by Ronda Payne/Special to the Langley Advance Times
Watching animals with bodies the size of a smart car and weighing approximately 1,500 pounds fly over jumps of up to 1.6-metres high is more than enough entertainment for many of the guests who come to Thunderbird Show Park for events like this Sunday’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup.
Others may be looking for a little more to keep them enthused during the day.
Good thing tbird has everyone’s interests covered with lots to see and do on Aug. 25.
Tbird opens the gates before noon and the main competitive jumping event is at 2 p.m., leaving lots of time to take in the numerous activities planned on site.
At 12:30 p.m. Langley-based rock band, Behind Closed Door, will take the stage to play a mix of original songs and cover tunes, sure to entertain guests who sit and relax on event day – as well as those who explore the many interesting things on the tbird grounds.
Chris Pack, chief operating officer and tournament manager with tbird, said Behind Closed Doors will also play between rounds of the world cup event.
For kids, there’s the new on-site playground just northeast of the grandstands so parents can relax while kids play. Then there will also be pony rides and facepainting to keep kids happy and give them a dose of kid-sized fun while experiencing equines up-close and hands-on.
For those who don’t bring their own food (arriving with a picnic is perfectly acceptable at tbird), there are a wide range of options including food trucks, the Canter Inn with its varied organic options sure to meet everyone’s dietary needs and tastebuds, the Bale & Bucket with a relaxed home-style hot dog and hamburger cookout vibe and Nations Cup Coffee, the onsite coffee shop in one of the cabins along vendors row.
Take your meal or your cup to one of the many grassy spots for relaxing and watching or set yourself up for prime viewing in the grandstands or rest on one of the benches throughout the show park.
A marching band and the West Coast Thunder Drill Team will also be part of the entertainment prior to the 2 p.m. competition.
West Coast Thunder will delight tbird guests with their precise and complex formations complete with flags held by riders atop their horses.
There’s even the opportunity for shopping on site in cabins along vendors row. Take a look at the numerous branded items at tbird Clothing Co., a wide range of equestrian supplies at a number of cabins and relax at the Good Hands & Feet Nail Salon. Even get a canine friend groomed while taking in the show.
Watching the massive equine champions move from their stalls to the ring along their own dedicated pathway is often a major delight for some guests, Pack said. Seeing the massive sleek bodies at rest or walking allows guests of tbird to more fully appreciate the extent of fitness and accomplishments of the horses competing in the world cup event.
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