It’s Steeplechase week!
What is Steeplechase, you ask? The Iroquois Steeplechase has been a Nashville tradition for 74 years. Held on the second Saturday of May each year at Percy Warner Park, this spring race attracts nearly 25,000 spectators and the crème de la crème of Southern society. Benefitting Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, this event has generated almost $10 million since 1981.
If you don’t know what to expect, you may be up a creek once you arrive on the day of Steeplechase. But, as a fellow Steeplechaser, I’ve pulled together my top 10 tips for surviving Saturday at the Iroquois Steeplechase.
- Dress to the 10s. Many ladies (and gentlemen) have been prepping their Steeplechase outfit for months. Generally, ladies wear dresses; guys can be seen sporting dress pants and a nice shirt. Common brands spotted: Lilly Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines and Ralph Lauren.
- Do not wear heels. If you do, make sure they’re wedges. There’s nothing worse than sinking your heels into the grass. Bring comfy flip flops as a back-up. After a few hours, you’ll be thankful you packed these.
- Wear a “Derby” hat. Wearing a hat is believed to bring good luck. There are no rules or limits to the hats you’ll find at Steeplechase. Following the trend of the British royals, in recent years ladies at Steeplechase have been sporting the headband style derby hat, complete with feathers. This is my preference.
- Wear sunscreen. Despite a deceiving partly cloudy forecast, slather on the sunscreen. You are there all day, and the amount of sun exposure sneaks up on you.
- Bring toilet paper. The lines for the port-a-potty are outrageous. Once you make it through the line, you’ll be thankful to have your treasured toilet paper when you find yourself in a paperless stall. A small bottle of hand sanitizer might come in handy, too.
- Water. You can bring your own coolers to Steeplechase. Make sure this cooler contains a lot of H2O.
- Yard games. These are a great idea! What better way to liven up your tailgate before the races begin than with rounds of corn hole toss.
- Food. One of the greatest traditions of Steeplechase is tailgating. Rally up your friends and divvy up the food responsibilities. There are no vendors in the tailgating section, so you want to be prepared with food and sustenance all day.
- Arrive early. The traffic entering Percy Warner Park is overwhelming. If you don’t have a tailgating pass, you’ll need to park in the general parking and take a bus to the entrance.
- Have a good attitude, and go with the flow. With 25,000 people, it can be a bit chaotic. If you go with the flow, smile and appreciate the history of this event, you will leave with a great Nashville experience under your belt!