The final afternoon of the 2018 thoroughbred horse-racing season will include some Halloween-related fun for patrons, as the Century Downs Racetrack and Casino in East Balzac gets set to host its inaugural Spooktacular Events, Oct. 28.
“We just thought we’d have some fun and treat our guests to something that’s a little bit different on the last day of thoroughbred racing,” said Karen Franco, manager of marketing for Century Downs. “This is the first time giving this a try, so we’ll see how it goes.”
The festivities will include a pumpkin-carving contest, a candy scramble, a pumpkin patch, face painting, a special guest and possibly a special “ghost race.”
On Oct. 28, the racetrack’s paddock will be transformed into a pumpkin patch, Franco said. By making a donation to Century Downs’ chosen charity, patrons can go into the paddock at the end of the day’s races and select their favourite pumpkin to take home.
According to Franco, the proceeds from the pick-a-pumpkin event will go towards the Prairie Sky Equine Assisted Therapy – a Springbank-based charity that offers horse-riding lessons, equine activities and equine-assisted therapy, according to its website.
Those interested in participating in the pumpkin-carving contest may register online through Eventbrite. Franco said the carving will take place between 1 and 3 p.m., with public voting occurring in the hour immediately afterwards.
“We’ll supply all the carving tools and the pumpkins,” she said.
The people who carve the three most popular pumpkins will receive Halloween-themed gift baskets, Franco said, which include candy, decorations and other paraphernalia.
A special guest will also make an appearance at the track to launch the final day of thoroughbred races, according to Franco – though she wouldn’t say who it would be.
“That’s our Halloween surprise,” she said.
To go with the holiday’s theme, Franco said, one of the day’s races will include a field of only grey horses. While she said the field cannot be confirmed until a few days beforehand, it’s being dubbed the “ghost race” of the afternoon.
Century Downs is located near the CrossIron Mills shopping mall – just east of the Queen Elizabeth 2 Highway between Calgary and Airdrie.
The venue offers live thoroughbred races (and betting) on the weekends throughout September and October, with races starting at 1:10 p.m. and lasting until the late afternoon.
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