By Renee Wood
Healesville Racing Club is getting ready for a summer filled with crowds now restrictions have eased on the state.
The club has announced the picnic race meet marked for November 20 will go ahead with more events to follow for the season.
Club secretary Chris Young said he’s looking forward to having crowds back trackside.
“Having lost the first Derby Day meeting, it will be nice to welcome crowds back,” Chris Young said.
The club is still waiting on the final information to come through for the Covid safe policies but currently it believes the event will go ahead under tier two public event restrictions.
“All patrons will need to be double vaxed and QR check-ins as normal. I’m not sure of densities but regardless whether it is 1 person per square metre or four square metres – either will be fine at Healesville with the size of the course.
“For the November 20 meeting, patrons will be separated from the racing industry bubble side but we believe meetings after that will be as per last season.”
A crowd of around 1500 is expected for the event, with marquees, umbrellas and general entry available.
The last event held by the club was The Golden Thong at the end of March and its Derby Day event on October 30 was scratched.
The next key dates after the November meet will be December 11, January 8 and 30 2022 and March 26 2022.
Mr Young said the region will see many economic benefits from crowds returning to the not-for-profit club.
“It’s pretty well impossible to get accommodation in the local area on the weekends we race, taken up by race attendees. Likewise all the hotels and restaurants have very good trade on the Saturday night after the races and of course the wineries and the RACV Club look forward to increased patronage on the race weekends.
“We use a local caterer Essential for all on course catering plus several local food trucks. Also the likes of Rotary, who do our parking as a paid gig, several of the local footy clubs who often run raffles and every year we support many local not for profit groups financially with donations.”
And it’s just in time for the festive season with clubs and businesses gearing up for the annual Christmas celebrations trackside.
“Many footy clubs hold their sponsors days and fundraising events at the races (we help out with subsidised entrys etc) and of course the big one is the December 11 meeting for Christmas parties and bucks and hens parties always very popular at Healesville.”