Tbird’s Chris Pack showed off the new playground added to the show park, as part of the organizers’ quest to make the facilities more accessible and inviting to all members of the family. (Ronda Payne/Langley Advance Times)

Something for every member of the family at Langley horse competition

Nations Cup is the main event on Sunday, but there's plenty of other activities at tbird

Ronda Payne/Special to the Langley Advance Times

The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Canada at the Odlum Brown BC Open will be hosted by Thunderbird Show Park on Sunday, June 2.

Tbird has a history of opening its gates wide to welcome everyone to witness the fun and excitement of world-class equestrian sport on the site, but there will be a range of things to see and do in addition to watching the Canadians, Mexicans, Americans, Irish, and Israelis compete this weekend.

The Nations Cup begins at 2 p.m. and guests can start arriving around noon to take in the sights and sounds of tbird, as well as the numerous other activities.

Spectators are encouraged to go to tbird.ca, click on “visiting” then “tickets” to find ticket options.

All general seating in the grandstands is at the $5 price (with free parking), but there is also a special reserved table section hosted by the View Winery for $50. There are 200 tickets in the reserved section that include wine tasting and appetizers.

The spectator entrance is located at the corner of 248th Street and 72nd Avenue.

Guests are welcome to bring a picnic basket for lunch and snacks and there are food trucks and restaurants onsite as well, including the Bale & Bucket – which makes healthy menu items, many suitable for gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian diets.

For those looking for more traditional event food like burgers and hot dogs, an additional concession on the west side of the property is provided by the Canter Inn.

There’s also a new outdoor patio bar area near the grand prix field, for those who’d like a drink on Sunday afternoon.

If coffee is more the thing, the Nations Cup coffee shop is one of the 14 vendors in the log cabin vendor area, where guests can grab a latte, go next door to get the family dog’s claws clipped, or even get their own nails done one cabin over.

There is also plenty of tbird-branded merchandise for sale among vendors with a wide range of products and services.

Jane Tidball, tbird president and tournament director, noted that with seven competition rings operating, there is plenty to see from small ponies and short stirrups, to world-class hunter and jumper riders competing all day.

There is also entertainment, facepainting, pony rides, the musical ride, a playground, children jumps, photo opportunities, and – as mentioned – a variety of food concessions.

“The Tidball family has now been in the horse business at Thunderbird Show Park for 46 years and our goal from day one has always been to provide a wonderful experience for horses, competitors, spectators, sponsors, and staff alike,” she said.

“We look very much forward to welcoming everyone to our 2019 season events!” she said.

“We like to treat people well, she added, noting that almost 100 tbird staff are on site during the event and happy to help direct people.

At 12:30 p.m., Langley’s own Emily Taylor Adams will start playing her upbeat country music for visitors and will pause for the opening ceremonies at 1 p.m.

And guests can watch the dog agility show beside the playground, behind the grandstands put on by the K9 Cliffhangers from 1 to 2 p.m.

The playground is a brand new feature to keep kids busy and active, built near the key-watching area of the grandstands. It features swings and slides and climbing activities. Plus, kids will also love the facepainting and pony rides, which are complimentary that afternoon.

Easy to see from the playground and the grandstands, the new 40-foot video boards under the score board provide more information about the event as it unfolds. It’s added information to make for an even better equestrian-watching experience, Tidball said.

Before the tournament begins, the West Coast Thunder Drill Team (based out of Aldergrove’s Windsor Stables) will carry the Canadian flag for the anthem and do a drill.


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