"Once again, we're always pleased to host the Atlanta Steeplechase here at Kingston Downs because it gives us an opportunity to bring so many people to the community," Wheeler said. "It's a great annual event. It regularly draws 20,000 to 25,000 people and these people come in [and] spend money. They gas up their cars, eat in our restaurants and some even stay overnight.
"We look forward to showing off our community. It's a great season to do so. Everything's quite lovely and it's always a great economic influx to our community through sales tax and expenditures."
While the U.S. Disc Dog Southern Nationals has returned to its previous venue, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, the Atlanta Steeplechase still will feature numerous well-known offerings. Starting at 9 a.m., the event will provide activities throughout the day, some of which include horse races, a hat contest, Jack Russell terrier races, Robinson Racing Pigs, pony rides, hay rides and Parade of the Bear Creek Hounds.
While the majority of spectators are from the metro Atlanta area, the event also draws people from throughout the Southeast.
"We get people from Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee -- people that have been coming for a long time and maybe have moved and still come back for the race," said India Watson, marketing director for the Atlanta Steeplechase. "But our core is really the Rome, Cartersville area as well as Atlanta. It kind of goes in a 'V,' [with] Atlanta being the bottom of the 'V,' up to Alpharetta and then over to the Marietta corridor and then the Rome, Cartersville area.
"Most of our feedback is, 'There is nothing like it in Georgia, with it being a one-day event [during the] year.' So people do plan around it. We have people that will call in that maybe are planning weddings or family reunions and want to find out our date in advance, so they're not [scheduled] on that day. A lot of people talk about it [being a] way to disconnect from the busyness of their lives and be out with friends and family and just enjoy the day eating and drinking, [enjoying] the races and not dealing with the everyday stress of life."
For more information about the Atlanta Steeplechase, visit www.atlantasteeplechase.org or call 404-237-7436. General admission tickets, which cost $30 per person, can be obtained at select Publix Supermarkets and www.ticketmaster.com through April 16 at 11 a.m. Children 12 and younger will be admitted at no charge.