Summer Saturday evenings at Morven Park will see a bit more action starting in July, as Morven Park debuts its inaugural Polo in the Park season.
Beginning July 1, arena polo matches, picnicking, and dancing will become summer Saturday night staples at the 1,000-acre historic estate, once home to Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis. The nine-week season concludes Aug. 26.
Morven Park Executive Director Stephanie Kenyon said the addition of Saturday night polo to Morven Park’s offerings goes toward the goal of welcoming equestrian and horse events of all types, and positioning the estate as the “Central Park” of Loudoun County.
“History and horses is what this is all about, and polo is an effort to bring both of those together,” she said. “One of the strategic things we’re doing … is making this place more like the Central Park of Northern Virginia. Come, escape the development, take a walk, walk the dog.”
Kenyon said the Polo in the Park is modeled after the success of Great Meadow’s summertime Twilight Polo series, where both horse enthusiasts and casual spectators, singles, couples, and families, take in matches with a picnic dinner and bottle of wine. Professional polo player Juan Salinas-Bentley, who introduced the Twilight Polo concept to Great Meadow, has been one of the individuals who was instrumental in creating a similar concept for Morven Park, Kenyon said. Like Twilight Polo, Polo in the Park will also be a family-friendly affair, including fun halftime games like tug-of-war, and the night’s festivities will end with dancing in a pavilion tent.
Kenyon said organizers hope to attract a part of Loudoun County, and even Fairfax County, that may not make the trek to Great Meadow. The ideal location just outside of downtown Leesburg also makes spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment trips to take in a polo match more feasible. Morven Park is also working with Visit Loudoun to achieve one of the tourism body’s goals of creating more evening tourism opportunities.
“One of the things they’d like to see when people come out to Loudoun County and go to wineries or breweries is that they have something to do in the evenings so they end up staying in hotels and eating in restaurants,” she said. Polo in the Park is “a real nice complement to all the things Visit Loudoun is doing to attract people to come here and stay here.”
The polo arena is being constructed in the existing Davis Arena, but its walls will be taken down at the end of the Polo in the Park season to allow for fall equestrian events like hunter-jumper and dressage. But, for July and August, it will be dedicated to polo, Kenyon said.
“We’ll gauge its success and grow it this year and the year after that,” she said of the polo initiative.
Each night of the Polo in the Park season will feature two matches, with one starting at 7 p.m. and the other at 8:30 p.m. Gates for spectators will open at 6 p.m. Stone Tower Winery has signed on as the official wine sponsor of Polo in the Park and will be onsite at each event selling wine by the glass or bottle. Guests may also bring their own wine to enjoy. Current gold sponsors supporting Polo in the Park include Climatic Heating and Cooling, and K2M.
General parking passes for Polo in the Park can be purchased in advance online at morvenparkpolo.org for $35, or $40 at the gate. As attendance at each event is expected to draw between 800 and 1,000 spectators, purchasing car passes in advance is strongly advised.
Box seating along the rails, tailgate spots, and VIP lawn seating are available to sponsors at the gold, silver, and bronze levels, respectively. More information on sponsorships can be found online at morvenparkpolo.org, by calling 703-777-2414, or by emailing email@example.com.