The Melbourne Cup might be run and won at Flemington, but the highlight of the Spring Racing Carnival is an event much closer to home. It’s the Melbourne Cup lawn party happening on your spring lawn. So it’s time to prepare your lawn for spring! An afternoon on the lawn, capped off by the big race, can be a truly memorable event. Here are some tips on hosting a winning Melbourne Cup party, or any lawn party this spring.

Roll out the green carpet

When you prepare your lawn for spring entertaining, like a Melbourne Cup party, you should follow some basic rules. Swanky high heels on a bumpy lawn are not a good match. To avoid unsightly falls, thrills and spills, choose an even patch of lawn for your party or top dress the lawn with soil to fill out the bumps. At the same time, apply lawn fertiliser (we recommend Lawntastic Premium Fertiliser) to boost the colour of the grass. When it’s time to mow the lawn for the party that will stop your little corner of the nation, avoid the temptation to mow too low. Some guests might prefer to stand, and slightly longer lawn will be more comfortable underfoot.

Raceway colour in your own backyard

As with any party, a Melbourne Cup do will be brought to life with a splash of colour. If you’re erecting a gazebo, you could decorate it with the colours that every jockey will be wearing in the great race. A lot of work, but a spectacular result! You might want to go all Ascot and be oh so refined by choosing a more understated colour theme – one might consider pastel shades, mightn’t one? If your lawn party is a totally open air event, like those famous car park parties at Flemington, you can hang streamers, ribbons and balloons from the trees to add atmosphere.

More bubbly, daaahling?

Catering for your guests is a major consideration. Lawn parties lend themselves to food like chicken drumsticks and cucumber sandwiches; finger food that’s easy to eat while you’re standing, as opposed to a full sit-down meal. However, as this is the Melbourne Cup, you might feel the need to cater on a scale as grand as the race itself. This will involve lots of cooking, lots of serving, and lots of clearing up, which could see you working while everyone else is enjoying the party. Best bet? Keep it simple but classy, so you can enjoy the festivities with your guests. A spoonful of caviar on a blini is the ultimate in finger food, and suitably indulgent.

Bubbly is usually the lawn party beverage of choice. A champagne cocktail on arrival, and a glass or two with lunch always goes down well. As a host, you’ll want to ensure your guests don’t over-indulge so offer a range of non-alcoholic cocktails. They can be as much fun as their boozy counterparts, especially with a little umbrella on top – in jockeys’ colours, of course – and a catchy name. Who can refuse a Makybe Diva Delight? A Might And Power Passionfruit Punch? Or a Flemington Fling?

Watching the big race

You can’t miss the big race! That’s what you’re all there for. But watching it can raise some issues. Inviting the guests to watch the Cup inside your house means they might bring in grass and leaves on their fancy footwear – in all the excitement, not everyone will think to remove your shoes. It’s preferable if you can watch the race from your happening party venue, but that involves having a television in close proximity to the outdoor celebrations. You need a location for your TV where it can be seen and heard, and where no one is at risk of electric shock. Give it some serious thought!

After the race is run

The race is run, and your guests have departed. Time to clean up. And time to check out the state of the lawn. After all, sharp stiletto heels can damage a lawn when the person wearing them is jumping up and down as their horse charges towards the finishing post. Gazebos, tables and chairs can leave their mark, as can the footsteps of all your guests. The day after your party, you might want to aerate the patch of lawn you used for your party. You might want to top dress with soil again, feed it some more fertiliser and give it a good water. Before long, your lawn will look as good as new and ready to host your next outdoor event. Good luck as you prepare your lawn for spring entertaining – and may your horse win the Cup!
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