Someone said they heard a peeper a few days before the Eccentric went to press — with that traditional evening “song” and Redbud getting ready to burst into bloom through the Piedmont, it’s a good time to make plans for Twilight events at Great Meadow.

On May 14, Great Meadow’s Gate 2 opens at 6:30 pm and the first match starts at 7 when Twilight Polo 2016, sponsored by Greenhill Winery & Vineyards, gets the season going at a gallop with Military Appreciation Night. On May 21, Greenhill Winery presents “Red & White” Night, followed by College Night, Spy vs Spy/James Bond, Disney, Luau, and 70s Disco. Theme Nights are listed on the Great Meadow website.

Twilight Polo is s child-friendly, family outing. At halftime, the kids pour into the arena for the traditional Tug-of-War (parents, have your cameras ready!). After that, Polo Bear joins the kids in a 2-lap foot race around the arena. Following the featured polo match, there’s dancing to a DJ in the pavilion. Bring your picnic baskets, coolers and blankets — whatever you need to be comfortable on the grassy berm. .

Twilight Polo’s presenting sponsor, Greenhill Winery & Vineyards will offer a selection of their wines for purchase. Dee’s Bayou Cooking and other selected concessions will also be on hand for the evening.

With one exception (July 9), Twilight Polo continues every Saturday evening until September 17. Now is a good time to decide whether to club together with family and friends for a railside box for 6 on the arena or a tailgate parking place at the top of the berm. Larger spaces to accommodate bigger parties are also available. Please contact Great Meadow to RSVP ASAP, because the boxes and tailgates book quickly. Another option is general admission by the carload: $35 per car in advance, $40 per car at the gate.

Another springtime tradition at Great Meadow is Twilight Jumpers, a Friday night four-show summer series with two invitational classes. $500 Child/Adult Jumper Classic and the $5,000 Mini Prix. Opening night is May 27, followed by June 24, July 29, and August 12. It’s another family and kid friendly outing with a Tug-of-War (but no Polo Bear) and dancing after the Mini Prix.   

Twilight Jumpers is the primary fund-raiser for High Performance Equestrian Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit founded in 2009 by Alden Denegre Moylan, which offers financial assistance to qualified jumper riders. You can attend General Admission (by the carload) or RSVP railside boxes or tailgate parking spaces on the berm. Information will be posted Facebook and on Twilight Jumpers’ page on the Great Meadow site.

Since 1985, Great Meadow has been home to the Virginia Gold Cup, a timber stakes worth $100,000, on Saturday, May 7. The racecard includes 3 hurdle races, the Steeplethon steeplechase, and three flat races, for 8 races with purses totaling $415,000, making this the richest spring meet on the National Steeplechase Association calendar. A definite rite of spring, the Gold Cup Races are even more exciting, thanks to pari-mutuel wagering, which was introduced in 2013. More on the 91st running of the Gold Cup next month…

Great Meadow International, an integral part of Great Meadow, will host the final outing from July 8–10 for the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team before the horses and riders compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Great Meadow also has the honor of hosting the first-ever FEI Nation’s Cup™ of Eventing to take place outside of Europe. All the action happens in two days: dressage during the day on Saturday, show jumping in the evening and, on Sunday, the cross country and awards ceremony. General admission: $30 per carload per day or $50 for a weekend car pass.

VIP Hospitality, Corporate Entertaining and Tailgating on the Cross Country and other options will be available. Please visit www.GreatMeadowInternational.com

For information about Twilight Polo, Twilight Jumpers, the Gold Cup, and everything else on their calendar: www.GreatMeadow.org