Ferndale races return this month, along with a popular tradition

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Horse racing returns to the North Coast this month as part of the Humboldt County Fair.

The 127th Humboldt race meet will take place on back-to-back weekends on Aug. 18-20 and 25-27.

And this year’s event will feature the popular “Ladies Hat Day At The Races” on Aug. 26, a day that has become one of the annual highlights at the fair.

The 11th annual hat day is the brainchild of Cindy Olsen and is once again expected to draw a huge turnout on an afternoon that has traditionally drawn the biggest crowds at the Humboldt Fair.

Olsen will be assisted this year by the Ferndale Jockey Club and the event will be sponsored by Redwood Capital Bank.

Contestants will be competing for increased cash prizes and other awards in various “Hatagories.”  

The always popular “parade of the hats” will be staged in front of the grandstand on the race track after that afternoon’s fourth race. 

Winners will be announced after the sixth race.

The grand prize People’s Choice winner will receive a $1,500 cash voucher, dinner for two at the Sea Grill Restaurant in Eureka, a $250 “Spa Day” at Pure Makeup, flowers and a special trophy, along with being featured on next year’s Ladies Hat Contest poster.

But instead of a group of judges determining the grand prize champion, applause from the grandstand and area surrounding the winners’ circle will decide the champion based on a special applause meter.

The overall runner-up will receive a $500 cash voucher and bottle of champagne. 

Third, fourth and fifth place winners will earn $250 cash vouchers each. 

In addition, there will be three honorable mention winners who will each receive $100 cash vouchers.

The “Hatagories” include Most Glamorous, Best Couple, Best Racing Theme, Funniest or Most Outrageous and Best Group. 

Sign-ups for the Ladies Hat Contest can be made at a booth just inside the race track entrance starting at 2 p.m.

Rex Bohn will again serve as the master of ceremonies. 

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