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Vancouver Polo Festival, Southlands Riding Club

This is the first time I am hearing of this event and the first time I have attended it. And coming off of it fresh, I must declare this as one of the Top 3 must-attend social events in Vancouver, for the year. And if you have missed out last Saturday’s (August 13th, 2022) festivities, be sure to bookmark this post for next year’s occasion. It lands right up there with Dine En Blanc (happening 08/18/22 this week). Both events are now being hosted by the same agency and if Dine En Blanc will be anything like today’s Polo soiree, we are in for a treat.

Parking was a struggle and a tough way to start, an otherwise great event. There aren’t any designated lots, just un-marked field and gravel parking. I was more than willing to pay whatever required valet fee to avoid the stress of circling and the pain of trying to beat out the next guy for a place to stop. However, unbeknownst to me, valet parking was prepaid and/or cash only. I was willing to park and give them a personal belonging to hold on to, as I ran to the ATM at the nearby Golf Club, to get the $10 cash only fee. However, my offer was refused by the bouncer station at the gate. Luckily with help of my guest Joyce of @monkeyeatsworld, I was able to wedge into a spot and not have to rage quit.

From there it was a bit of walking to find out where the polo club was, and where we were supposed to enter from. We would later find out that there was another party/event in the area, causing confusion with its bumping beats and check-in table out front. We eventually found stables and the Southlands Riding Club check-in shortly after.

Access is based on tickets purchased. General admission gives you access to the ground and the ability to shop vendors selling arts and fashion goods. Food was available for purchase through food trucks and food carts. Pizza and hotdogs to name a few. We heard of and had to try Legends Haul’s wagyu hot dogs. A quality wiener steamed, then grilled, and place in between 2 buns for you to dress yourself with more than just ketchup or mustard. More exotic hot dog toppings included pesto, deep fried shallots, a fruit chutney, and corn flakes. This one was fun, but not necessarily representative of the more formal affair.

As for beverages, drinks were sold at several kiosks and included cocktails and alcohol from Heineken, their beer sponsor and sparking from Veuve Clicquot, their wine sponsor. We would try the 3 event signature cocktails available at the VIP/media bar.

I liked the fruity forward Flying Canaccord with tequila, rosemary, and grapefruit. The highlight was the perfectly carved rectangular ice cube, that fit just so in the glass.

The Southside Shakedown featured similar carved ice, but this time carved into a box block. And poured over with gin, mint syrup, lime, and spice.

And the Throwing Shade cocktail was a mix of vodka, smokey pineapple syrup, lemon, and chilli. A spicy cocktail made more demur with the garnish of rose buds.

Although the best value for alcoholic beverages was a visit to the wines of Argentina booth, to fill up on wine samples from 8 different makers, pouring from 4-6 different bottles. Of which included samples of white, red, and sparkling. This went on until supplies poured out.

However, my favourite spot and drink was a glass of Champagne at either of the two Veuve Clicquot lounges. Both well marked with their iconic orange and white branding. The one open to everyone was located by a giant photo-op sign guests could pose in front of.

This was best done, after purchasing a glass of their sparking, poured into an orange plastic goblet, that you could take home as a souvenir. Here, you can grab a seat on any of their available matching stools, folding chairs with throw cushions, or high-top tables with matching chairs, which included large stripped patio umbrellas providing shade.

As for the actual polo match. The sport is played by the owner who owns and rides his own horse. Today they were performing an exhibition match with a smaller face off, with less players on the field. Although would give out the same number of cups and trophies as per any full-fledged match up.

As a first time attendee, I appreciated how the announcer took the time to walk spectators through the sport. They included an explanation on how to score and why particular tricky moves deserved our fanfare. Guests were invited to watch on the several match-up on the side lines, or to grab a seat on the bleachers, under the hot sun.

Many attendees came as a group, reserving one of the event tents with its own furnishings. We were luckily enough to be able to spend our time at the Veuve Clicquot VIP lounge, where they were pouring unlimited glasses of Veuve Clicquot Champagne to all their entry only guests.

Bubbly served in slightly larger goblets than the ones we purchased above, or glasses with their orange branding on the stem. Here, we drank our fill, snacked on the available grazing board, took advantage of the photo ops, and waiting in line for a fully flushable portable trailer toilet.


During the half time show, attendees got the opportunity to get up-close and personal with the athletes and their riding companions; with the ability to ask questions and pose for photos.

And as we walked to the playing field, we were invited to complete the divot stomp individually. This is a long-standing half-time tradition in the sport of polo. It is where spectators converge on the field to stomp down the turf that has been torn up by the horse’s hooves, during a match. Thankfully, most of the horses’ excrement had already been removed and the ground soft enough that even those who wore heels had a good go of the stomp.

For dinner we nibbled with the VIPs, picking up plates of potatoes and roasted vegetable, and piling on our choice of either sausage, chicken, steak, or lamb. And then topping it all with a tomato salsa and chimichurri.

In conclusion, this has been one of the most entertaining and engaging events I have attended to date. I strongly suggest staying up to date with all Vancouver Polo Festival news and to spurge on the VIP passes for next year, when they become available. Witness a great sport in a unique venue, with great food and drink options. I will definitely be there.

Southlands Riding Club
7025 MacDonald St, Vancouver, BC, V6N 1G2

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