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 Melbourne Cup 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. Even Taylor Swift has decided to give the Melbourne Cup a miss this year, cancelling her appearance due to “scheduling conflicts” following a massive online backlash from her fans.

Here are five alternative ways you can enjoy the day.

  1. Go to a fancy ‘Nup to the Cup’

A Nup to the Cup 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 2019, Nups to the Cup are taking place all across Australia.

Melburnians are absolutely spoiled for choice. There’s ‘Fashuns on the Field’ and a Melbourne Cup protest opposite Flemington at New Market Reserve, hosted by the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses and Tenfingerz. Alternatively, you can say Nup to the Cup with some pizza in Collingwood, or with some yoga in the the park followed by lunch in Brunswick Street.

For Sydneysiders, there’s a glamourous luncheon at Yellow in Potts Point with a vegan tasting menu, cocktails and fundraising raffles. You can also do a three-course Nup to the Cup lunch at the Duke of Enmore in Newtown, with 25% of ticket prices going to Whisker Woods Sanctuary for ex-racehorses. Bodhi Restaurant in the Sydney CBD will also be hosting a Nup to the Cup vegan yum cha lunch, with $15 of the ticket price going to Horse Rescue Australia.

For our friends in Adelaide, the Canine Cup is being held on Adelaide Cup Day (9 March 2020) but due to popular demand they are filming an exclusive bonus race just for Melbourne Cup Day! Instead of watching horses race, viewers watch dogs running (or not running if they don’t want to) between their owners. Adorably, they call it ‘The Race That Makes the Nation Paws’. No whips or lures, the dogs are simply called over – with hilarious results. The ‘races’ are always 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. We will be watching the race in our office in Sydney on Melbourne Cup Day.

Another option in Adelaide is the Fun Alternative Racing Karnival Cup (otherwise known as the FARK Cup) featuring a Coffee Cup Run, the Wobbly Ladies Dash and, best of all, an inflatable T-Rex Race.

You can see a full list of events here. 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 2018 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. Ride on 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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