Point-to-Point at Winterthur, the quintessential celebration of Chateau Country, took place Sunday at the counry estate that spans Greenville and Centreville. The 33rd annual event drew 12,000 people.
Chateau Country must have caught President Thomas Jefferson’s eye when he dubbed Delaware the Diamond State.
And the Winterthur Country Estate established by Henry Francis du Pont is one of the crown jewels of the area. Therefore, Point-to-Point at Winterthur is arguably the quintessential celebration of Chateau Country.
Indeed, it has quite a draw.
The 33rd annual Point-to-Point drew 12,000 people to the estate that spans Greenville and Centreville on Sunday. They enjoyed a sunny day where the temperature high reached about 70 degrees.
And most of those people who attended came dressed to the nines in homage to the regal event’s rich history and prestige.
That includes Miss Delaware USA for 2008 Vincenza Carrieri-Russo, brother Italo Carrieri-Russo, sister Margherita Carrieri-Russo and friend Nina Vietri, all of Newark.
“It’s nice to put on a fun hat, a nice dress and a nice pair of heels and walk around to say hi to all of your friends,” Margherita said.
“We got all our hats from That’s Hats on [Route] 202,” Vincenza said. “It’s a tradition. The first place I go to every year is the hat store and then I pick my outfit based on my hat.
“It is a tradition to wear the hat and bring that regal prestige out and showcase that throughout the day,” she said.
For Italo, the hype of the recent royal wedding in England added to Point-to-Point’s ambiance this year.
“You see more people coming out dressed up with the hats,” he said. “The fashion for the men has stepped this year as well. You can wear lighter colors that symbolize spring, leading into summer.”
Also looking sharp was the St. Mark’s contingent of Megan Lafferty, Danielle Mosch, Christine Sporay, Evan Rassman, Timmy Widdoes and John Donnelly, all 2006 graduates from Hockessin. They started coming to Point-to-Point as freshmen at the University of Delaware, for the most part.
“Just the idea of getting dressed up with the big hats and the horse races – it’s just fun,” Mosch said. “It’s always around the Kentucky Derby. It’s the epitome of spring.”
It is a similar story for UD graduates Nicole Shaw, Amanda Fischer, Ashley Bogia and Margaret Berthiaume and Shaw’s friend, Lauren Willner, from the University of Maryland. Save for the rookie Willner, they’ve been tailgating at Point-to-Point since their senior year at UD four years ago.
They start planning their outfits in February and bought them from TheFancyPants.com, which Berthiaume created.
“It’s a very classy event,” Shaw said.
“Everybody moved away to New York, Philly, Milwaukee and D.C. but they fly back for this little reunion every year,” said Berthiaume, of Hockessin.
Down a few rows from the St. Mark’s/UD tailgate, Tower Hill and Northeastern grad Katie McCoy, of Landenberg, Pa. capped off her bachelorette party with her girlfriends from Pennsylvania and New York and her family. Her fiancé, Ethan Dubow, of Ithaca, N.Y., gave her a nice surprise by showing up as well.
“I wanted to show my girlfriends from New York what Delaware was like,” McCoy said. “They think of Delaware as the tax free state and then that’s it. I wanted to show them that we have some class.”
There was something for all of the family. Children could enjoy the traditional face painting that accompanies any outdoor fair as well as nail painting courtesy of La Petite Spa & Salon. And there were the annual Stick Horse Races.
Among those enjoying the family activities were Pat and John Steel, who brought their grandchildren Maggie McGlone, 10; Keely McGlone, 8; Max McGlone, 6, of Doylestown, Pa. and Nathan Steel, 5, and Morgan Steel, 4, of London Grove, Pa. The girls, Maggie, Keely and Morgan, got their nails painted, respectively, by La Petit Spa & Salon staff members Alyssa Kieffer, Robin Ashby and Jordan Culler.
So, what keeps the Steel family coming back to Point-to-Point?
“The horses,” Maggie McGlone said, prancing away like a horse.
“It’s just a wonderful, family event that the children just love,” Pat Steel said.
This year’s robust attendance of 12,000 for Point-to-Point was based largely on the changes implemented last year to cut down on the rowdiness, Winterthur Communications Manager Holly Victor said. That included making the tailgate area off limits to general admission and shortening the length of the day.
“This year we did a lot of Mother’s Day themed event,” she said. “We did the Mother’s Day Brunch. They have the Helen Kaminski Point-to-Point hats and the matching ties.
“There are a lot of things to make it more family oriented.”
And, of course, there were the Alison Hershbell Pony Races, the Parade of Antique Carriages, the Isabella du Pont Sharp Memorial Maiden Timber Race with a $10,000 purse and the Winterthur Bowl with a $20,000 purse.
The National Steeplechase association sanctions Point-to-Point.