September 12th, 2011 ~ The first week of competition for the 2011 Aiken Fall Festival came to a close yesterday. The two week hunter jumper show series is managed by J. P. Godard and his Equus Events and took place September 8-11 at Highfields Event Center in Aiken, SC. This week’s sold out show was jam packed with many special classes and events and the horse-centric town of Aiken makes it a prime stop on everyone’s calendar. Exhibitors were delighted with the gorgeous weather and the Aiken Fall Festival really stepped it up to make all of its guests feel welcome with good southern hospitality and most importantly a well-organized event. All attending were treated to nightly parties and daily hospitality including breakfast, daily snacks, and an ice cream party on Saturday all courtesy of the show’s hospitality sponsors; Allison Mills, Beaver River Farm, Booth Parker, Christison Stables, Willoughby Stables, DFG Stables, Debi Friedman, Gagne International, Gamboa Veterinary Services, John and Leslie Kasper, Liz Tarumianz, Summit Springs Farm, LLC, The Farm House, The Stables Restaurant, The Wilcox, Travinia Italian Kitchen, and Wendy Arndt and Team IEC. While the VIP tent events are free to exhibitors, donations were taken for this week’s beneficiary Children’s Place of Aiken, SC (www.childrensplaceinc.org). “We are extremely excited with our turnout this year,” said show organizer J. P. Godard. “We are completely sold out this week and even with putting up more stalls next week, we still have a waiting list. In these tough economic times I feel people are picking and choosing what shows to attend and Equus Events is really striving to put on events that are the benchmark in our area.”
The week kicked off on Thursday with the featured class being the $5,000 Open Welcome Jumper Stake. Josh Dolan of Hilton Head, SC guided his Skylands Con Chino Z to the blue taking top honors over Christina Jason and her Tamino who finished second with Claire Lee White and High Roller finishing in third. After the class everyone was invited to an Exhibitor Welcome Party at The Stables Restaurant and Beer Garden at the Rose Hill Estate in downtown Aiken. The party featured food, libations, and the sounds of local Aiken band Preston and Weston with a few Aiken Fall Festival exhibitors even taking to the mic a time or two! A great time was had by all and many thanks to The Stables Restaurant for the wonderful party.