As jockey Kent Desormeaux of Garden City eyes the Triple Crown, hoping to ride Big Brown to victory in the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes, his son, Jacob, will serve as the guest of honor in the Garden City Belmont Festival Parade, Friday evening, June 6.
The fearless 9-year-old, who suffers from Ushers syndrome, has been the focus of recent national headlines following his father's success with Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown. Jacob, accompanied by his mother, Sonia, will greet racing fans as part of the annual parade - a fan favorite on the eve of the running of the third leg of the Triple Crown.
To celebrate the 140th running of the Belmont Stakes, acclaimed author Nelson DeMille, also of Garden City, will lead the Belmont Festival parade through downtown Garden City, as grand marshal.
Sponsored by National Grid and The Garden City Hotel, the perennially popular Garden City festival parade will begin at 7 p.m. at 9th Street and Franklin Avenue, then wind its way south toward 7th Street onto Hilton Avenue and conclude at the Village Gazebo.
The pre-parade activities will get under way at 6 p.m. with a street festival on 7th Street between Franklin and Hilton Avenues. All merchants on 7th Street are encouraged to enter a window-decorating contest to show their support and enthusiasm for the Belmont Festival and the Belmont Stakes. Prizes will be awarded to the most creative shopkeepers.
The parade and festivities include a number of exciting events and activities, including a performance by The Islip Horsemen's Association Long Island Drill Team. A Long Island mainstay for over 30 years, the drill team will step-up the celebration as its skilled riders and horses offer a lively performance.
The parade will also include the family of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who captured the 2006 Belmont Stakes with Jazil and the 2006 Breeders' Cup Classic with Horse of the Year Invasor; and the family of trainer Todd Pletcher, who captured the 2007 Belmont Stakes with filly Rags to Riches and has won the Eclipse Award for leading trainer the past four years. Both families will be escorted in cars courtesy of Garden City Saab.
The first, second and third place winners of the children's poster contest, which was sponsored by Sunflower Fine Art & Framing on Seventh Street, will be announced at the festival and were invited to walk in the parade Friday evening. All submitted artwork will be on display in shop windows along the parade route on 7th Street and Franklin Avenue.
The Garden City street festival will also include clowns and face painters, courtesy of the New York Racing Association, giant inflatables courtesy of Coca-Cola, giveaways courtesy of the New York Lottery, live music, street performers and a "Taste of Garden City" with local restaurateurs and food vendors lining the avenue.