For longtime attendees of the Opening Day festivities at the Del Mar Racetrack, we have some very, very sweet news for you. This year's Opening Day will go down on a Friday this year. Yes, all the madness, all the hats, all the hot locals in hot heat will be celebrating the San Diego tradition on Friday, July 15.
Usually taking place on a Wednesday or Thursday, this big news means that the parties will roar a little louder - and that you won't need to take the next day off to recover.
For those seeking more space during the day along with a private DJ lineup, gourmet food trucks, beer garden, photo booths, private wagering and shaded seating, we recommend getting The Party on Opening Day ticket, priced at only $30. Think of it as your own VIP area with the perks that beat standing around in the crowded chaos. Purchase The Party tickets here.
In case that's not enough to get you galloping like the winning horse, the entire season (running until Sept. 5) will debut a few new fests, plus some star talent coming through their free Friday night concerts. Here's a quick look at the season's highlights.
Friday, July 15: Opening Day - you know what to do.
Sunday, July 17: A brand new food-centric event debuts, dubbed the Del Mar BBQ State Championship. It's slated to bring more than 40 of the nation's top professional BBQ pitmasters, local restaurants and chefs together to win more than $15,000 in cash prizes. Oh, and there will be juicy BBQ samples for the public and local craft beer to pair.
Saturday, July 23: Food Truck Festival and San Diego Craft Beer Fest
Saturday, Aug. 20: Del Mar's Pizza and Beer Festival, another new event featuring a variety of pizza style to pair with more than 100 craft brews.
Saturday, Sept. 3: Distilled Spirits Festival
New perk: This year, the Racetrack is boasting Happy Hour Fridays, offering all signature drinks for half-off on Fridays, along with live music in the Cabana before the concerts. This offer excludes Opening Day.
Looking for the concert lineup? Read more about the live performances, which includes Cold War Kids, Girl Talk, Chromeo and country-music artist Chris Young, here.
Summer racing at Del Mar takes place Wednesday through Sunday with the one exception of Closing Day on Monday, Sept. 5. First post daily will be at 2 p.m. First post on Fridays will be 4 p.m. with the exception of the following Fridays: Opening Day, July 15 is 2 p.m., Friday, Aug. 26 and Friday, Sept. 2, first post is 3:30 p.m. Find all the details at DelMarScene.com.