Oldum BC and the Nations Cup will attract high calibre riders and horses from around the globe to Langley at the beginning of June. (Moi Photography)

Oldum BC and the Nations Cup will attract high calibre riders and horses from around the globe to Langley at the beginning of June. (Moi Photography)

Thunderbird events in Langley are designed as a family affair

A wide range of activities for all ages add to the excitement this year.

It’s hard to beat sitting on lush lawns, enjoying activities for the kids and witnessing stunning 1,500 pound animals leap with their riders over 1.5 to 1.6 metre obstacles.

It’s all part of the excitement everyone is invited to at Thunderbird Show Park during the Nations Cup and other events.

While show jumping is the prime activity, there’s plenty more to see and do according to Emily Penn, the press officer for Thunderbird.

“For children, [we offer] entertainment beyond just the show jumping,” she said. “There are pony rides, music and food.”

Music on site will include a range of talents such as local singing celebrity Karen Lee Batton and another Langley performer, Emily Taylor Adams. Plus when the kids aren’t moving to the beat of the music or watching the horses, they can get their faces painted.

Spending a part or whole day away from home isn’t complete without food so there are plenty of options at Thunderbird. Visitors can bring their own picnic or they can take advantage of the Meat 2 Eat or Triple O’s food trucks. For even more food options turn to the Bale and Bucket for unique, organic tastes or the Cantor Inn for home-style burgers and fries.

“For adults, it is really impressive seeing the height and power of the horses up close,” Penn noted. “Adults can also enjoy the shopping and beer garden on-site.”

The beer garden is hosted by Thunderbird’s own hospitality team featuring the newly created Thunderbird beer made by Langley’s Trading Post Brewery & Tasting Room. A number of equestrian-themed vendors will be on-site as well with everything from tack and gear to custom T-Bird merchandise.

Perhaps what appeals most to families about visiting Thunderbird is the affordability. Parking is by donation, given to local organizations. There is no gate fee so attending is free. Plus with the option to bring food or buy on-site, families can choose what their visit is like.

“There is tons of room [for picnics or to sit] on the grass as well as free covered stands available that overlook the entire grand prix field,” Penn said.

With the competitors walking throughout the site from stables to show rings this alone allows guests to feel as though they are part of the event, up close and personal with both horses and riders. There can be some competitive excitement as well as spectators cheer for their favourite team or a new horse and rider pair they just met.

“Thunderbird offers competition from pony and junior riders all the way up to grand prix,” she added. “You can be witness to it all, wander and watch ponies jumping and then in the next ring Olympians.”

For anyone who has ever wanted to witness the excitement of high-calibre horse jumping, Thunderbird Show Park is the place to be with all this and then some.

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• In advance: Langley Tbird prepares for thousands

• Global teams vie for a win at Thunderbird in Langley

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