Once a year the city of Melbourne has a day off for a grand horse race called the Melbourne Cup Carnival. It’s noted as one of the top ten world’s best horse races in the world by the travel channel and is steeped in tradition and sentiment dating back to 1861. It’s is considered by many to be the greatest 3,200-meter horse race in the world and attracts an international following both in the competition and the attendees. Traditionally attendees celebrated the carnival in customary hats. Although, this year the hats were a miss as most of the lovely ladies donned tiara’s, a single large flower or smaller head pieces made popular by Kate Middleton (aka The Duchess of Cambridge).
At $75 a ticket, general admission was a bit above our budget, plus we’re not really the betting kind but we we were keen to experience the local tradition. So, when we were invited to a local private party in a lively inner North Melbourne Neighborhood, we were excited. Our host, (Craig’s sister) welcomed us and introduced us to all of her friends, who were all well dressed for the occasion.
The afternoon kicked off with a fun foodie competition, where each attendee made an hor d’oeuvre in honor of one of the horses racing in the Melbourne Cup. The entries were creative, delicious and festive.
As the beginning of the race neared we all took a stroll down the block to the local TAB to place small $5 bets on hope for the winning horse then walked back to watch the race. Anticipation was high as the horses began to take their places, and they were off! We all watched with clinched fists and the room erupted as Prince of Penzance rounded the final corner and strolled through the finish line as the winner. Although none of us won, we were all delighted that the female jockey, Michelle Payne took the cup and finished off the rest of afternoon with delicious desserts and wonderful conversation.