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Posted on 07-14-2012

It's coming folks! Opening day at Del Mar!

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                              The Fabulous Dawn, getting ready for Hat Day

Set for July 18 this year, this premier party regularly draws crowds of more than 40,000 people. Attendance has been up for seven years in a row, with the last three record-breaking, according to Craig Dado, senior vice president of marketing. Last year’s crowd totaled 46,588 people.

Festivities will kick off with the Coors Light Opening Day Party at 11:30 a.m. in the Seaside Cabana and Seaside Stage area. There will be music by a DJ, games and activities, along with private wagering windows and a big-screen video board. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Tickets cost $30; Dado recommends buying them ahead of time to be guaranteed a seat. He added that the party has sold out in previous years. Go to www.dmtc.com/season/tickets/.

At the same time, entries will start being taken for the annual One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest near the fountain in the Plaza de Mexico. Judges award prizes based on hats’ creativity and style in five categories: Best Racing Theme, Funniest or Most Outrageous, Most Glamorous, Best Flowers/All Others and Best Fascinator, a new category that features headpieces attached by a clip or headband.

“The hat business is booming,” said Julie Sarno in a news release, who began the contest in 1995 and continues to coordinate it each year. “More women are daring to wear hats and fascinators. Wearing a fascinator is like dipping your toe in the water. It completes the outfit but is not as big a commitment as a hat. A well-designed hat or fascinator completes an outfit, adding to its appeal and allure.”

In an interview, she added that hot pink is the trendy color this season.

Entries will be taken until 3 p.m., which will be the start of the hats parade.

In all categories except Best Fascinator, first place will win $300, while second place will receive $200 and third place will get $100. The winner of Best Fascinator will be given $100.

Tickets are $20 per person, and include table seating. They can be purchased on Opening Day through the Del Mar ticket office at (858) 792-4242 or at www.dmtc.com/season/tickets/.

Fast Facts
• Gates open: 11:30 a.m.
• First post: 2 p.m.

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