The Washington Times: Horse Races, Fancy Flowers, and Other Weekend Picks

Washington Times Get Out: The Week’s Pocket Picks for May 1, 2015

By Samantha Sault

Pick of the Pack: Virginia Gold Cup

The Kentucky Derby is Saturday, but if you can’t make it to Churchill Downs for “the greatest two minutes in sports,” you can still enjoy live horse racing and place a few bets during the Virginia Gold Cup. Virginia has hosted steeplechasing since the colonial era, and the very first Virginia Gold Cup took place in 1922. Considered “the crown jewel of American steeplechasing,” the event brings the who’s who of Washington to the Great Meadow in The Plains for a day of socializing (and schmoozing) in the sun. The gates open at 10 a.m. for betting on the Gold Cup or Derby, tailgate and hat competitions and a terrier exhibition before the races. The Virginia Gold Cup takes place at 3:30 p.m., but attendees are invited to stick around until Kentucky Derby post time at 6:36 p.m., which will be broadcast live throughout the Great Meadow. Saturday at The Plains, Virginia. 540/347-2612. Web:

Virginia Gold Cup

Virginia Gold Cup

Festival: National Cathedral Flower Mart

You have seven days to pick out the perfect bouquet for Mom — or you could celebrate Mother’s Day a week early by taking her to the National Cathedral’s Flower Mart and let her pick out her own. This Friday and Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m., the 78th annual event will take over the Cathedral’s grounds with flora from as near as local farms and as far as Asia for sale and display. In addition to purchasing plants for your home or getting some landscaping ideas, you’ll also enjoy live entertainment, food and beverages, booths with books and gifts for garden lovers and children’s activities including a rock wall, moon bounce and antique carousel. Proceeds will benefit the upkeep of the Cathedral’s grounds, gardens and woodlands, which you can tour throughout the weekend too. Friday and Saturday at the Washington National Cathedral, Wisconsin & Massachusetts Avenues NW. 202/537-6200. Web:

Science: Space Day

NASA made headlines recently when astronaut Scott Kelly took off for the International Space Station (ISS), where he will spend a year helping scientists understand the impact of long-term space travel on humans in anticipation of a mission to Mars. If you can’t get enough of Mr. Kelly’s Instagrams of his life in orbit and the incredible views from the space station, you’ll want to visit the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum on Saturday for a free, family-friendly event exploring life as an astronaut and the latest space developments. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., enjoy robotics and model rocket displays, spacesuit demonstrations, arts and crafts, musical performances and even presentations by astronauts. While you’re there, you can also tour the newest exhibit, “Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra-Vehicular Activity” with the curator, or learn about the first African-American astronauts. Saturday at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, Independence Ave. at 6th St. SW. 202/633-2214. Web:

Concert: ABC’s “Nashville” in Concert

For fans of “Nashville,” ABC’s hit television musical drama that follows the lives of several country stars, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. can’t come soon enough. This week, however, you can get your fix on Sunday, when several of the cast members will perform in character live on stage. Fresh off filming the finale of the third season, the cast members will stop in just nine U.S. cities to sing favorite songs from the show and others they frequently perform in Music City. The participating cast members include Clare Bowen (Scarlett O’Connor), Chris Carmack (Will Lexington), Charles Esten (Deacon Claybourne), Aubrey Peeples (Layla Grant) and young sisters Lennon Stella (Maddie Conrad) and Maisy Stella (Daphne Conrad). Sunday at DAR-Constitution Hall, 18th St. & C St. NW. 800/745-3000. Web:

© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC and Samantha Sault