The brighter the color the better for Saturday's Steeplechase.This year, eye-popping colors like canary yellow, fuchsia and tangerine are proving popular with customers as they pick out the shoes, dresses, hats, shirts and slacks to wear to the second jewel in Aiken's Triple Crown of racing, according to local clothiers."Color is king right now," said Paula Moore, co-owner of Return Engagement, an upscale consignment store in the Holley Building on Laurens Street."As always, bright, bright, bright," said Lionel Smith Ltd. Manager Danny Minolfo. "Lots of color. It's almost like Easter. It gives people an opportunity to think outside the box. If the item works that day, then they think about incorporating it into their weekend wardrobe."Each leg of Aiken's Triple Crown, particularly Steeplechase, has traditionally been seen as fashion-forward social events where women don elaborate hats and vibrant dresses and men their most dapper sports coats, slacks and firmly-pressed seersucker suits.Steeplechase could very well be a rite of spring."It's like the coming out for spring," Moore said. "People look really together."Even if their clothing is monochromatic, people are still looking for that pop of color in their footwear.Shoetopia owner Stacey Manney said espadrilles and wedges in yellows and fuschias are quickly leaving the shelves."It's all about the bright colors, stripes and wedges," she said. "Not only are they popular, they're great for Steeplechase."Daniel Lunn, 16, said Steeplechase gives people a chance to dress to the nines.However, everyone else can keep their bright colors. He prefers the classic look."I'm going with a polo shirt and slacks," he said of his Steeplechase outfit. "I usually stick with the polos."Gates for Steeplechase open at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The Village of Shops opens at 10 a.m., and the Guarantor Tent Party is slated to begin at 11 a.m.The call to post for the first race is 1 p.m., with the carriage parade scheduled between the first and second race at 1:15 p.m., with each race slated to start on the half-hour after the first race (post time for the second race is 1:30 p.m.). The sixth and final race beings at 3:30 p.m.General admission tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. Children 6 and younger are admitted free.Tickets can be purchased at Aiken Drug, Aiken Saddlery, Floyd & Green Jewelers, Ingate Professional Pharmacy, J.M. Greene Fine Jewelry, Lominick Pharmacy, North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, Plum Pudding, Southern Bank & Trust, Southern Saddlery, Stoplight Deli and Unique Expressions.Subscriber admission tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate. Those planning on join someone in a subscriber area (1-88, 401-470 or 920-945) need a subscriber ticket to gain admission to that area. Subscriber tickets are sold exclusively at the Steeplechase office, 528 Two Notch Road S.E.There will be no drive-in race day parking.Guarantor tent party tickets are $125 each and includes admission into the guarantor tent enclosure. The tent party hosts a buffet luncheon, open bar, musical entertainment and parking adjacent to the tent. Children ages 6 to 12 are $60 each.The Aiken Spring Steeplechase dates back to 1930, when it was first run in the Hitchcock Woods. The event was revived in 1966. The Steeplechase has both flat and jump events over grass.Click on an image below to see the Steeplechase fashion focusonyou gallery:Haley Hughes is the Aiken County government reporter and has been with the Aiken Standard since February 2007. Hughes, a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, hails from Knoxville, Tenn.
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