April 25, 2014
The 37th annual Foxfield Races will get underway Saturday morning. On Friday, the tents were up and the jumps in place, but officials say there is still work to be done before the main event.
"They are still obviously putting a lot of stuff up in the infield porta-johns. So much of what goes up, goes up at the last minute," said Foxfield Race Director Patrick Butterfield.
One thing already standing by on Friday was a brand new temporary cell phone tower installed near the race track.
"When you having 20,000 people and they are are trying to call out, or they are all texting at the same time, it's hard to get through. So this should help," said Butterfield.
The annual event attracts UVa. students, alums, locals, and out-of-towners. Butterfield says he's proud the races bring back so many people year after year, and that it's gaining in notoriety.
"I was in Hong Kong one time with a group from the university. We were having a dinner there and somebody asked me what I did and I said a run a thing called the Foxfield Races. They said 'you run the Foxfield Races? That was the most fun thing we did at the university,'" Butterfield said.
The races are a big party day for most and state and local police say they will have a strong presence of the track, making sure everyone is celebrating responsibly. They ask Foxfield-goers to do some race day preparations of their own.
"Plan ahead. Make sure that you are prepared, that you have a safe ride home, and that you have a designated driver," said Carter Johnson, spokeswoman for the Albemarle County Police Department.
Johnson says with the influx of cars and buses heading out to the track Saturday, for those not attending the race, the best advice is to avoid the area, especially Barracks, Garth and Free Union roads.