By Matt Bunke, Community Editor
One of summer’s most popular fundraisers returns to the BlackBerg Ranch in Watertown this weekend when Freedom Farm hosts its fifth annual Polo Event.
The annual event, which benefits Freedom Farm, a therapeutic riding center in Waverly, will take place Saturday, July 14, with gates opening at 11 a.m. The main attraction will be the polo match set to begin at 1:30 p.m., but there are plenty of other fun activities for the whole family scheduled throughout the day.
The day gets started with a kids polo match at noon, which precedes the feature match. Family activities also get started on the grounds at noon and run through 3 p.m. Lord Fletchers will also be serving food and beverages from the time gates open at 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Family entertainment this year includes carriage rides, a petting zoo with pony rides, face painting and a kids’ craft tent. There will also be items raffled off throughout the event, including for several Watertown area businesses. Gift certificates for D’Vinci’s, Market Place Foods and Timber Creek Golf Course are among the items that will raffled off.
Popular activities also return at halftime of the featured match, including the divot stomp and hat contest.
Halftime will also feature a live auction, including items such as a trip on a private jet for a tour of the oil fields in North Dakota, several vacations, a youth ATV, a grill, and much more.
Tickets to the event, held at 1980 Sally Ave, cost $10, and are available at the gate. Children under 10 years old are admitted for free. There are also VIP tents available for $1,000 or $1,500, and there are numerous sponsorship opportunities still available for area businesses, including the divot stomp, hat contest and petting zoo.
Money raised at the event, Freedom Farm’s largest fundraiser of the year, will support the non-profit organization dedicated to teaching riding skills to people with cognitive and physical disabilities, while giving them a sense of freedom and independence. Freedom Farm opened in 2000, and the Polo Event started in 2008, when it drew roughly 350 people. That number doubled by its second year, with the number of attendees beginning to approach 1,000 the past couple of years.
Organizers this year are hoping for more cooperative weather than they got last year. Heavy rains the week leading up to the event caused swampy conditions, forcing the featured polo match to be replaced by an exhibition and skills competition.