The World Equestrian Games, held every four years since 1990, will be hosted by the United States for the first time. Also for the first time, eight equestrian world championships will be decided in one location.
From Saturday through Oct. 10, Central Kentucky will be home to the world's finest equestrian athletes and horses from 58 countries, including more than 100 competitors from across the United States. Greeting them will be a spectacular array of newly constructed venues and temporary facilities designed to shine a spotlight on the Horse Capital of the World.
Getting into the Games
■ Once the Games begin, spectators will be able to buy tickets at the front gate of the Horse Park. Until that time, and during the Games as well, tickets are available through Ticketmaster.com, at all Ticketmaster outlets, and by calling 1-888-WEG-2010.
■ One of the least expensive methods of experiencing the Games is to purchase a $25 daily grounds pass (most days), which allows access to the Horse Park but not to individual events. A grounds pass includes entry into pavilions, exhibitions, demonstrations and trade show areas. Grounds admission for children 12 and younger is free when accompanied by a paying adult.
■ Ticket prices for events range from $25 for some endurance and para-dressage competitions to up to $150 for the opening ceremonies. Visit Kentucky.com/WEG to download a complete schedule of events with ticket prices.
Around the grounds
In addition to the eight world championship competitions, the Horse Park will host numerous events for spectators each day:
Trade Show — The WEG shopping experience includes hundreds of trade show exhibitors from around the world selling everything from equestrian goods to jewelry, artwork, clothing and cookbooks.
Equine Village — This shrine to all things equestrian includes the largest gathering of equine entertainers, clinicians and breed representatives ever assembled in the United States. Every day will include a demonstration of breeds; clinicians showing off their training methods and philosophies; a parade of breeds; and professional performers entertaining with dancing horses, stagecoaches and trick-riding. Demonstrations in field sports such as polocrosse, horse ball, tent pegging and mounted games are scheduled for Oct. 3-10.
The Kentucky Experience — This interactive facility will put Kentucky on display for visitors and natives alike. The experience will provide a look at Kentucky's natural wonders, industries, crafts and products ranging from bourbon and wine to food, music, art, and recreation. Check in at the facility's welcome center, then choose among three pavilions. (Thekentuckyexperience.com.)
The Alltech Experience — The Games' title sponsor has secured 4 acres near the main entrance of the horse park where visitors can explore the company's contributions to global business in 120 countries. The Alltech site includes an open-air garden, a kids' zone, ice cream, live entertainment and the official beer of the Games, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale.
A Gift from the Desert — The park's International Museum of the Horse is the site of an art exhibition called A Gift from the Desert: The Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse. The 9,000-square-foot exhibit contains hundreds of artifacts and paintings. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children over 6, and free for children 6 and younger.
Prohibited items and activities
■ Alcoholic beverages (alcohol will be sold at the Games, but cannot be brought in.)
■ Animals/pets (except ADA service dogs)
■ Food (beverages in plastic containers will be allowed)
■ Glass bottles or glass containers, cans, coolers, thermoses or ice chests
■ Bags larger than 12 inches by 12 inches by 18 inches
■ Umbrellas, sticks or poles
■ Firearms and all other weapons
■ Fireworks or other pyrotechnics
■ Signage, banners or flags larger than 3-by-5 feet
■ Golf carts, bicycles, skateboards, skates, scooters, Segways or other unauthorized means of transportation
■ Any item that might be deemed an annoyance to horses or riders including balls, frisbees, balloons, projectiles, radios, horns, whistles, cowbells, musical instruments or laser pointers
■ Professional photography or videotaping equipment including tripods, microphones or recording devices
■ Distribution of unauthorized promotional or commercial materials
■ Smoking in unauthorized areas
■ Strollers, wagons and folding chairs will be allowed on the horse park grounds but are restricted from the competition venues. A storage area outside the venues will be available for holding these items.
On the Web
Visit Kentucky.com/WEG, throughout the Games for the latest news, photo slide shows, videos and Twitter coverage from the Herald-Leader staff. You can also find event schedules, buy tickets and read the LexGo Guide of things to do in the Bluegrass.
Network: NBC Sports will broadcast 61/2 hours of the Games on three Sundays: 1-2:30 p.m. Sept. 26, 1-4 p.m. Oct. 3 and 4-6 p.m. Oct. 10.
Cable: Universal Sports will air 30 hours of coverage. The Olympic sports channel is not available in Central Kentucky, but organizers were working to have area cable providers pick it up at least temporarily.
Local affiliates: Stations are planning major coverage of the Games, as well as area events such as the Spotlight Lexington Festival and the International Equestrian Festival.
Spotlight Lexington — This free downtown festival will offer a wide variety of food and entertainment options every day throughout the Games. Events will take place at three main venues: Triangle Park, Cheapside Park and the main stage at the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza. The main stage will host medal ceremonies, nightly concerts and a live feed broadcasting competitions from the horse park.
Alltech Fortnight Festival — This concert series began in July 2008 as a statewide, entertainment-centered countdown to the Games. It will culminate with two weeks — a fortnight — of live music throughout the Games at various Kentucky venues. The marquee performer is conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who will conduct the Vienna Philharmonic at the Norton Center for the Arts in Danville on Sept. 27. Other acts include Little Feat, the Beach Boys, Tony Bennett, Chubby Checker, The Temptations, and Charlie Daniels. Tickets are on sale at www.alltechfortnightfestival.com.
International Equestrian Festival — Independent of the Games, the IEF will feature an equine and art trade show, equine demonstrations and other events at the Lexington Center. Horse Capital Productions, which is producing the IEF, also will organize horse farm tours during the Games.