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‘Hats Off’ to 36th Lorenzo Driving Competition

Gene Gissin Photography
Winners of the 2011 “Hats Off To Lorenzo” contest included Diane Voss, left, Stefani Watson, Paul Curtin, Glenda Wetzel and Sarah Compeau. The 2012 event will be held at 5:30 p.m. July 20 at Lorenzo.

Gene Gissin Photography Winners of the 2011 “Hats Off To Lorenzo” contest included Diane Voss, left, Stefani Watson, Paul Curtin, Glenda Wetzel and Sarah Compeau. The 2012 event will be held at 5:30 p.m. July 20 at Lorenzo. Gene Gissin Photography

— July in Cazenovia includes fireworks, parades, sidewalk sales swimming, fishing and the annual Lorenzo Driving Competition.

Friday night’s “Hats Off to Lorenzo” gala is an annual event with lots of character. This signature occasion is the kickoff to the long-standing tradition of a weekend of horse and carriage driving competition.

The Lorenzo State Historic site is a suitable place for this competition. As the original home of John Lincklaen, this crown jewel of Cazenovia was built in the days when horse-drawn transportation was the only form of transportation.

Now that we have faster and, some would claim, more comfortable modes of commuting — it’s enjoyable and nostalgic to observe the beautiful horse-drawn vehicles that are attracted to the competition and think about days gone by.

Since the Lorenzo Driving Competition is based on tradition, it’s also traditionally held on the third weekend of July; making this year’s competition fall on July 21 and 22.

Another long-standing tradition is that attendance to the event, including parking, is free. It’s family friendly in that people of all ages can watch the competition, wander and talk with competitors, make crafts in the Kids’ Korral, shop amongst the vendors in Market Lane, bid on silent auction items benefitting the Root Farm Center for Equine Assisted Therapies and pet the miniature horses that will be on hand at both the Cazenovia College and the Hannay Farms displays.

The evening events associated with the Lorenzo Driving Competition are open to everyone. Now in its third year, the Hats Off To Lorenzo gala doubles as the welcome party for competitors and also features the popular hat contest.

Since the hat is a necessary piece of carriage driving attire, again based on tradition, the Hats Off gala gives all attendees the opportunity to don a hat. New and vintage, fun, frilly and elegant: anything goes. It’s also a friendly competition and this year’s judges are the returning pair from 2010: Paul Brooks and Rick Gary.

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