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Yonkers prepping for fourth annual Fall Harvest Festival
Thursday, September 27, 2012 - by Frank Drucker, publicity director, Empire City at Yonkers Raceway

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Yonkers, NY --- Yonkers Raceway is reprising one of its much-anticipated nights of the racing season, readying for the fourth annual Fall Harvest Festival.

The Festival, scheduled for this Saturday (Sept. 29), offers fun events for the entire family while again showcasing the thriving relationship between horse racing and agriculture throughout New York State.

Many of the staples from Festivals past are included in this season's edition, which takes place on the track apron from 5:30-9:30 p.m.

There's face painting, pumpkin painting, a petting zoo and live music, along with the chance to purchase New York-made wine, cheese, candy and caramel apples, cider, fudge, peanut butter, beer (with proper ID), a cigar lounge (for Elite Empire Club members), baked goods and other delicacies. Tickets for all activities and food/drink items are available for purchase at the event.

Since the Raceway does have the reputation for hosting some of the best harness racing anywhere, the $400,000 Fall Harvest Series highlights the action on the track. Eight $50,000 events for New York-bred pacers and trotters are scheduled (first post 7:10 p.m.).

In addition, there's the annual Legislators' Challenge, featuring elected officials from across the state (and both sides of the aisle) doing battle in non-wagering -- though highly-competitive -- races. This season’s Challenge find 12 legislators competing in three divisions (post time at 5:30, 5:45 and 6 p.m.).

Scheduled to go after bragging rights are (alphabetically) Assembly Members Michael Benedetto (D-Bronx), Mike Dendekker (D-E. Elmhurst), Shelley Mayer (D-Yonkers), Gary Pretlow (D-Mt. Vernon), Andrew Raia (R-E. Northport), Phil Ramos (D-Central Islip), Addie Russell (D-Theresa), Joseph Saladino (R-Massapequa), Eric Stevenson (D-Bronx) and Keith Wright (D-Manhattan), along with State Senators Jim Alesi (R-E. Rochester) and Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx).

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano is going to be on hand to make the winner’s circle presentations.

"We're excited to bring back the Fall Harvest Festival," Raceway general manager Bob Galterio said. "Our fans and employees look forward to it every year, and we get to showcase Empire City, Yonkers Raceway, harness racing and New York State during one exciting night."

“The Harvest Festival does a great job highlighting the strong connection between harness racing and agriculture in New York State,“ Standardbred Owners of New York president Joe Faraldo said. “The evening’s Legislators’ Challenge races are a terrific way for state legislators to learn first-hand just how exciting our sport really is.”


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