The Queen’s Cup: an enchanting affair

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There are arguably no events in Charlotte more romantic than The Queen’s Cup.

Held in late April, the atmosphere of the annual affair is synonymous with the blooming earth as Mother Nature’s spring fever lulls the world into glassy-eyed adorations. This amorous season pairs perfectly with the pastoral setting of the Brooklandwood Race Track to materialize the identity of the social happening as mysterious, succulent and rich with possibility. Like being swept into the pages of a Jane Austen novel, race-goers are tumbled into an unparalleled day of courtship by the equestrian world that blurs the line between past and present, between pageantry and sport, between enchantment and reality. Such a perfect trifecta of magic, mood and milieu, makes it easy to fall in love at the Steeplechase.

One of the most remarkable aspects of attending the Steeplechase is the variety of ways in which one is able to enjoy their day. Strolling across the sprawling lawns, arm in arm with a pleasant companion, the fun of people watching begins to rival the spectacle of the race itself. To most, coming to the Steeplechase means planning your outfit as thoroughly as one plans their picnic. The colors, textures and inventive couture seen through the day not only deepen the sensation of having taken a jaunt back in time, they also provide endless morsels of eye catching intrigue and conversations fodder.

Not to be outdone by the vestments, hats, like at the Kentucky Derby, are the center of focus for those who are fashionably inclined. Nearly every lady and some gentleman display their grand plumage like peacocks, strutting complex creations of millenary architecture across the grass. The hat contest, equal parts fashions show, art gallery and fantasmic parade, reveals participants who worked diligently for up to six months planning their headwear. From homemade model scales of the Queen’s Cup itself, complete with moving parts and robotic horses, to elegant fascinators, there are few bounds to the imagination brought-to-life among the entries.

In keeping with the theme of indulgence, the Steeplechase does not disappoint with its food fare. Most lawn-sitters provide their own collation; toting charming picnic baskets brimming with good bourbon, tea sandwiches, and plethoras of other fodder to nosh through the day.

Lovers chat idly while sharing a blanket, drink in hand, leaning lazily on one another, and simply relishing in the time well spent.

Those in white-topped tents that ring the track in an encampment of mobile finery enjoy complex cocktails to taste, and an unencumbered position along the fence line. Bow ties, straw fedoras, spit-shined shoes and wedged heels are rarely seen intermingling with dirt roads, but the magic of the Steeplechase transforms the sweet, ripe bloom of this country farm land into the scene of a Tolstoy Lover’s Lane. Pomp and circumstance become the garments of attendance.

Finally, the true eros of the day unfurl, and what could easily be mistaken for the earth shivering, brings a storming cloud of hooves, dirt clods, riding crops and jockey tack that blurs the senses and thrills the hearts of onlookers, leaving behind a palpable fog of sportsmanship, ambition, desire and skill. The steeplechase impresses it’s true stateliness upon all as the squad of world class horses and riders exhibit their fearsome skill powerful athleticism. In the end, only one duo will stand in the winner’s circle to be crowned a champion today; nevertheless, the lovers and the dreamer and the willingly enchanted can all be counted as champions in the fairy tale that is The Queen’s Cup.

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Emily Macchiavello
Emily has always had a passion for words. Although her career is in teaching, writing has never been far from her heart.
Emily is a mother of three who loves travel, fashion, yoga and generally making the most of what life has to offer. She finds happiness in raising her family in Charlotte, and takes pride in being a part of this friendly community.
Emily teaches English and Spanish at a K-8 Charter school in Charlotte, and holds a B.S in English Education and a M.A in Literature.