The Adelaide Polo Classic will be the only event to bring polo to the heart of the CBD, offering a weekend of local food, beverages, fashion and lots of action.
A day of polo, but not as you know it
Kicking off on 11 November in Tampawardli Ellis Park, the Adelaide Polo Classic is a two-day event perfect for polo aficionados and newbies alike.
While the sport has a hoity-toity reputation, the event’s director, Luke Schapel, says attendees should leave aside any preconceived notions.
“People have this impression that it’s for the upper class, but it’s really not,” Luke explains.
Adelaide Polo Classic 2022 Friday, 11 November & Saturday, 12 November
Ellis Park – Tampawardli – City West
Purchase tickets here
The weekend will feature spring fashion – think flowy dresses, linen shirts, shorts and practical footwear – but beyond that there will be opportunities to interact with players and horses, as well as to jump onto the pitch for post-match activities.
While the Friday happening offers a more corporate option (perfect for knockoffs with a twist), Saturday will be an accessible and family-friendly day.
For Luke, it was important to create an interactive event, after having attended some polo events where that element was lacking.
The pitch has been downsized to allow attendees to be “closer to the action,” Luke says. “It just builds that excitement.”
Before the games kick off, the host will run through the rules, so even those who have never seen a polo game won’t be left behind.
“When I first hosted the Polo Classic in McLaren Vale, I remember thinking, ‘No one will listen to this – everyone is there to eat and drink and be merry’,” Luke recalls. “Instead I saw 1000 people stand there and they were captivated.”
After the fun of the first game (of two) is over, there will be a field dash – an event where a magnum of champagne is up for grabs – and divot stomping.
“We hide champagne corks in the divots and people go out and stomp the divots and repair the field,” he says.
“If they find the champagne cork, they get a bottle of champagne.”
For Luke, the field dash highlights the importance of practical outfits amid the fashion-forward crowd.
More prizes are on offer with Fashion on the Field, in partnership with Adelaide BMW and fashion-hub King William Road (KWR). MC’d by Elspeth Hussey and Amelia Mulcahy, the KWR-attired judges will select the most impressive outfits each day with cash and prizes supplied by the shopping strip’s retailers.
Kids will have a bouncy castle to keep them entertained, and Luke says it was important to create an environment welcoming of families.
“We’re not about commercialising that general admission space,” he explains.
“It’s about getting people to come and see the sport and be a part of the day.
“It’s free for children and we say to parents that they’re welcome to bring kids snacks and food.”
Tickets for General Admission are $20 and will be available for purchase on Saturday, 12 November.
For those looking for a bit more of a VIP experience, there will be club and marquee offerings, ranging from The Mumm Club to the South Avenue Marquee, to the top-end offering, the VIP marquee.
Beginning at $70 per person, these experiences run across Friday night and Saturday and offer field-side seating as well as further access to the extensive South Australian food and drink offerings.
Beyond creating an exciting day of polo, it was important to Luke to ensure the event was stacked with local South Australian producers.
“Where possible, we do everything with people from the CBD,” he says.
All of the wines featured at the event are South Australian, while food offerings are from locals such as Norwood restaurant Bar Lune.
But as much as there’s plenty of other things to see and do, for Luke, the event is all about the horses and sport itself.
“This is just an appreciation of thoroughbreds and appreciation for how difficult and complex this sport is,” he says. “It’s a total spectacle.”
For tickets and more details, you can visit their website.