Langley School District Foundation's Grand Prix Gala is being held Sunday

Equine garden party in Langley helps feed hungry kids

Hat-wearing supporters come out for afternoon fun at the school district foundation's annual Grand Prix gala.

It’s a gala garden party under huge tents, offering spectacular views of rural Langley vista, ample food and wine, and front-row seating to one of the world’s premiere horse jumping competitions.

It’s the Langley School District Foundation’s 11th annual Grand Prix Gala. And, at least 250 people are once again expected to attend the afternoon party being held at Thunderbird Show Park this Sunday, June 5 in aid of hungry kids in this community, said Susan Cairns, the foundation’s executive director.

As one of Langley’s premiere and most popular events, the Grand Prix Gala offers ticketholders a day to remember, Cairns said.

It begins at 1 pm. Guests arrive at Thunderbird Show Park.

“You gasp in amazement. Set in the quiet countryside of rural Langley, the venue, honoured as one of the top three equestrian show facilities on the continent by the North American Riders Group, takes your breath away. You cast your eyes on the course – a professional horse jumping tract, crafted for the challenge, but impossibly charming with glistening white fences, water features, splashes of colourful flowers all set against a brilliant green swath of grass that extends for at least an acre,” she explained.

“You are greeted by a cheerful collection of well-hatted individuals who show you to your table.

“Situated on the patio overlooking the course you are close enough to the action to see drops of sweat glistening on the horses’ withers,” she said, noting this is the sixth year in a row the foundation gala has been held at Thunderbird, in conjunction with a large equestrian competition.

“While you are dealing with that, you are encouraged to sample the impressive array of award-winning wines from crisp, clean, snappy whites to full-bodied and robust reds. While strolling along the wine route, you check out the silent auction. There are hundreds of items ranging from get-aways to exquisite pieces of jewellery; from weekends on the town to days on the golf course; from excursions to the spa to tickets to sporting events.

“Now you are settled at your table (notice, if you will, the linen covers, contrasting napkins and bewitching table decorations). Servers arrive with tidbits of sinful flavour bites – shrimp canapés, fruit kabobs, tenderloin sliders, sushi and much more.

“Just when you think it can’t get any better, the first horse prances onto the field and the competition begins. This is world class. The horses come from all over the planet. It will be a day to talk about at the water cooler, the golf course or even the next fundraising gala you go to.”

And if that is not enough, Cairns said people can remember that  “Situated on the patio overlooking the course, you are close enough to the action to see drops of sweat glistening on the horses’ withers,” Cairns added, noting this is the sixth year in a row the foundation gala has been held at Thunderbird – in conjunction with a world-class equestrian competition.

“The horses are right in front of your face. You can see them and smell them,” said Cairns. “It will be a day to talk about at the water cooler, the golf course, or even the next fundraising gala you go to.”

Last year’s event raised close to $70,000, and this year’s gala is expected to match that, which Cairns said is imperative to the Food for Thought campaign and providing nutritious, breakfasts, lunches, and snacks to 3,000 students who go to school hungry every single day.

Gala tickets are $75 each or $480 for a table of eight, and available online at, or call 604-532-1464.

The gala runs from 1 to 4 p.m., and expecting it to be sunny again this year, organizers encourage guests to wear a hat – any fun hat – be it a cowboy or floppy hat, or even a fascinator. Cairns said hats have become a trademark component of this awareness and fundraising event.

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