From the City of Havre de Grace:
For many years, Havre de Grace received national attention for its thoroughbred racing at the Havre de Grace Racetrack. The track, known as “the Graw”, was open from 1912 until 1952 and was considered to be one of the best turf racing strips in America. For many years, The Graw was an important training ground for owners who had hopes of winning the Kentucky Derby. The most memorable day in its history was September 29, 1920, when the greatest of thoroughbreds, Samuel D. Riddle’s Man O’ War, ran in the Potomac Handicap and won by a length and one-half over a strong field that included Kentucky Derby winner Paul Jones. The site of the track is now the property of the Maryland National Guard.
In 2008, Havre de Grace Main Street, Inc. developed a signature event, Graw Days, that celebrates the era of horse racing in Havre de Grace. This year, Graw Days will take place on Saturday October 9th. In partnership with the City of Havre de Grace, the streets in the Main Street district will be transformed into a pedestrian friendly festival area with over 100 vendors, live music and historic displays. The history tent will feature racing memorabilia and a schedule of speakers who will lecture on and reminisce about the history of the Graw. At the Main Stage, located at Pennington Ave and Washington Street, you will enjoy live, foot-stomping music all day long, featuring the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble, the Swanee River Ragtime Band, Jack Fox, and Mojo Daddy. A delicious variety of food will be available from vendors located near the Main Stage and throughout the festival area. This fun, family-oriented event will also offer historic horse-drawn carriage rides, lots of childrens’ events, including pony rides, a wheeled horse parade, bounce tent, face painting, crafts, and much, much more!
On Saturday evening, you will have the opportunity to experience a true feeling of nostalgia for the glory days of the Graw racetrack by attending the Graw Days Gala. The Gala, featuring a menu created by MacGregor’s Restaurant, and music reminiscent of the Jazz era brought to you by High Alliance, will be held at the original Havre de Grace Racetrack club house, which is now the Fred M. Coleman Armory, named for a Havre de Grace resident and First Sergeant. Tickets are $50.00 and can be purchased by going to Main Street’s web site at http://www.mainstreethdg.com/ArtsandEntertainment/GrawDays .
Havre de Grace Main Street, Inc. is one of a network of more than 2,100 Main Street programs in cities and towns across the country chartered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center to revitalize downtown commercial districts and preserve their historic character.