Some of you may have heard the sad news that The Meadow, which was owned by the State Fair of Virginia, has been closed to the public. The Fair (a private, not for profit organization) was forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy on March 8 when the bank did not accept its plan to reorganize.
This was heart-breaking news for Virginians who grew up going to the Fair and especially for those of us who had enjoyed a long association with its staff. That association had become even more enjoyable in recent years as we worked together on the annual Secretariat birthday party, which the Fair hosted at The Meadow, and the popular “Secretariat’s Meadow Tours” for public and private groups. We even announced our “Secretariat’s Meadow” book there in 2010. It was very sad to see our friends lose their jobs.
Our book team did not want these circumstances to force the cancellation of the annual Secretariat’s Birthday celebration, planned for Saturday March 31. So we took this on as a volunteer effort and are happy to say that Randolph-Macon College in nearby Ashland will host the event on March 31 in Andrews Hall from 1 – 5 pm. There are longstanding ties with the college as Christopher Chenery, who founded The Meadow in 1936 as a Thoroughbred farm, attended school there, along with two of his brothers. Last year, Randolph-Macon awarded Penny Chenery an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Yes, the birthday program is scaled back but we still have fans coming from Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina and Delaware! That speaks volumes about what this magnificent horse means to people across the country!
1:00 pm. – Welcome and Presentation on the history of The Meadow, Secretariat and Riva Ridge by Kate Chenery Tweedy and Leeanne Meadows Ladin, co-authors of “Secretariat’s Meadow, The Land, The Family, The Legend”
- Meeting former Meadow grooms and jockeys and seeing Riva’s first training saddle
- Discussion of possible historical designation options for important sites at The Meadow
- Continuous showing of Secretariat’s and Riva’s most famous races
- Book signings and sale of Secretariat items
- Secretariat and Riva cake
- 3:00 p.m. – Repeat presentation by authors
- 5:00 p.m. – EVENT CONCLUDES
Tickets are $5 at the door and advance registration is required. Because seating is limited, we ask that you indicate whether you will attend the 1:00 pm or 3:00 pm presentation. Go to our website www.secretariatsmeadow.com for more info and to register.
As for The Meadow, we will keep our readers posted on future developments here, on our website and our Facebook page.
In any event, we sincerely hope that next year in 2013, we will be back at The Meadow to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown!
by Leeanne Meadows Ladin
co-author of “Secretariat’s Meadow”