Saddle Up for the Devon Horse Show
Get ready for this Main Line equestrian tradition with lots of family fun.
The oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed horse show in the country is returning to Devon from May 23 to June 2. The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair combines equestrians, family fun, and Main Line tradition in one fabulous 10-day event. Here’s everything you need to know to get in on the action—fancy hats optional, but highly recommended!
Don’t miss our Devon Horse Show Family Fun Pack Giveaways! Happening on the @mainlineparent Instagram for our Main Line Parent readers, and on our @phillyfamilymag Instagram for our Philly Family readers! Entries close at 8 am on 5/22/19.
The Devon Horse Show brings together top equestrians from a variety of disciplines including jumpers, equitation, hunters, eventing, Saddlebred, hackney, coaching, and more.
On the show’s opening weekend—also known as Junior Weekend—children and teens compete, which may be of particular interest. The Grand Prix night (May 30) gets especially crowded, so this might not be the best bet with little ones, but it is very exciting for older kids and adults who want to see the highest level of show jumping on display.
Not enough horses? Take a Back Barn Tour on the afternoon of May 28. These tours are free with admission and no registration is required. You can tour the stables and see a behind-the-scenes look at how the participants get ready for the show.
In addition to the equestrian competitions, there is also a dog show on the evening of May 23. It includes a costume parade, and all entrants get a ribbon! If you want to get in on the competition, there is still time to enter your dog. New this year are the Halo Awards, honoring dogs who provide service. Winners will be recognized during the Tribute to Heroes event on Memorial Day, May 27.
In addition to the Horse Show, Devon hosts a Midway at the Country Fair. This includes games and rides for kids including a Ferris wheel, carousel, and carnival games with prizes. You can buy tickets as you go, or buy unlimited Midway tickets online for $20 for the day, or $125 for the entire show.
Two more words: Lemon Sticks.
The food at the Devon Horse Show is just as much a tradition as the activities. There’s an old-timey candy stand with the aforementioned lemon sticks (candy stick stuck in a sugary lemon half)—it’s the best thing ever, and worth all the sticky fingers! There are also fair favorites like funnel cake, fries, and Basset’s ice cream.
Oh, and we’re told there’s some healthy food like salads and wraps, but who are we kidding? You’re going to be face-deep in cheese fries and you know it.
Another Devon tradition, the Devon Tea Cart is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The tea sandwiches are always a favorite, and definitely spring for a giant icy sweet tea on those hot days—and don’t forget to add mint!
The Country Fair has so many fantastic vendors, from equestrian gear, to antique home goods, to colorful clothing, and much more. Our kid-approved favorites are definitely pucciManuli’s toy store, and Bohemian Pink, which has adorable accessories for both kids and adults—we never make it out of there without some new hair bows.
There’s also an official Devon Horse Show souvenir shop with all the gear—clothes, toys, tote bags, stable blankets, you name it.
Every day at the Devon Horse Show is fun, but there are a few special events you may want to make a special note to attend.
May 23 and 28 are Family Days, with special deals all day on food, rides, and souvenirs at the Country Fair and Midway. June 2—Children’s Day– is even more family-friendly, with storytelling, cupcake decorating, gardening crafts, and even a therapy dog. Children’s Day will also include the Itty Bitty Hat Party and parade, where kids can decorate their own fancy hats (for $8) and then parade around to show off their creations. Kids’ activities on June 2 run from 9:30 am—noon. Admission to the show is free after noon on June 2.
On Saturday, May 25, there will be a special Itty Bitty Tea Party. Children will experience an afternoon of fun as they sip on refreshments, enjoy tea party treats and participate in a special craft. Separate tickets are required for this special event.
On May 27, there will be a Memorial Day celebration called Tribute to Heroes, featuring local military and emergency responders including an Honor Guard of local emergency first responders. Devon will also continue its tradition of honoring our community’s heroes—active and retired military, as well as police, fire, and EMT personnel get free admission for their families on Memorial Day.
Another signature event of the Devon Horse Show is Ladies Day, traditionally held the same day as the ladies’ sidesaddle competition (May 29). This involves a highly anticipated hat contest, filled with color, fashion, and old-school fabulousness.
The theme of the day’s events (which run from 10 am—2 pm) is “Enchanted Garden,” and we can’t wait to see what our favorite Main Line milliners, Zoya Egan and Tiffany Arey, have in store—they always bring the artistry and style! Participating in the hat contest requires a ticket, which also includes a cocktail reception and light hors d’oeuvres, but if you just want to come to people-watch and take in the day’s couture, plan to come that morning as a spectator. If you do want to go all in with a ticket, this is a fun opportunity for a grownup day while the kids are in school.
The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair runs from May 23 through June 2 at the Devon Horse Show grounds, located at 23 Dorset Road in Devon. The show opens at 8 am every day, and closes at 10 pm each day. The Country Fair portion (food, rides, and shopping) opens at 10 am every day. On the first Sunday of the show, the gates won’t open until 11 am. The show ends on June 2 at 3 pm, followed by a plant sale.
Tickets are available online, over the phone, or at the box office. General admission is $15 for adults, $7 for kids and seniors, and $10 for active members of the military. There is no charge for children 5 and under.
Reserved seats for specific dates and times are best to buy online so you can pick out your seat on the chart. You can also buy a $75 general admission ticket for the entire show, allowing you to come and go as you please throughout every day of the show.
Limited parking is available for spectators at the main lot on Dorset Road across from the main entrance of the grounds. This year, you can buy a parking pass for the entirety of the show online for $300, which guarantees you space in the lot. If you get lucky you can snag a spot for $15 the day you go (just don’t count on that). You may also find some luck parking at nearby lots, including St. John’s Presbyterian Church a few blocks away from the show, which offers discounted parking.
If you are taking public transportation, you can get to Devon on the Paoli/Thorndale line of SEPTA Regional Rail. Devon train station is directly across the street from the Devon Horse Show grounds.
Photographs by Laura Swartz.