Hats off to Lorenzo
by Janis Barth - Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
Lorenzo does sport and pleasure like no other event. Set on the jewel-box grounds of the Lorenzo State Historic site, the competition takes full advantage of the lush surroundings.

Flash some ankle, dust off a straw boater and comport yourself as if the internal combustion engine had never been invented: This is Lorenzo Driving Competition weekend, and in Cazenovia they’ll be partying like it’s 1899.

Lorenzo does sport and pleasure like no other event. Set on the jewel-box grounds of the Lorenzo State Historic site, the competition takes full advantage of the lush surroundings. Spectators can learn about driving – check out the obstacle courses and the carriage dog class featuring incredibly well-behaved pooches – or simply enjoy the elegant combinations of horse, gleaming carriage and driver in Victorian finery. There is no charge for parking or to watch the competition, which begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and 10:15 a.m. Sunday.

Jean Glissen Photography

Gene Gissin Photography

While the days are filled with equine pursuits, the nights are set aside for the pursuit of happiness.

Friday, everyone is invited to the “Hats Off to Lorenzo” wine and cheese welcome reception, starting at 6 p.m. and followed at 7 p.m. by a BYO picnic on the mansion lawn overlooking Cazenovia Lake. Wear a proper chapeau to get in the spirit – “proper” being a term for something that would be perfectly at home on the Queen of England’s head – and to enter the annual hat contest, which this year will be judged by Larry Dietrich, editor-in-chief of the Syracuse New Times. There will also be complimentary horse-drawn wagon rides on the Lorenzo grounds by Lamplit Farms of Cazenovia, and a performance by the Cazenovia Community Band.

Saturday’s Brew and BBQ starts at 7 p.m. with music by Celtic band The Causeway Giants and dinner from the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que – marinated half chicken, St. Louis style ribs, black beans and rice, tomato cucumber salad  and Honey Hush cornbread – plus dessert. Wash it down with samples from Empire Brewing Co. of Syracuse, a World Beer Cup award winner, and Cazenovia’s Critz Farms Harvest Moon Cidery, whose handcrafted hard ciders have received medals in state and national competitions. Reservations only; tickets are $30 per person.

Information about how to make reservations for both nights, plus a full schedule of events, is available on the LDC website, lorenzodriving.com.

Spectator’s Guide

Never been? We can help

  • Pleasure Drive-pace: Cross-country course of about five miles, it challenges drivers to pace their horse(s) and finish as close as possible to an ideal time set in advance.
  • Obstacle Course: A test of precision driving against the clock through narrow “gates” marked by traffic cones with tennis balls balanced on top.
  • Carriage Dog Class: Dogs in hats. Need we say anything more than awwww?

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