Galway Downs Hosts Elite Equestrian Competition and Food Truck Festival
In the heart of Temecula’s wine country, Galway Downs is a hidden gem; a venue renowned by elite equestrian competitors throughout the world but virtually unknown to many living in the community it calls home. On October 30th through November 2nd, the breathtaking grounds are not only playing host to some of the most famous riders in equestrian sports, but also providing their neighbors with a perfect way to become acquainted with the center while having a great time with family and friends.
The Galway Downs International is a four-day equestrian event where over 150 horses and riders will compete at National and International levels. Though it is an annual event held at the Temecula location, Galway Downs was once in danger of losing their hosting privileges due to the venue’s questionable future. When the Smith family purchased the property out of foreclosure in 2010, Galway Downs was thriving once again and the annual International competition continued to be the center’s cornerstone event.
“We’ve been running Galway for fifteen years and, with the ownership of the property in such great hands with the Smith family, we are now spending much of our time reaching out to our local community to raise awareness of this fantastic event,” Robert Kellerhouse, Galway Downs Event Director said during a recent phone interview. “Now that we are in such a great spot, with such great owners, we are thrilled to be bringing back this annual event and we want the entire community of Temecula to know what’s going on in their backyard.”
The event’s featured competition will be the CCI3*, with horses and riders coming from across the United States, Canada and Europe to compete for money and prizes. Galway Downs is one of only four CCI3* events held annually in North America, and is the only North American CCI3* held west of the Mississippi River.
All four days will include the highest level of competition from the best riders from around the world and all four evenings will close with live music and entertainment, with a special Halloween party on the evening of Friday, October 31st.
Saturday, November 1st, is cross-country day, where the object of this test is to prove the speed, endurance and jumping ability of the horse over varied terrain and obstacles. This is the day where the event really hits its stride, with a full schedule filled with excitement, guaranteed to please even those who may not be familiar or have yet to attend an equestrian event.
Saturday’s activities include a trade and vendor fair, pony rides and bounce houses for the kids and live music. The highlight of the day is an epicurean adventure unlike any other, featuring the mobile dining vehicles that have become the hot trend in restaurants in recent years.
“We are creating a progressive food truck tour, where we take the 240-acre property and bisect it in a half-mile straight line, where the spectators can walk from food, music, and beer and wine tasting stations at the beginning, middle and end,” Kellerhouse said. “The whole time they are making this journey, they’re traversing the cross-country course where there are horses galloping and jumping fences on both sides of them. It’s very cool. This will not be a boring horse show.”
Local breweries and wineries including Refuge Brewery and Leoness Cellars will have samples of their finest fall offerings available for tasting as well as other beer and wine selections from across the country; all available for purchase.
For those who are looking to be truly immersed in the experience of the Galway Downs International Event, a VIP package is available which includes seating under a luxury tent, a gourmet catered lunch and premium beer and wine, all included in the ticket price.
“A VIP ticket buys you access to our tented area, with shaded tables and food from Temecula’s own Francesca’s and La Cocina Mexican Restaurants, which are not available at the food truck stop,” Kellerhouse said. “If you’ve ever eaten at either of these restaurants, both will be bringing their ‘A’ game.”
Anyone interested in finding out exactly what the four-day equestrian extravaganza is all about can go to www.galwaydowns.com and view photos and videos of past events and competitions as well as the beautiful scenery of the grounds.
A one-day ticket for the Galway Downs International Event is $10 for general admission and $75 for VIP access, however event organizers are offering our readers an exclusive discount of 50% off general admission and 25% off VIP, when you purchase tickets online and use coupon code GALWAY.
“We want to specifically give What’s Up? Temecula readers an exclusive code to get a great experience for a discounted price,” Kellerhouse said. “You will have the best, most intense time just watching these horses and riders do the incredible cross-country jumping. It’s the best you’re ever going to see and it’s something you really have to see to believe. It’s definitely worth every penny.”