDJ).

Primping and planning at the various venues at the track is well underway, with numerous options ranging from trackside all-fall-down parties to lavish lounges now on offer to punters ready to enjoy the Stars of Africa theme, which guides all the fashion, hospitality and décor elements on the day.

The rush for the golden ticket to the best experience at this fashion and entertainment extravaganza is officially on as track tickets go on sale and sought-after spots at hospitality venues get snapped up.

Companies and social racegoers looking for private totes and bathrooms, full catering, a complimentary bar, waiter service, plasma screens and the best views to enhance the experience can pay between R3 000 and R5 000 per head for various hospitality options, with arguably the best being on the grandstand side.

Local racing and entertainment doyenne Sharon Saunders passed her passion for the races on to her sons, Neil and Chris Theron, who say her fervour for creating the ultimate race day experience is the reason they will again be entertaining 1 000 guests in lavish style at the family-run OneStop Hospitality lounge.

Theron says the July has changed considerably over the last five to ten years: “We’ve seen the crowd burgeon to record numbers as it has grown from just a few marquees and picnic sites to a heaving tent town in the central area – with the sponsorship of major party tents such as Heineken BoomTown having a huge impact. The focus has really shifted to entertainment, fashion and social aspects. While betting is still a big part of it, I think many partygoers on the day may not even see a horse!”

Other hospitality options on the track side include glass-fronted marquees the Pegasus Lounge Trackside and Beluga. The Glenlivet Jazz town in partnership with Mzansi Magic this year offers guests an opulent marquee with live jazz entertainment in the field area. And of course, Heineken BoomTown offers live bands and a major party on the grass. Visitors can also enjoy the catering on offer from a fleet of trendy food trucks at the new lifestyle village close to the Action Stage.

And Theron’s advice to potential punters? “Know what you want out of the day and book in advance!”

— Supplied.

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