This year for the first time in its history, the Melbourne Cup Carnival is going ahead without crowds. Whilst we can’t go to Flemington this year, many traditions continue, and we can all still enjoy the Carnival by celebrating at home. Since March, I have been dressing up and making an event of following the races at home. Along the way, I have learnt a few tricks I can share with you to help make your Melbourne Cup Carnival a special occasion.
Words & photos: @AngelaMenz
Just like preparing to go to the track, a raceday at home begins with good preparation. There are plenty of things you can do before the event, to ensure a smooth and stress-free day. Think about your menu, and shop in advance, or place an order at your local restaurant. Pull out your best china, favourite dress, and hat. Because Melbourne Cup Carnival is a perfect reason to use your finest things.
I like to think of the race day I am celebrating and theme my decorations around it. For example, Derby day is known for its black and white theme so I will make sure black and white is the key focus. Melbourne Cup day is all about colour and fun, so I’ll decorate with bright colours and for Oaks day (also known as Ladies Day), I’ll go with a feminine edge and lean towards shades of pink. Simple decorations like some balloons and streamers will make a big impact on setting the raceday mood and help you get into the carnival spirit. If your thinking of fresh flowers, take a nod to tradition and look to the official flowers of each raceday. Melbourne Cup’s official flower is the yellow rose.
For my racedays at home, I’ve chosen to cook and bake for some, or when I didn’t have time to DIY, popped into my favourite local stores to pick up some tasty treats. Many hospitality providers have also put together special hampers, so you just have to order in advance, and everything is delivered to your door. My tip for preparing a raceday menu is to have some substantial savory items to fill you up and have a selection of snacks and sweets that you can graze on all afternoon. To make things feel special, pay attention to your presentation and channel your inner chef as you plate up.
Champagne is a classic raceday drink, and the pop of a champagne cork goes hand in hand with celebration. If you feel creative, why not try out some cocktails with your favourite spirits. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, take the opportunity to make some fancy mocktails. Just ensure you’ve got ice in the freezer ready to go!
How To Watch
You can watch all the action on free to air TV on Channel 10. Alternatively, if you’re out in the garden with a picnic set up, you can also download the 10 Play app and watch via live stream. I’d suggest checking the times for the big race at the start of the day so you don’t miss the main event.
Have A Punt
If you’re over 18 and planning on having a flutter on the horses, make sure you set up an online betting account in advance. There are a few well known apps that you can download on your phone (such as TAB, Sportsbet and Ladbrokes) and follow the steps to sign up. You don’t have to spend much money and can place bets as small as $1. If you aren’t sure how to choose a horse, I’d suggest looking at one of the top 3 or 4 most favoured horses as a good place to start. Otherwise if you’re feeling really lost, listen to the experts on TV for some tips on selecting a winner. You can download a racebook online the day before raceday or get a copy of a form guide online or in the newspaper.
We’ve all had enough of wearing tracksuits this year. If there was ever a reason to wear your most fabulous clothes, the Melbourne Cup Carnival is it! Maybe you’ve got a dress hiding in the cupboard waiting for a special occasion? Something you've spotted in the window of a local boutique? Perhaps an outfit you absolutely love and feel special wearing? That’s the outfit you should wear to celebrate. You can also relish the opportunity to wear your favourite shoes that make your feet hurt, since you won’t have to walk anywhere.
For racedays at home, you can choose to go in a couple of directions. Either select millinery that’s small and easy to wear. Padded and jewelled headbands, or small cocktail hats and fascinators are a good place to start. That way you can forget you are wearing it when you are enjoying the festivities at home and cheering your horse past the winning post. Or you can choose to wear your biggest, boldest hat and not have to worry about anything like bad weather or gusty wind getting in the way of your millinery choices.
Take lots of photos. Share your photos on social media and with your friends. Not only will it encourage you to go all out, but why not document the strangest Melbourne Cup Carnival we’ve ever experienced? It’ll be fun to look over the memories in the years ahead. If you want to check out how others are celebrating the Melbourne Cup Carnival and what they are wearing, search the official hashtags on social media #MelbCupCarnival #LoveCupWeek and #CupWeekFashion .
If betting on the horses isn’t enough for you, the VRC are running some fun competitions with fantastic prizes to encourage everyone to dress up and celebrate at home. All you have to do is upload your best photos to Instagram. With four different categories, there is something for everyone. The categories are- Family Ties: Dress up and get the whole family involved (furry friends included), Mad Hatters: Get creative! It’s all about creating something showstopping, outrageous and fun to wear on your head. Cup week Costumes: Dress up anyway you choose from fancy dress to fantasy and Lounge in Style: Dress like you’re attending the most stylish garden party ever. The official website CupWeek2020.com.au has all the details.
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