The Lorenzo Driving Competition returns to Cazenovia July 20-22, once again on the central great lawn of the Lorenzo State Historic Site. (photo courtesy LDC)
Horse and carriage – definitely. Beer and pretzels – absolutely. But it took Lorenzo Driving Competition and Empire Farmstead Brewery to look at horses and beer and think, “Now there’s a match.”
It all unfolds this week, as Lorenzo kicks off its 41st year with a new Fun Friday competition that will take more than 40 teams of horses and drivers from the show ring, cross country to Empire Brewing, where they will make a special stop on July 20. Pull up a chair and watch from Empire’s front lawn as the teams trot through an obstacle course and a row of hops before returning to the showgrounds at the Lorenzo State Historic Site.
“We’re excited to be partnering with Empire Farmstead Brewery,” said LDC President Carol Buckhout. “The backdrop will provide a unique experience for competitors and spectators.”
The day starts with a driven dressage class, testing the skill of horse and driver as they perform a pattern with circles, diagonals and changes of gait. Then it’s off to the fields and wooded areas between Lorenzo and Empire.
The first teams will arrive at the Empire obstacle course around 8:30 a.m., and there will be several hours of action as they weave between traffic cones topped with tennis balls – points lost for every ball that gets knocked to the ground. Look for a special attraction: an antique freight wagon that once carried kegs of beer, loaned by Cazenovia’s Sears family for this event.
Drivers will wind up the timed country drive at the Lorenzo Schoolhouse, where they will have a chance to sample one of Empire’s craft drafts. (Horses will have to settle for carrots.)
The Lorenzo-Empire partnership continues with the “Hats Off to Lorenzo” welcome reception at 6 p.m. Friday on the great lawn of the Lorenzo mansion, overlooking Cazenovia Lake. The community is invited to join competitors on the showgrounds and wear their best topper for competition in the hat contest, judged this year by Empire’s owner, Dave Katleski, and Troy Waffner, acting director of the New York State Fair.
As always, there is no charge for parking or to attend the competition, and there is ample room for cars and humans at the mansion and brewery.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.