A Summer Day at the Polo Fields
This past Saturday I was honored to be invited to Portland's third annual Polo Noir by Provenance Hotels. I had never been to a Polo match before and had absolutely no idea what to expect! When I heard "polo match" I immediately thought of that scene in My Fair Lady at the horse races as well as the Gossip Girl episode where Serena steals one of the horses and rides off in hopes of getting her Dad's attention. In both of those scenes, everyone is dressed very fancy and of course has elaborate hats on. Although I expected the event would be somewhat fancy and bougie, the polo event was also being held in Portland which is the opposite of fancy.
I brought along my old co-worker and fellow blogger Sophie of Gracefully Worn as my guest. We both decided on long dresses and sun hats with block heeled shoes. Since the fields are decently out there in the country, there was plenty of parking and tons of golf carts shuttling guests from their cars to the entrance.
At the entrance we headed to our special check in tent and collected souvenir wine glasses as well as our VIP pass. The check in tents were at the top of the hill overlooking the massive polo field which really is HUGE. One nice benefit about a huge field though is that there is plenty of room for tents and chairs. There were tents along both sides of the field for optimal views of the action! On the side of the field where our tent was located, there was a music stage as well as booths offering samples of a variety of things ranging from mini tequila drinks to water-proof blankets. There were only three VIP tents besides the smaller private tents that individuals can purchase for the events. Scattered between the tents were rows of provided seats for guests to sit and watch the game though it was still recommended that attendance bring their own lawn chairs since there were far from enough chairs for everyone.
Our tent provided by Provenance Hotels and Stoller Family Estate was absolutely adorable! On the outside was a hedge advertising Stoller Wine and Provenance Hotel which made for a really cute photo background. Upon entering the tent, there was a table to the right which was the private bar offering various drinks for purchase including wines and champagnes from Stoller Vineyards as well as other spirits. To the left was the massive complimentary feast provided by Bullard which is the restaurant that will be a part of the newest Provenance hotel. There was enough food for the several hour long event and every time I revisited the food table, there was a different type of meat to try. In the right corner of the tent near the entrance, was a photo booth with a fun, leaf print backdrop as well as a staff member to assist with the photos. The middle of the tent was scattered with seating arrangements and then the far end of the tent, right next to the field, was lined with rows of chairs to offer guests a front row view of the game.
I was incredibly honored to get invited as one of the Provenance Hotel's guests for the event. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that earlier this summer I met up with some Seattle bloggers who came down to Portland for a girls weekend trip. We met up at The Dossier which is actually one of the Provenance Hotels. They have hotels located in several states but their newest hotel called The Woodlark is set to open in Portland this coming December. The interior of the tent was decorated in a similar manner as the hotel will be so if you love plants and aesthetically pleasing interiors, The Woodlark is the place for you.
The overall event included two polo matches followed by an early evening concert by The Head and the Heart which is a somewhat local band from Seattle, WA. For those of you who are not familiar with the game of Polo (aka me still), each team has four players and then there is a referee. In the case of these games, all of the players were on brown horses whose tails were braided and whose manes had but cut short. The referee then rode around on a white horse in their striped referee jersey. All of the players except for one, were male. During the awards ceremony, it was really cool getting to see the one woman player up there who also ended up winning a trophy for most improved.
During the game, there are two goal posts at opposing ends and the team's goal is to knock the ball between the goal post of their opponent. Unlike soccer or lacrosse, there are no goalies in polo nor are there nets between the two goal posts. Although the players were aggressive in trying to steal the ball from each other, the horses seemed quite tame and very well trained. The players had to use one hand to hold and steer the horse while using the other hand to hold their wooden mallet and try to hit the ball. Out of the many team sports our country has, polo is definitely a fun, fast-paced game to watch! The ball can however fly at very fast speeds so there is the potential to get hurt if a stray ball hits you.
Due to the many hooves running across the grass as well as the divots caused by the mallets, by the end of a game, there are tufts of grass everywhere as well as a few piles of horse poop. One of the best traditions of polo though is the divot stomp that happens after the first game. During this time, all of the viewers get to come on the field and "stomp the divots" back in place. Overall, I had an absolute BLAST at Polo Noir and definitely plan to attend next year. If you are able to, I highly recommend attending a polo match plus it is the perfect excuse to get dressed up for a day! I am so glad Provenance Hotel invited me and that I got to share my experience with you all!
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