The 2017 Berlin November Traditional Horse-Racing Festival was once again a massive drawcard for the East London area as thousands of people turned out, decked to the nines to witness the third annual showing of the popular event.
Event founder Luthando Bara was thrilled to see everything go off without any problems, and is already looking forward to a bigger and better festival next year.
“I was very happy in that the Berlin November has grown in stature, prestige and public interest,” said Bara.
“It has managed to attract many celebrities and revellers from all over the country and its footprint is more national than any other local event.
“I think we as the Eastern Cape can now claim that we have a heritage product that we can sell to the world and convert it to an official tourism product.”
Some extremely exciting horse-racing was witnessed on the day, with some close races and a host of deserved winners in the end.
Secret Boy from QwaQwa was the overall champ, beating some of the local favourites on the day, and with Bara impressed with the constantly improving standards over the event he hopes to see it turning professional.
“We had the best the Eastern Cape could offer on show as well as some fantastic talent from around the country,” said Bara.
“I am happy that we had a local horse winning one of the major races on the day, and that will inspire other horse owners and jockeys from the region to bring their horses down to take part.
“Our interest going forward is for traditional horse-racing to be professionalised and conducted at the same standards in Berlin, in other parts of the Eastern Cape.”
With the prize-money set to continue increasing each year, this will encourage more top jockeys and horse owners to come down and take part in the action.
“Bringing business people to Berlin and the horse-racing has a direct impact on the growth of traditional horse-racing in the Eastern Cape,” said Bara.
“We will continue to grow the prize-money with the co-operation and support of government and the private sector.”
A big part of the Berlin November is its impact on jobs leading up to and during the festival.
With many people able to get part-time employment over the period it is a big help to people around the region.
“We had about three to four hundred people employed at this year’s event and, with it set to keep growing each year, we will be able to employ more people for longer periods, which makes a positive impact in the area,” said Bara.
Going forward, Bara is eager to see the event become a full weekend festival and possibly even bigger in the future.
With the people of the Eastern Cape proving there is a massive interest in this type of event by flocking to see the horse-racing, fashion, and music that makes up the day, it is all set to continue to grow over the coming years.
“Of course we would want to see the event continue growing in stature and also taking more than just one day, possibly a three0day event at first and then even bigger,” said Bara.