What You Should Know About Durban July, South Africa’s Own Kentucky Derby
By Stephanie Ogbogu
The Kentucky Derby isn’t the only event that mixes fashion and horse racing. In fact, Durban, South Africa has their own version of the annual festival and it’s worth checking out as well. Want to catch July Fever along with South Africa’s “It” crowd? Here’s what you need to know:
The Vodacom Durban July is internationally known as Africa’s greatest horse racing event. Established on July 17, 1897, just 22 years after the Kentucky Derby, Durban July has successfully taken place every year without interruption. Not even two world wars and a soggy track in 1989 prevented this premier horse race from happening. What started out drawing 3,000 attendees, now commonly draws crowds of more than 50,000. This year’s Durban July will be taking place on July 6 at Greyville Racecourse.
Durban July is known as much for its fashion and parties as it is for its thoroughbreds. What attendees are wearing on race day is almost as highly anticipated as which horse will cross the finish line first.
The theme for this year is “Stars of Africa,” and will feature a series of fashion-forward competitions in the days leading up to race day. Pre-race day events include the Young Designer Awards, several fashion shows, and the Raceday Fashion Awards.
Talented artists from the Durban Fashion Fair (DFF) will be among the featured designers to showcase their creativity at Durban July. DFF was launched with the goal of providing local entrepreneurs with an opportunity to sell their creations, and top DFF designers will dress a number of VIP executives in the most fashionable attire for the big race. Spectators will be able to admire the unique ways in which each designer has interpreted this year’s theme and translated it into special garments. Think of it as the MET Gala of horse racing.
If you’re interested in dressing in your flyest fashions and showing the world what you’ve got, tickets for Durban July can be purchased via Computicket or at the Greyville Racecourse sales office. Tickets are also available at all Greyville entrances on race day, though attendees are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance.
Participants looking for luxury experience can indulge in The Silver Ring VIP hospitality packages which include entrance tickets, VIP parking, VIP exclusive lounge, all-day catering with exquisite food, a full complimentary bar service, and more. Packages rates start from $290 USD per person.