Diversification key at Cambridge Raceway


Earlier this year Cambridge Raceway celebrated 100 years in business with its centenary race meeting. 

The Raceway has been the venue of many events since its inauguration in 1919, from a WWII military camp to high school balls – however, it’s mostly known as the home of standardbred horse racing in Waikato.

And while horse racing is still a core activity at the raceway, CEO Dave Branch is promoting diversification of the venue.

“We hold around 22 race meetings each year but we’re now realising the potential our venue has 365 days a year,” said Branch, who has been at the helm of the Raceway for almost two years.

“To capitalise on this, we’ve created our own events like our summer pop-up Cambridge Croquet Club and we’re also promoting our wide variety of spaces, furniture and props for hire.”

Leading the Raceway’s foray into event hire is Shannon Bint-Popplewell, who has six years’ experience in the wedding industry and a passion for event styling.

“Cambridge Raceway has long been a great event venue and it has so much potential as a wedding venue,” said Bint-Popplewell who has previously managed Riverview in Cook St, Hamilton and spent four years at the Red Barn in Matamata in event
management and styling/design roles.

“It’s a one-stop shop and everything can be held here. There are beautiful lawns for the ceremony, function suites for the reception, great spots for photography including access to horses for props and a romantic old stable, there’s lots of parking and we can take care of the theming and design for you or you can do it yourself.

“We like to take a custom approach to events and work with the client to achieve their dream result, there are no set guidelines to choose from and having so many different options means we can be very flexible.”

There are options to suit weddings of all sizes with six function rooms of varying sizes with space for 200 seated guests or 200-plus guests in a less formal cocktail setting.

The Cambridge Raceway management team has been proactive about modernising its offering and is constantly investing in quality furniture and props that meet market trends.

“We were getting lots of comments from guests who loved our new pieces and we quickly realised there was a demand to hire them,” Bint-Popplewell said.

One item that has been in high demand is the CR Horse Float Bar – purpose-built for the Cambridge Raceway’s summer pop-up Croquet Club. The bar features two fridges, sinks and a magnetic menu board – it’s perfect for outdoor events almost anywhere.

Also for hire are: vintage beer tables and benches, bar leaners, metal stools, foldable chairs, festoon lights, artificial topiary trees, outdoor bean bags, croquet sets, wood topped drum tables and more to come.

For more info contact events@cambridgeraceway.co.nz or visit www.cambridgeraceway.co.nz.


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