Attendance for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games on Friday was 46,496, by far the highest daily total of week one.
The reason behind the high turnout: The 25,000-seat Rolex Stadium was sold out for freestyle dressage on Friday. Eventing fans began rolling into the park on Thursday and will keep returning through the weekend. The beautiful weather also helped turnout.
A large crowd is expected Saturday for the popular cross-country phase of eventing.
The only ticket available for Saturday is the competition ticket for cross-country, which costs $45. All patrons entering the Horse Park Saturday must have a ticket, including children. There is no grounds pass available Saturday, as has been the case on other days.
City hands out 'pocket ashtrays'
The city's new Keep Lexington Beautiful Commission is trying to keep cigarette butts and ash to a minimum on downtown streets during the Spotlight Lexington festival by passing out "pocket ashtrays."
"They're going like hotcakes," said Patricia Knight, the commission chair. So far, more than 1,000 of the ashtrays have been given away at Cheapside and Triangle parks and Courthouse Plaza during festival events.
After the Games, Knight said, the commission hopes to work with smoke-free hospital and college campuses to use the pocket ashtrays and other strategies to reduce cigarette litter.
Golf carts ready for those who need a lift
For people needing accessibility assistance when they arrive at the Games, several golf carts are parked inside the main entrance to take them to events throughout the park. All a person needs to do is tell one of the ticket-takers at the main entrance that they need a lift, said Rita Klinger, a ticketing host.
"If they want to go to the stadium, the Kentucky Experience, the Equine Village, wherever they want to be left off, the driver will take them," Klinger said.
"They won't carry people around all day, but they will take them wherever they want to go," she said. The carts can carry wheelchairs.
U.S. vaulting team named
The United States Equestrian Federation has named the following vaulting athletes to the definite entry list for the Games:
Team: Free Artists Creative Equestrians (F.A.C.E Team): Blake Dahlgren, Mary Garrett, Emily Hogye, Mari Inouye, Devon Maitozo, Rosalind Ross, Annalise VanVranken. Horse: Palatine; reserve horse: Urfreund Rosengaard.
Individual: Women, Megan Benjamin on Leonardo; Alicen Divita on Giovanni; Mary McCormick on Sir Anthony Van Dyck; Katharine Wick (alternate). Men, Kenny Geisler on Sunny Boy; Todd Griffiths on Lanson 16; Kristian Roberts on Jacadi de Rox; Patrick Stevens (alternate).
Top tourism questions: farms, bourbon, homes
Volunteers at the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau booth at the Games — just inside the main gate in the University of Kentucky College of Design's solar house — say the most asked-about local tourist sites are horse farms, bourbon distilleries and historic homes.
The Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation, which operates the Hunt-Morgan House museum at Gratz Park, has opened Pope Villa for tours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the Games. Visitation has been sparse so far, but Alison Carter of the Blue Grass Trust says the villa will appeal to architects as much as history buffs.
Pope Villa, built in 1810-11 for Sen. John Pope, was designed by one of America's first professional architects, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, who designed the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
The villa, which Latrobe used to experiment with ideas for what he considered an ideal house, was a radical design for its day. Over the years, the villa was altered many times to make it more conventional. The Blue Grass Trust is slowly taking the fire-damaged villa back to its original design, and the work-in-progress state of the building makes it different from a typical historic home tour.
The tour costs $5 — $4 for people who also take the $7 ($5 for students) Hunt-Morgan House tour. There is a self-guided audio tour accessible on your cell phone and a children's room with activities related to historic preservation. The villa is on Grosvenor Avenue, off Rose Street between High and Maxwell Streets near the east end of downtown.
Other popular historic homes in and around Lexington include the Mary Todd Lincoln House, Waveland and Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, and White Hall, the home of Cassius M. Clay.
Kids' activities planned for weekend
Much has been made of the entertainment for grown-ups at the Games, but this weekend offers some special activities for families and kids.
The Kentucky Market in Triangle Park will offer demonstrations and other kid-friendly activities as will the Family Arts Paddock. Both will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. All activities are free.
The Lexington Philharmonic will perform a Kinder Konzert at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Triangle Park. On Sunday, David Garrard's Magic Show will be offered at 11 a.m. and 2:30 and 5:30 p.m.