FAR HILLS, N.J. (PIX11) – Arriving from the stables of Kentucky, thoroughbred horse McLovin is about to make his debut at the Far Hills Race Meeting. But the horse isn’t the only one putting in work.
“It really is like Christmas morning,” said Ron Kennedy, chairman of the Far Hills Race Meeting.
Thanks to more than a thousand volunteers, the 230-acre farm turns into The Hunt. The 102nd edition is going to see the town of about 900 people welcome close to 30,000 fans.
“We build a city for a day, and we take it down,” said Kennedy.
The Hunt is a cherished tradition in Somerset County, a day for fans to tailgate amongst the hay bale-lined spots along the track. Its roots began a century ago as a steeplechase race for local farmers.
“It started as a very simple, very elegant type of event day for them starting in the early 1900s,” said Kennedy.
Part of the reason why so many come back to The Hunt every year is it’s all about tradition. But this year, race organizers have created a new way for some fans to take in all the action: The Hunt Club – a space available for a few hundred spectators 21 and over to enjoy the races with an incredible front-row view, with food, games, couches and a DJ.
“It’s an area instead of traditionally tailgating, which we’ve always had tailgating on the hilltop and in the infield, it’s a new offer where guests can come to the property and don’t have to tailgate,” said Kennedy.
The Hunt isn’t just a fun fall day; the Far Hills Race Association is a nonprofit whose revenue benefits local health care foundations for cancer, drug addiction and more. It said it’s donated $20 million over the last 40 years, one reason why Far Hills-Bedminster firefighter and EMT Zachary Rubin loves to volunteer there.
“I volunteer on the fire department, the first aid squad, so being able to support other health care organizations in the region is really meaningful,” said Rubin.