Hurricane Earl threatened to ruin one of the Hampton’s biggest parties of the summer: The 35th Annual Hampton Classic, a venerable celebration of equestrian sport that takes place every year throughout Labor Day weekend. Hurricane Belle delayed the first Hampton Classic in 1976, and this year history was given the chance to repeat itself.
Many in the Hampton’s upscale party scene refer to the horse jumping event as “the last big party of the season.” As of Thursday, talks of evacuations loomed as the competition unfolded. Three hundred horses that had already competed were sent home as a precaution. Organizers were concerned not only about the safety of the animals if the storm did hit, but also of the ability of the tents in which they are housed to stand up to heavy gusts of wind.
Currently, about 1,300 horses remain at the Bridgehampton showgrounds in tents designed to withstand storm winds, however transportation vans for the horses are being lined up along the Long Island Expressway just in case an evacuation is necessary.
With Hurricane Earl quickly waning as it makes its way up North Carolina’s Outer Banks and over the Eastern Coast, the Hampton Classic is still on for the weekend with a slightly modified schedule. Organizers, along with the rest of long Island, are closely monitoring the storm’s progress and posting regular updates on the Hampton classic website.