It's time to party
By MADELEINE DOHERTY
AMERICAN writer Mark Twain was amazed by the Melbourne Cup. On a visit to Melbourne for the Cup in 1895 he said: "Nowhere in the world have I encountered a festival of people that has such a magnificent appeal to the whole nation. The Cup astonishes me." Nothing much has changed since then. Cup Day is Australia's most famous Tuesday. It's a day when champagne flows, huge hats are worn and racetrack fashions sometimes overshadow the business of the day - horse racing. And the appeal of the Cup is alive and well in the Tweed and on the Gold Coast with a variety of functions organised for those lucky enough to have the day off or game enough to take it off. For those wanting to experience the good old-fashioned hospitality of a country race meet, head to the Murwillumbah racetrack to enjoy country racing at its best. There's extra parking space this year to cater for the growing popularity of the event, live music and free bus services running from the clock in the main street from 11am to 1.30am (NSW time) and a return service from 5pm to 6.30pm. The Gold Coast Turf Club is planning lots of excitement. The club is inviting punters to bring a picnic rug and chairs and enjoy a picnic platter of prawns, oysters, bread rolls and a bottle of bubbly. The picnic platter costs $140 for four people so sit back and enjoy the fashion parades, the field competitions and live music. The Gold Coast Arts Centre is holding a Melbourne Cup luncheon with a fashion parade, raffles and auctions to support the Leukaemia Foundation. Tickets are $49 and includes a champagne cocktail, canapes on arrival and a two-course luncheon starting at 11am. Twin Towns Services Club's dynamic showroom on level 5 will come alive with all the magic of the Cup showing on the big screen. Festivities get underway at 12.30amwith a glass of champagne on arrival, a three-course luncheon, entertainment by Ken Bennett and the Child Bride, plus lots of competitions. Tickets cost $49.50 and are available from the booking office on 1800 014 014. If you're not looking for a big lunch, then head to level 1 of the club for live entertainment with Shindig, a hat parade and massive raffles, best dressed competition with compere Glen Brace, plus all the Cup action telecast on nine huge screens.