IT’S unashamedly a showpiece of glitz, glamour and excess, the place to see and be seen in Durban.
On Saturday (today), after months of planning and frenetic marquee erections in tent town – it has surely graduated to a city now – Greyville Racecourse hosts Africa’s greatest horse racing event, the Vodacom Durban July.
Each year the hospitality suites grow larger, more elaborate and unusual – the first dome-shaped structure makes its entrance at today’s showpiece race.
The #VDJ, as it has become known, drives an economy all of its own.
Celebrities cash in on guest appearances at various functions on-course and off, and guests pay top dollar to be in the “right” marquee.
Event organisers and caterers work flat-out so everything runs perfectly for their wealthy hosts, knowing that success here will build their reputations and job opportunities for the future.
Fashion designers, who can charge a fortune for this annual event, will strive for maximum impact, hoping to be noticed and hired for even more best dressed contenders next year.
Taxi services, metered and online, will be driven off their wheels transporting guests to the big event and to post-parties and home again. There is even a helicopter taxi service for those determined to arrive in uber-style and fanfare.
Hotels in and around the city are packed as revellers from around the country and overseas descend on the city.
Even the weatherman has joined the party: after some possible light morning showers, today is expected to be cool and partly cloudy with highs at about 20°C, but getting chilly when the sun goes down.
Frippery and finery aside, security for the event will be tight, and metro police have given drivers fair warning that there will be roadblocks around the city.
We wish all at this special event a day of fun and full wallets, but also hope everyone gets home safely to enjoy their memories of the big day.
THE INDEPENDENT ON SATURDAY