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Camping Out For Picnic Tables At Travers Stakes

Courtesy Facebook

The Travers Stakes is what makes the Saratoga Race Course so special.  It’s the one race everyone looks forward to each year.

In addition to the great horse racing, the Midsummer Derby is also known for something else – people camping out overnight to get a spot in the coveted Saratoga picnic area.

I honestly don’t know why anyone would wait in line at midnight on Friday night/Saturday morning just for a place to sit. I can’t believe people actually do this.

I love the Travers but there’s plenty of space available on the Saratoga Race Course grounds.  I don’t need to show up 14 hours early to get one.

I understand that there’s going to be lots of people and I might not get a picnic table if I don’t show up early to get one.   But I also understand that I might not get a picnic table on ANY Saturday during the meet.  Let’s be honest, if you show up late on Wednesday, you’re going to be hard pressed for a picnic table or a shady spot.  Tables go quickly – I get it.

Call me crazy, but NYRA will pretty much let you bring in whatever you want. You don’t actually need a spot with a picnic table to have a picnic.  That’s right – you bring in some chairs, a portable tent and you set up camp like it’s a holiday in the woods.  Coolers, tables, lawn chairs, deck chairs, grills, portable televisions.  You can have whatever you need to do to make your afternoon more enjoyable.

Courtesy NYRA

They’ll pretty much let you do what you want within reason. In fact, a dude dresses up as Hulk Hogan and walks around the Saratoga backyard – and that guy should never wear tights in public.

It’s not like if you show up at 11:00am, you’re going to be turned away.  Believe me, NYRA would love to have that problem of telling people no. That would mean over 80,000 people were there.

Most people are camping out for 12 hours just to camp out some more.

This isn’t the 80’s. You don’t need to plant yourself outside Ticketmaster anymore so you can get Pearl Jam tickets.  It’s not like you’re camping out to see the races. People are camping to say they camped out.  Most people don’t even leave the picnic area all day. They’re not even camping out for seats. They’re camping out to drink.

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