Along Philadelphia’s famed Main Line, the Devon Horse Show (DHS) is one of the summer’s most celebrated events. The old fairgrounds – which are more than a century old – are quaint. Within a few yards of the entryway, visitors can turn right to watch graceful horses navigate jumps in the main ring, or go left to wander through an alley of vendors, exhibits and carnival games. Staying straight, though, leads to another colorful sight – the souvenir stand. “Everyone’s always happy to get something that reminds them of Devon,” says Susie Farrell, an event volunteer.
While the stand sells pins, posters and commemorative bags, it’s apparel that seems to get the most play. From jersey-style T-shirts to custom horse-pattern bowties to designer saddle pads, the booth is packed with stylish wearables. “Our volunteers spend the summer and fall meeting regularly and visit gift shows, equestrian trade shows and college bookstores to see what the trends are,” says Mimi Killian, a DHS board member. “The ROI is 100% net and all of those funds go to our beneficiary, Bryn Mawr Hospital.”
With proceeds going to such a worthy cause, showgoers don’t seem to mind the sometimes three-figure prices for classic promo items. In fact, one of the most popular apparel collections is the Vineyard Vines line, which Killian says “flies out the door.” Jeff Sirek, a patron from Massachusetts, happily purchased a DHS Vineyard Vines pullover that was made just for the 10-day event. “I’m a half-zipper kind of guy,” he says. “Plus, I really like the patch on it.” – DV