The very cold weather and grey skies probably played a part in the amount of people who turned up at the Hello Johannesburg Magazine Joburg July event at Turffontein Race Course. The crowd who did turn up was large enough to create a cozy vibe. The venue at Turffontein Race Course was beautifully decorated with couches for those who just wanted to chill and round tables for groups of friends to sit together. I would, however, have preferred that the round tables were placed closer to the large windows that face the race course. The area was set up in such a way to divert people’s attention towards the big screens showing live TV feeds from DSTV’s Telly Track and the Vodacom Durban July.
This did not help to build the right level of excitement that I felt was missing at this event. The event was staged so that Jo’burgers could also enjoy the fun and excitement of one of South Africa’s biggest horse racing events – the “Vodacom Durban July” held at the Greyville race course in Durban. I felt that they forgot to focus on the horse racing happening outside right in front of us, which meant that punters in the room did not express the “ooohs and aaahs” for the races being held at Turffontein, as opposed to the excitement expressed for the main race at the Durban July. If they changed the seating arrangement, with the guests placed in such a way, to see all the races happening in front of us at Turffontein through the big windows, then I think this event would have been an even bigger success than what it was for me.
I had a lovely time with my wife, Mishkah and good friend, TV personality, Dalen Lance. After the initial difficulty of finding the venue room because there was no signage directing us, we were warmly welcomed by Hello Johannesburg, Executive Editor, Justyn Spinner. We were well catered for with good food and complimentary drinks.
The food spread catered for everybody’s taste, there was something for the meat-eater, chicken-eater and vegetarians, including desserts. For those who stayed for the after party entertainment, they where also catered for with food snacks.
I did experience two weird and awkward moments when the Hello Johannesburg Publisher, Joseph Spinner, came over to our table, grabbed a copy of their magazine, which I had placed under my drinking glass in front of me. Without introducing himself, he lifted up my glass and took the magazine and placed it back in the magazine holder in the center of the table. The second moment was when Dalen was taking photos of Mishkah and I, and he walked up to Dalen and told him to take photos of the food spread, to which Dalen replied: “If you pay me, I will do it.” Very awkward! Later, at the dessert table, he apologized to me if he made me feel uncomfortable, which he did. I then apologized to him for placing my drink on his magazine. So all was forgiven in the end.
We did not stay behind for the after party, after me stuffing my face the whole afternoon I needed to get out of all the different layers of clothing I had on to keep the cold at bay. We all went home feeling happy that we had experienced a wonderful day at the race track. Oh yes, I did bet on the horses and won some races and lost a few. Mishkah was the big winner amongst us.
I hope Hello Johannesburg Magazine continues to grow this event, but they also need to make sure that everybody in the room is also focused on the races happening right in front of them. That should help to make this a regular event on Johannesburg’s social calendar.