Doncaster’s annual St Leger party is set to swing into action today as the festivities surrounding the town’s racing spectacular get under way.
The St Leger Festival runs until Sunday, September 15, and is packed with highlights for young and old – with punk legends The Buzzcocks kicking things off tonight with a free concert as they headline Doncaster Live in the Market Place.
The festivities off the track are a curtain raiser to this year’s action which gets under starter’s orders at Town Moor on Wednesday, leading up to the biggest day of the town’s social calendar next Saturday when the Leger, the world’s oldest classic horse race will be staged.
And the line-up is set to provide a huge financial shot in the arm for Doncaster’s economy with millions expected to be poured in over the next week or so.
Coun Bob Johnson, cabinet member for culture and tourism, said: “This year’s 10-day St Leger Festival Week is the biggest and best to date and has to be one of the leading festivals of its kind in the country.
“We have over 300 events lined up offering something for people of all ages and tastes.
“Our very own Mallard locomotive is returning home, the Romans are coming, there is live music every day and last but not least we have the world’s oldest classic horse race – the St Leger.
“We also have new partners and events on board for 2013, the Mansion House is serving afternoon teas, Doncaster Minster will be holding a film night with a 1930s theme and Virgin Balloons will be flying from Cusworth Hall throughout the week.
“The festival is a real spectacle, offering a wonderful variety of attractions for residents and visitors. Last year it boosted the local economy by an estimated £10million and we expect more of the same in 2013.”
Meanwhile, preparations are under way at Town Moor for racing action which starts on Wednesday. More than 14,000 racegoers are expected to attend the ever popular Ladies’ Day on Thursday while racecourse bosses expect Leger Day itself to draw in crowds approaching 30,000.
Mark Spincer, managing director of Doncaster Racecourse, said: “The atmosphere throughout the festival is certainly exciting, however the final day is always exhilarating.
“We draw in some 60,000 racegoers during the festival, some who closely follow racing, to others who are simply keen to come along and enjoy the buzz and excitement of one of the most popular race meetings in the country.
“Visitors from right across the country come to witness the stunning racing and soak up the electric atmosphere.
“And this year, they may even get a glimpse of The Queen’s horse, Estimate. We hope the regal runner is on form and ready to try to add The Doncaster Cup to her trophy collection.
“It would be great to have a regal winner at the racecourse this year.”
n For more information visit www.visitdoncaster.com/stleger or www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk