To celebrate the beginning of the half-term holidays, Chester Racecourse are hosting the first of their family fixtures for 2019 this Saturday. Taking place on the 25th of May, MBNA Roman Day is a celebration of heritage for the racecourse in a year in which the oldest racecourse in the world still in operation celebrates 480 years of racing on the Roodee.
The racecourse has long been a feature of the city of Chester and this fixture looks to acknowledge its uniquely central location and long-standing within the community. Continuing the heritage theme, this year, the racecourse has linked up with the Chester Heritage Festival who will be staging a special launch event at the fixture, ahead of their festival programme 21 – 29 June. Racegoers can learn all about this year’s festival schedule and interact with festival representatives out on the Open Course.
To begin the day, a special gladiatorial procession led by Chester’s Mid-summer Watch Parade and comprised of a cast of romans, puppets and volunteers will make their way down to the racecourse from Watergate Street at 12:30pm. Once on site, the parade will make its way through each enclosure before ending at the Parade Ring. From the Parade Ring, Chester’s Town Crier will then declare the raceday open and the start to the Chester Heritage Festival launch underway.
Gates open from 11.30am and racegoers can expect plenty of extra entertainment out on the Open Course, as well as across the course. Racing begins at 1.45pm and there are seven races across the afternoon to entertain the crowds.
Free activities for children on the day include face painting, a giant colouring-in wall, roman helmet making and mosaics, archery, giant games, petting zoo, giant slide, inflatable wrecking ball, handling Roman artefacts and trying on armoury. Plenty to keep the kids entertained between races! A legion of Roman foot soldiers will also be on course and roaming throughout all enclosures, happy to pose for pictures during the afternoon and teach local Cestrians fascinating facts about their ancestors.
Elsewhere, live music will welcome racegoers at the entrance of the racecourse and on the re-vamped Pavilion Lawn. Open to Tattersalls ticket holders and above, this area has a selection of pop-up bars and live music throughout the afternoon.
Ticket availability in most enclosures is good and there are limited number of hospitality places remaining. For information and to purchase tickets online, visit www.chester-races.com/romanday Tickets can be bought online and collected on the day. To purchase tickets over the phone, call the Box Office on 01244 304 600.
Prices start at just £12 for adults out on the Open Course – a perfect location to host a roman themed picnic and family get-together. Remember, all children under 18 can attend this and every single raceday at Chester completely free of charge! Parking costs just £8 per car. Seize the day and make Chester Races your destination this weekend.