Every year from January to March, the world’s most prolific equestrians and their horses compete at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida. Situated in the southwestern region of Palm Beach County, Wellington is commonly coined the “Hamptons for horses.” From stately stables and homes to hoof-friendly trails and event arenas, Wellington real estate is centrally catered to horse enthusiasts of all ages and riding disciplines. Annually, WEF attracts approximately 6,000 competitors from across the nation and allots more than $500 million in monetary prizes. With event sponsors such as Rolex, NetJets, and Fidelity investments to name a few, the premier festival is a showcase of the best of the best in the horse world and a treat for spectators in South Florida. Here are a few general tips for those planning to attend WEF.
Held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, WEF utilizes the Van Kempen covered arena, the international arena, the national rings, and the derby field. Competition begins on Wednesday and concludes on Sunday each week. Typically, the first classes begin at 8 a.m. with continuous competition until late afternoon. A complete schedule of events, classes, sponsors, competitors, and vendors can be found via the following link: WEF 2020.
Saturday Night Lights
A highly anticipated event, Saturday Night Lights at WEF is popular for families, especially those with aspiring riders or horse crazy children. The event begins at 6 p.m. and features show jumping, kids’ carnival, face-painting, petting zoo, pony rides, street performers, food trucks, and more. Admission is free, but parking is $20 per vehicle. Alternatively, guests may park for free at the nearby Adequan Global Dressage Festival, which is located at 135000 South Shore Drive in Wellington. A complimentary shuttle will escort guests to and from the facility.
Food & Drink
Of course, concessions and food trucks are available on the premises, but many visitors prefer to take an appreave from the showgrounds and frequent a few of Wellington’s most famous food joints. These include Oasis Cafe, an intimate locale that features American-inspired dishes by Chef Efren Nicholas, craft beer, and locally-sourced menu items; Stonewood Grill and Tavern at Wellington Green, a surf-and-turf focused restaurant with a focus on fine wine; and Agliolio’s, a modern Italian establishment that features natural and organic produce and meats.
While in the area, consider catching a polo match at the International Polo Club in Palm Beach. Polo season in Palm Beach begins in January and concludes with the U.S. Polo Championship in April. An international event, the competing teams are the “NBA” of polo. Polo matches during the week are free, and patrons generally watch the match “tail-gating” style from their vehicles. The Sunday 3 p.m. championship match each week is the primary event, and socialites dress to the nines to showcase their support and Palm Beach style. Sunday polo tickets range in price from $10 for general admission to $20 for seats on the center, north, or south lawns.
On the opposite side of the stadium, guests may opt to purchase Sunday brunch tickets at the Veuve Clicquot Pavilion or the Celebrity Cruises Polo Lounge. For both stadium and brunch options, advanced tickets may be purchased via the International Palm Beach Polo Club website. For convenience and safety, the venue offers a Kids’ Zone area where young children enjoy bounce houses, games and crafts under the supervision of staff members. Following the polo match, patrons continue the fun at the “After Party,” which includes a DJ, dancing, and libations.
While visiting Wellington, if you would like to preview equestrian estates for sale, contact an NV Realty Group specialist.