Colour, Culture and Creativity way to capture a crowd
Auckland’s iconic raceway, Alexandra Park, is finding exciting and exotic new ways to capture the crowds for its’ legendary ‘Friday Night Trots’ now more commonly known as ‘Friday Night at the Races’. Walking this road for more than 125 years, Alexandra Park are little known experts when it comes to bringing Aucklanders and drawing people in nationwide to experience the spectacle that is harness racing.
No matter the legacy and the sporting prowess of both the equine and human athletes on the night, the challenge of capturing a crowd and delivering a memorable experience remains the same as any other event and entertainment experience provider.
Alexandra Park Sales Manager, Kim Walsh says, “The challenge to keep our offering exciting and inspiring to new and repeat visitors is always at the forefront of what we do when creating our themed events.” Most recently, the presence of the Dubai Racing Channel filming a documentary on harness racing offered up inspiration for an Arabian Nights themed event.
With an excellent canvas to work with and the bonus of all night on-track action as a backdrop, Kim and her team set about enlisting the support of a crew that would bring to life an authentic and exciting Arabian Nights’ experience.
Kim is the first to admit that it is often hard to predict what will capture the imagination of Alexandra Parks’ diverse audience that ranges from regular racegoers to Friday night out friends and family groups to corporate guests. “Arabian Nights was a first for us, and we struck a chord with the Auckland audience as the event sold out in record time.”
Using Alexandra Park’s premier function space, known as ‘Top of the Park,’ the events team set about transforming this dining and functions space into a Sultans tent. Resplendent with ornate rugs, lanterns and cushions, the theme continued across the food and entertainment with an exquisite Middle Eastern banquet while guests were entertained with belly dancers, henna painters and an Arabian Horse show.
Kim says, the collaboration of supply partners; Red Creative, Pacific Linen, Cactus Photography, My Dream Party, Snap Click, and Hire Plants together with belly dancing entertainment from Abbraccia School of Dance and equine performance by a troop from the Auckland Arabian Horse Club brought to life the theme in a way that exceeded all expectations.
“Not only did our guests have a great night out, but events such as these also demonstrate that Alexandra Park is where the magic happens. Versatile spaces, excellent catering and the added excitement of trackside sporting action come together to create an event with a difference, be it joining in on one of ours or creating your own.”
Alexandra Park presents a range of ten event and functions spaces depending on requirement and time. From the premium Top of the Park space with its commanding views to the unique ‘Stables’ area which can be dramatically transformed outside of race night, the options are as plentiful as the on-site parking!
The first trotting races were held at Alexandra Park in the central Auckland suburb of Epsom in 1842 and by 1884 grew into an organised race programme run by the Epsom Trotting Club. In 1890, the Auckland Trotting Club, (ATC), was granted a lease to hold regular trotting races on the site. Since the 1950’s Aucklanders and visitors to the region have been enjoying Friday Night Trots under lights which have established Alexandra Park Raceway as an Auckland Institution. All-day and evening cafe and bistro-style dining options include the Alex bar and eatery, together with an onsite TAB, betting outlet. Large scale onsite events facilities also position Alexandra Park as a favourite function and conference venue with a wide array of quality food and beverage offerings.
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