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posted: 7/14/2014 1:03 PM

Polo tournament fundraiser set for Sunday in Batavia

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  • A Seniors Polo Tournament will take place Sunday, July 20, in Batavia.

    A Seniors Polo Tournament will take place Sunday, July 20, in Batavia.
    Courtesy of Batavia Arts Council

Batavia Arts Council

Many people do not know there is a polo field in Batavia. Blackberry Polo Field is on Bliss Road, just south of Main Street.

Once a year, a Seniors Polo Tournament takes place at the field and its owners, Barb and George Alexander, use the event as a fundraiser for various local organizations.

This year the beneficiaries are the Batavia Arts Council and Batavia's Shakespeare on Clark.

"This is such a family-friendly event," Jamie Saams, Art Council board member, stated in a news release. "We have attended each year with our boys and everyone just loved it."

The event begins at noon Sunday, July 20, with families driving into the polo field sidelines to establish their picnic areas.

"Each year there is a theme, and participants can opt to decorate their picnic tailgate area to the theme for a chance to win special prizes," Shakespeare on Clark founder Julane Sullivan stated in a news release. "And throughout the event there are other auction prizes to bid on and all kinds of family activities."

This year the theme is Cirque Du Polo, a circus theme, which gives tailgaters a wide range of concepts to decorate their areas, select their menus, and costume or wear hats in keeping with the theme.

"If you aren't creative, or just don't want to put the energy into theming your picnic area, that is OK, too. It is whatever makes it fun, relaxing and enjoyable for you," Sullivan said.

The polo tournament is the highlight of the event, with teams from around the country coming to compete. Sunday is the championship match -- the best of the best playing against each other to win the touring trophy.

"You don't have to know polo rules," Barb Alexander said. "We provide an announcer during the final match who not only calls the game, but explains the rules to those in attendance. We know most people coming out to see the match are not familiar with polo, and we want to make it as interesting as possible by sharing the rules."

Between "chukkers," the equivalent of innings in polo matches, spectators can head out onto the field to stomp down the divots. George Alexander offers rides around the field on his red wagon drawn by Clydesdale horses.

There are games and activities to keep the children amused. A round of Beach Ball Polo is planned for the children in between chukkers, with prizes for participation for everyone.

The two finalist teams are being sponsored by Confident Aire and Bulldog Plumbing. To cheer on a team, flag pennants can be purchased on-site for $1. After the match, those who have the color of the winning team will win a small prize.

"We want everyone to understand this is a fundraiser," Saam said. "The Batavia Arts Council's primary goal is to raise funds so we can support artists and art projects in Batavia. We are raising funds with the event primarily through ticket sales, successful auction items, and through sponsorships. "

Tickets for the polo tournament are available online at Tickets in advance are $10 per person or $30 for a carload. Prices go up to $15 per person and $45 per car on the day of the event. The event starts at noon, with the tournament beginning at 1 p.m. and ending around 4 p.m. with a trophy presentation.

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