What to do on Melbourne Cup day if horse racing isn’t your thing

Don’t want to support horse racing but still want to do something fun on the day? No problem, here are some awesome alternatives!

Not celebrating Melbourne Cup doesn’t have to mean sitting at your desk or at home by yourself with FOMO. With growing awareness of the ethical issues surrounding horse racing, more and more people are choosing kinder ways to have a good time.

Here are five alternative ways to enjoy the day.

  1. Go to a fancy ‘Nup to the Cup’ event.

A Nup to the Cup event is an organised public event for people who want to get dressed up, have a fun afternoon with friends, and just generally enjoy the benefits of a day at the races, without the racing. In 2018, ‘Nups to the Cup’ are taking place all across Australia.

Melbournians are absolutely spoilt for choice. There’s a delicious-sounding plant-based dining walking tour, a pizza night, a nup-to-the-Cup-but yes-to-a-cup-of-coffee event (complete with delicious food and wicked drinks set in a sunny courtyard), the Melbourne Musicians Against Melbourne Cup fundraiser (showcasing some of Melbourne’s finest musicians) and of course the completely silly Farshans on the Field to choose from.

For Sydney-siders, Bodhi in the CBD is putting on a plant-based yum cha feast (think dumplings mango pudding and organic rosé). There will be pop-up stalls, flower crowns, speakers from animal sanctuaries and a fundraising raffle instead of the race. Sign me up!

For our friends in Adelaide, the Canine Cup is being held on Adelaide Cup Day (11 March 2019) and we couldn’t think of anything more adorable! They even call it the ‘Race that makes the nation paws’! Instead of watching horses race, viewers watch dogs running (or not running if they don’t want to) between their owners. No whips or lures, the dogs are simply called over, with potentially hilarious results. The ‘races’ are pre-recorded (to ensure all the cheering doesn’t alarm the pups) and shown on the big screen during a four-course luncheon, complete with live music, a fashion competition and a chance to meet some rescue pups. All proceeds go to Guardian Angel Animal Rescue.

Sunshine Coast residents have some treats in store. The BIG House in Pamona is hosting a Nup to the Cup Japanese feast and Elixiba is hosting a Nup to the Cup banquet. Good luck choosing between the two!

And if there isn’t a Nup to the Cup event near you, consider organising your own (see 3).

  1. Turn a negative into a positive.

If your workplace does a sweep, see if you can encourage the organisers to donate 10% of the money to an animal sanctuary where ex-racing horses can live happily for the rest of their lives. You could donate to some great organisations like Where Pigs Fly (one of our Community Grant recipients), Little Oak Sanctuary, Whisker Woods Sanctuary or Brightside Sanctuary.

  1. Host your own party

The best bit of going to a Cup Day event is spending time with friends in fancy dress. So host your own fancy dress party! Even better add a fundraiser and ask everyone to pitch in a few dollars to support a sanctuary.

  1. Run your own race

With the nation stopped to watch the horse race, you might find CBD streets surprisingly quiet. Put on your running shoes and run the streets!

  1. Go round a merry-go-round

Pull together some friends, don nice hats, find a merry-go-round, and jump on some fake horses for some cruelty-free silliness.

Read more about why we don’t support the Melbourne Cup.

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