Spring Family Reunion at Keeneland, April 18, 2020

The UK Parent and Family Association is excited to host our annual Spring Family Reunion at Keeneland on Saturday, April 18, 2020, featuring assigned grandstand seats (sections A, B, and D) for up to 500 guests as well as complimentary Keeneland and UK sponsored-activities, giveaways, and more! Assigned seats in the reserved Spring Family Reunion sections are $20 each and will go on sale beginning Wednesday, January 29, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. So come on out and join us for a day at the races!

Spring Family Reunion Grandstand Tickets

Spring Family Reunion tickets sold out in a record 7 minutes! Wow! If you were not able to purchase a ticket in our grandstand section, have no fear. Keeneland will be opening additional grandstand & general admission ticket sales on Monday, February 3 at https://tickets.keeneland.com/racing-tickets. Families who purchase general admission tickets or seats in other sections are still welcome to participate in Spring Family Reunion activities. 

Spring Family Reunion reserved grandstand seats are $20 each and will go on sale beginning Wednesday, January 29, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. Guests may select their assigned seats in sections A, B, and/or D directly from Keeneland’s Spring Family Reunion ticketing website, using the code UKFAMILY20 (while supplies last). We expect to sell out of grandstand seating quickly and highly recommend that you order tickets as soon as possible.

Once you have purchased your Spring Family Reunion grandstand tickets, you will receive an email confirmation from Keeneland with information about how to download your ticket to your phone or printer. Bring your printed or electronic ticket to any open Keeneland entry gate beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 18, 2020, to be scanned for entry by Keeneland staff. You are not required to check in with UK staff during the event. However, be sure to stop by the North Terrace throughout the day to enjoy complimentary UK activities and entertainment and receive a giveaway for your family. UK and Keeneland staff will be available in each of the reserved grandstand sections to help answer questions you may have about Keeneland or the Spring Family Reunion.

If you are interested in attending Keeneland but do not wish to participate in the Spring Family Reunion or the Spring Family Reunion tickets sold out before you could make your purchase, ticketing information for general admission and reserved grandstand seating can be found on Keeneland’s Spring Family Reunion ticketing website; these tickets will be on sale beginning Monday, February 3, 2020. Again, order your grandstand tickets as soon as possible; all grandstand seats typically sell out on Saturdays during the race meet.

Keeneland is accessible to patrons with disabilities. Please call the Keeneland ticketing office at 859-288-4299 for more information about spring meets.

UK Parent and Family Association-Sponsored Activities on the North Terrace

UK Stakes (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) Meet with Keeneland BETologists to learn how to utilize the Keeneland program to select potential winners. Have a chance to win prizes by selecting the winning horse in the first race. Free to all Spring Family Reunion guests. No additional purchase necessary. All selections must be made by 1 p.m.

Best Hat/Fascinator Competition (11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.) Though Kentucky Derby fans may claim that event to be the pinnacle of millinery exhibition, the tradition of hat fashion at the races has become one of the highlights of the Keeneland experience. So, whether you are a hat enthusiast or simply interested in joining the fun, wear your best hat or fascinator to the UK Spring Family Reunion for a chance to win.

To enter, register your hat or fascinator at the Best Hat/Fascinator Competition table on the North Terrace from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A picture of your hat will be taken and displayed at the table, and each contestant’s name will be placed in a drawing for a variety of prizes. Contestants must be present to enter but do not have to be present to win. All contestants must have a ticket to the Spring Family Reunion. A panel of judges will vote on the entries at 1:30 p.m. and announce the winner. The best hat photo will be posted to the UK Parent and Family Association Facebook page the following week.  

If you are interested in learning a little more about the tradition of horse racing hat fashion, check out this article from Time Magazine

Make Your Own Fascinator (11 a.m. – 2 p.m., while supplies last) If wearing large hats is not really your thing, then maybe a fascinator is for you. Stop by our craft table and make your own fascinator to wear to the races.

Family Photos (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) Snap a few family pictures in our Keeneland and UK-inspired photo booth on the North Terrace

Giveaway (11 a.m. – 2 p.m., while supplies last) Send your students to the UK Parent and Family Association table on the North Terrace from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. to pick up a free family giveaway (while supplies last). Your student will need to bring their BBNvolved Event Pass to be scanned to receive the giveaway.

If they have not done so already, students may download their BBNvolved Event Pass on their smartphone by logging in using their LinkBlue ID and password. If they have not previously signed into BBNvolved, they can quickly set up their account. Once they have accessed their account, they should click on the profile picture or initials in the top right corner of the screen, select Event Pass, and save the QR code on their phone. Your student’s BBNvolved Event Pass will be used throughout their time at UK to access events and resources.

Empty Bottle String Band (11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) The Empty Bottle String Band will be performing on the North Terrace at 11:30 a.m. The band specializes in playing toe-tapping, highly danceable traditional Appalachian music. They are known for their upbeat tunes and feel-good music. 

Keeneland Activities

Keeneland Race Day App Don’t forget to download the Keeneland Race Day app – your guide to handicapping and enjoying a day of racing at your fingertips!

Sunrise Trackside (7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.) Every Saturday during the race meet, guests can experience the sunrise, sights, and sounds of Sunrise Trackside at Keeneland, including Breakfast with the Works ($7.00 per person), children’s activities, tours, a paddock demonstration, a handicapping seminar, and jockey Q&A.

Tours of Keeneland (7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.) A National Historic Landmark, Keeneland features beautifully landscaped grounds that are open to the public every day. Guided walking tours during Sunrise Trackside depart from the welcome stand near the Paddock from 7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. Complimentary self-guided walking tour maps are available inside The Keeneland Shop or can be downloaded here.

Tailgating (All day) Guests are welcome to tailgate at Keeneland on race day in both the paved parking areas and on “The Hill.” Keeneland’s enhanced tailgating area on The Hill will be available on Saturday, April 18, 2020, and will offer a variety of fan-friendly amenities, food trucks, Bluegrass music, and more. The Hill is accessible via Gate 4 at no charge and complimentary shuttle service is available to the grandstand area.

Live Music Enjoy live acoustic music as you enter the gates at Keeneland brought to you by The Summit at Fritz Farm.

Races (1:05 p.m. – approximately 6:30 p.m.) Races are run approximately every half hour.

Parking and Directions

Directions Directions to Keeneland from various locations can be found on Keeneland's directions website

Keeneland Grounds Map If this is your first time visiting Keeneland, be sure to check out this grounds map to help your family navigate the large venue. The UK Parent and Family Association will be stationed at the North Terrace from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Stop by to see us to enjoy activities, music, and giveaways!

Complimentary parking Keeneland provides shuttles from The Meadows and The Hill parking areas to and from the grandstand. Look for green and white striped tents near your parking area. Shuttles run until 30 minutes after the final race.

Keeneland Fashion

While the reserved seating dining rooms have a dress code, most areas of Keeneland do not. Therefore, you’ll see a little bit of everything in the grandstand and paddock area. However, the tradition is to dress up a bit and make an occasion of your day at the races! Gentlemen are often in collared shirts and slacks, while the ladies can be found in dresses, nice skirts, or slacks. Denim and athletic attire are not permitted in most dining rooms and therefore are not generally worn by most during their visit to Keeneland.

All of the UK Spring Family Reunion activities will be held outdoors under tents, and seating in the grandstand is covered.

Hotel Information

Many families make their first visit to Lexington for UK campus tours or orientations that aren’t scheduled at the height of demand for hotel rooms. The popularity of Keeneland brings thousands of folks in every spring so hotel rooms are naturally going to be more expensive and in demand. You are encouraged to make hotel reservations at your earliest convenience. If you find that the available accommodations aren’t in your budget, you might want to seek an alternative time to come to campus or consider staying outside of Lexington in a neighboring community. Hotels will be less expensive when Keeneland isn’t running (meets are held every October and April). Visit bbnhotels.com and www.visitlex.com/hotels for information on area accommodations.

Top Five Tips for Keeneland Newcomers

  1. Explore! Don’t just take a seat and watch the races all day; get out and explore all that Keeneland has to offer! Wander over to the paddock and inspect the horses and jockeys as they prepare for the next race. Visit the Keeneland Shop for a special souvenir. Catch a race from the rail and cheer as the horses go thundering past you. Take it all in!
  2. Hungry for an afternoon snack? Try burgoo, which is a yummy stew, or Keeneland’s famous bread pudding. You’ll find lots of options throughout the grandstand area.  
  3. New to betting? Purchase a program and download the Keeneland race day app to get started. Look for BETologists roaming the crowds or stop by Wagering Central on the first floor grandstand for tips and assistance.
  4. Photo ops! Strike a pose in front of a line of colorful jockey statues near the paddock. Get up close to a horse, one of Keeneland’s outriders (they escort horses and jockeys from the paddock area to the starting gate), between races near the tunnel. Snap a pic in the paddock by the tall Keeneland green Rolex clock or the iconic sycamore tree.
  5. Get to know your fellow racing fans, especially in the Spring Family Reunion reserved grandstand section. High five over your racing wins, swap betting tips, make some memories, and have fun!

Additional FAQs

What can I expect from the Spring Family Reunion?

We have so much fun at Family Weekend every fall, and the Spring Family Reunion is a chance for us to get back together and enjoy a day at Keeneland! If you’re planning on joining in the fun, expect larger crowds and traffic. More than 38,000 racing fans spent the day at Keeneland while we were there for the 2019 Spring Family Reunion! We’ll provide you information on shuttle and walking options so that you can make plans.

Please note that all Spring Family Reunion guests are required to purchase either a grandstand or general admission ticket to Keeneland. UK has reserved 500 grandstand seats in sections A, B, and D for our guests, and we will host activities and music on the North Terrace from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. You may purchase your grandstand seat directly from Keeneland’s Spring Family Reunion ticketing website, using the code UKFAMILY20 (while supplies last). We do our very best to accommodate as many families as possible but are limited by venue capacity and seat availability. Please purchase tickets as soon as possible after they go on sale to avoid disappointment.

The reunion and Keeneland races will go on rain or shine, so please check the weather and plan accordingly. Spring weather in Kentucky can be unpredictable – be prepared!

The Spring Family Reunion is different from Family Weekend. We plan the reunion at Keeneland on Saturday and leave the rest of the weekend open for your family to determine how you want to spend your time. Do you want to explore campus? Do you want to check out downtown Lexington? Do you want to go hiking? Chat with your family and plan the weekend that most appeals to you!


What if my family can’t come to the Spring Family Reunion?

We know that no one weekend is going to work for all UK families! If you can’t come to UK’s Spring Family Reunion but want assistance making plans for a visit at another time, reach out to the Parent and Family Association. Our staff loves to talk about our favorite things in Lexington and around campus, so we’d be happy to offer you guidance as you make plans! Call us at 859-257-2752, email us at parents@lsv.uky.edu, or post on the UK Wildcat Families Facebook group to connect with other UK families and hear about their favorite things to do.


Can we bring grandparents and other family members?

Yes! We are all part of the Wildcat family! We strive to offer activities at the reunion that will entertain the youngest and oldest members of the family and everyone in between. If there are concerns about special accessibility needs in your party, reach out in advance to the Keeneland ticketing office at 859-288-4299. They are happy to help you navigate Keeneland successfully.


Will the Spring Family Reunion sell out?

Though we will be able to offer more seating this year, we can’t guarantee ticket availability.  The event did sell out quickly last year. Please purchase tickets as soon as possible after they go on sale to avoid disappointment. We do our very best to accommodate as many families as possible, but we are limited by venue capacities and safety regulations.


The format of this event seems different from the Spring Family Reunion(s) I have attended in the past. 

That’s because it is. After each Spring Family Reunion, we solicit event feedback in the form of a survey and use the data that we collect to inform future events. The changes that have been made to accommodate more guests, have assigned seating, and lower the ticket price all came from last year’s survey results.


Do I have to purchase a ticket in the grandstand (sections A, B, and/or D) to participate in the Spring Family Reunion? 

No. If your family would prefer to purchase a grandstand seat in a different section or if you would prefer to purchase general admission passes, you can still participate in most of our activities on the North Terrace. However, only those who purchase tickets in our reserved sections will receive a special giveaway.


Does my family need to check in with UK staff when we arrive to Keeneland? 

No. How you plan your day at Keeneland is up to you. We hope that you will visit the UK Parent and Family Association on the North Terrace from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. to participate in activities, music, and giveaways. UK staff and students will also be available in the grandstand (sections A, B, and D) to assist you.


Will I have an assigned seat in the reserved grandstand area?

Yes. Beginning on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, you will have the opportunity to select individual grandstand seats in sections A, B, and/or D at Keeneland’s Spring Family Reunion ticketing website using the code UKFAMILY20 (while supplies last). Guests who find it difficult to walk up and down stairs may want to try to select seats at the top of the grandstand sections and use the elevators to access the second floor. Additional general admission seating may be found in some of the café areas or below the grandstand area, though this seating is not guaranteed and is rarely in a covered area. Lawn chairs and umbrellas are permitted in the general admission areas.


Will the Spring Family Reunion go on if it rains?

The reunion will go on rain or shine, so please check the weather and plan accordingly. Spring 


Is alcohol served at Keeneland?

Yes, several Keeneland concessions locations will be available on site once the races begin. You cannot bring your own alcohol inside the admission gate.


Who may I contact if I have additional questions?

If you have any questions about the Spring Family Reunion, email us at parents@lsv.uky.edu or call 859-257-2752. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the most recent campus updates. UK staff will be on site in sections A, B, and D of the grandstand from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and on the North Terrace from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the day of the event. We would be happy to help answer any questions you may have in person. Staff may not have access to email or social media on the day of the Spring Family Reunion.