Back by popular demand, beach polo returns to the Newport Winter Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 25 and 26, at 2:30 p.m. at Atlantic Beach in Middletown for an exciting exhibition match of equine polo each day.
The event is free and open to the public. Public beach parking is available at no charge. For directions, click here.
Call the 24-hour information line at 401-846-0200 for status updates and weather changes.
Beach polo, organized by Newport Polo Inc., will feature two teams competing each day in a match composed of four periods of play, seven minutes per period.
In between periods, the players change to fresh horses. In total, each match will have duration of about one hour during low tide. Spectators are encouraged to witness the fast-paced contests and cheer on the teams, playing on finely tuned thoroughbred mounts.
“Polo in the summer is one of Newport’s hottest attractions. It is exciting to see the event in the winter, too,” adds Kathryn Farrington of the Newport County Visitors & Convention Bureau. “Polo appeals to an audience of all ages, and like the beach, polo is great outdoor entertainment for the whole family!”
The event is a low-impact, eco-friendly exhibition played on the inter-tidal area of the beach at low tide in keeping with the Parks and Recreation Department guidelines for horses and off-season use of the beach.
Horses are accustomed to sand footing in their natural habitats all over the world, including the desert southwest. The thoroughbread polo polies are highly fit and exercised year-round in arena polo, played on similar footing materials.
To ensure the mutual enjoyment of Atlantic Beach on this occasion and in the future, everyone is asked to please observe all Middletown guidelines for beach use, as posted, at Atlantic Beach. Dogs are permitted on the beach during the off season, with a leash law in effect. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
“Newport Polo seeks to highlight unique assets of Newport County by combining a popular spectator event and the year-round natural beauty of the sea shore," states Dan Keating, president of Newport Polo. “We had numerous inquiries to host this event again, so we expect it will draw our regular fans out midwinter for all the festivities, as well as entertain all the visitors of Newport’s Winter Festival.”
Beach Polo made its debut in 2010 in the Newport Winter Festival, which features more than 150 events as "New England's largest winter extravaganza." The Winter Festival offers a unique winter experience combining food, music and entertainment, with fun for all ages.