WITH the Chester Races May Festival a week away, the racecourse has been preparing for the 60,000 punters who will flock to the city.
Each year the preparations for the May Festival and the racing season ahead are managed on a grand scale.
More than 850 additional local jobs are created by the racecourse, before and during the festival, and in the build up all hands are on deck to get the course in tip top condition before it falls under the national racing spotlight once again. Every drainpipe has been primed and painted as has each and every iron railing and skirting board at the course.
During the May Festival more than 100,000 pints of lager will be drunk as well as 12,000 gallons of tea and coffee washed down with 45,000 cakes for afternoon tea.
More than 10,000 bottles of champagne and 25,000 glasses of Pimms will be consumed.
A first for this year, and to ensure drinks are served at the right temperature, the racecourse has called in their very own ‘Mr Frosty’. Over the last two weeks, Anthony Frost has been preparing 32 pallets of ice cubes 24,000kg of ice stored in seven industrial freezers
More than 9,000 hospitality meals will be served over the three May Festival days with chefs busy preparing more than 6 tonnes of potatoes, 40 tonnes of haddock, 3,000 crabs and 20,000 rounds of sandwiches.
Head of catering Phil Dougherty said: “Preparing for the May Festival is a massive operation. From the additional hundreds of catering and bar staff that are recruited, to the food and drink ordering.”
Richard Thomas, chief executive of Chester Racecourse, said: “I am hugely proud of all the people who have worked so hard to make the racecourse look as spectacular as it does today.
“We believe the May Festival is not just a racing showcase but a showcase of Chester – the Racing City, and we know that all over the city restaurants, bars, shops and hotels are doing the same thing as us, making their venue look spectacular for the 60,000 people who converge on our city.”