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New 'Racing, Music & Fireworks' Event Draws 34,704 to Arlington
Arlington Park's new Independence Day weekend event on July 3 - a continuous event consisting of racing, music and fireworks - was warmly greeted by a crowd of 34,704 on a beautiful summer afternoon-evening.
"For 2009, we decided to create a reasonably priced ticketed event that included a day of Thoroughbred racing, plus live music and fireworks in order to ensure the best possible experience for those guests purchasing tickets," said Arlington Park President Roy Arnold. "Our fans responded enthusiastically to this new event and took advantage of our online ticketing system to receive a discounted admission price."
The attendance was spurred by a record 11,000 advanced online general admission ticket purchases, which offered a special reduced general admission price of $3. Walk-up general admission at the gate was just $5.
The crowd was so large that at 6:10 p.m., Arlington Park in conjunction with Arlington Heights officials decided to suspend walk-up ticket sales early, restricting the event to those already in attendance and those who purchased tickets in advance. Many of the several thousand people that choose to view fireworks from outside the building had to compete for their favorite viewing spots from the surrounding grounds.
"In the interest of safety, the Arlington Heights Fire Department concurs with Arlington Park management that the safe capacity for the facility has been met with the current attendance and anticipated arrival of advanced ticket holders," said Arlington Heights Fire Department Chief Glen Ericksen at the time the decision was made.
Those in attendance were treated to 10 exciting Thoroughbred races plus music by Four Man Band in the Park area as well as a special performance in the winner's circle by the Bob Dylan tribute band B.O.T.T. and a fireworks extravaganza that lasted 30 minutes.