Category: People

Confirmed Merchants for Merchant Market

Confirmed Merchants for Merchant Market

Merchant Market is the perfect place at the Steeplechase of Charleston to get all of your holiday shopping done. With over thirty different merchants, you are sure to find something special for your significant other, close friend, or family member.

Merchant Market at Steeplechase of Charleston.
Photography by Caroline Herring.


We have some returning merchants, as well as new ones!

Here are the confirmed merchants for Merchant Market at Steeplechase 2022:

  1. Ace Basin Cocktail Company
  2. Ala Von Auersperg
  3. Brackish
  4. Carol Wells Collection
  5. Charleston ECO Jewelry
  6. Chipper Dog BBQ
  7. Cotton Patch Hemp
  8. Crosby Interiors
  9. Darling Clutch Company
  10. Designs by Colleen
  11. Dust & Sunshine
  12. Fascinated by Hats
  13. For All the Tea in Charleston
  14. Georgia Belle Candle
  15. Indigo Bee Company
  16. Jahde Leather Atelier
  17. Leaf Filter Gutter Protection
  18. Luxe Mobile Cigar Lounge
  19. Margerite & Motte
  20. Meena Creations
  21. Michael Noelle Leatherworx
  22. Old Man Oyster
  23. Old McCaskill’s Farm
  24. Paradise Home Improvement
  25. Refreshing Moments with Sharon
  26. Saltwater Cowboy
  27. Sargent Illustrations and Design
  28. Sea Flower Jewelry
  29. Therapy Life and Style
  30. Zinnialou Designs

Who are you most excited to see at Merchant Market?

5 Types of People You’ll See at Steeplechase of Charleston

5 Types of People You’ll See at #SteepleCHS

by Ryan Biddix

Crowd watching jockeys take off at Steeplechase 2021
Photography by Caroline Herring

The Fashionista

Adorned in feathers and fur, the Fashionista has been planning their outfit since the last Steeplechase event. You can catch them spending most of their time at Merchant Market, perusing the many booths of fine jewelry and leather goods. Just look out for the highest, most flamboyant hat-it’s most likely the Fashionista.

The Fashionista
Photography by William Quarles

The Cheerleader

The Cheerleader is always on the front lines, cheering and throwing their arms up in victory. Often seen taking slow-mo videos of the jockeys passing. Need to know what’s going on? The Cheerleader will let you know because they haven’t left their spot since they arrived!

The Cheerleader
Photography by John Carlos

The Tailgater

Pulling up in a fully packed car decked out in college memorabilia, The Tailgater comes prepared for everything. From beers to sandwiches, there is not one item missing. Often seen sitting in their foldable chairs, with a drink in one hand and binoculars in another.

The Tailgater
Photography by Stephen Massar

The Horse Lover

Prancing around the paddocks, the Horse Lover rarely leaves the stables. They are often seen taking pictures of or with each of the Thoroughbreds. You’ll catch them wearing riding boots and a shirt with a picture of their horse from back home. Not to be confused with #horsegirls.

Horse Lover
Photography by Stephen Massar

The Hostess

Always the life of the party, The Hostess is there to have a good time. They’ve invited their whole group chat and are expecting everyone to come. Often seen popping champagne bottles and eagerly chatting with friends about the food in the VIP Lounge.

The Hostess
Photography by Al Samuels


Which one are you?

Family Fun in the Fall: An Event for All Ages

Family Fun in the Fall: An Event for All Ages

By Pamela Brownstein

Featured in Lowcountry Parent 

Children enjoy a day in the sun, jumping through an inflatable course.
Photography by Caroline Herring.


Families are invited to a day of ground-shaking excitement at the Steeplechase of Charleston on Sunday, Nov. 13. Since kids 12 and under are free, it’s a wonderful way to spend a fall afternoon outside together watching world-class horse racing.

Whether your kids like ponies or racing or fashion or freedom to run around, this event will feature fun for everyone.

Attending this full day of horse racing means packing a cooler and bringing a kid-friendly tailgate spread. Food trucks will also be onsite offering sweets and treats and different dining options.

Steeplechase is a place to see and be seen, think Kentucky Derby-meets-Southern Charm, so big hats and bow ties are encouraged. Fashionistas and shoppers can get lost in The Merchant Market, with more than 50 vendors and local artisans selling items such as jewelry, accessories, apparel and hand-crafted candles.

Merchant tent at last year’s Steeplechase event.
Photography by Caroline Herring.


Sanctioned by The National Steeplechase Association, the Charleston event will feature five high-stakes races with coveted titles on the line, and a winner’s ceremony at the end.

You can make the experience as bougie as you want, with ticketing packages that range from general admission to VIP, which includes a lounge on the finish line with food service, open bar, elevated views and access to VIP bathrooms.

The Steeplechase of Charleston will be held at The Stono Ferry Racetrack in Hollywood, SC.

For tickets and more information, visit our homepage:

A behind-the-scenes look at the Steeplechase of Charleston

A Behind-The-Scenes Look at Steeplechase of Charleston

by Ryan Biddix

Edited by Pamela Brownstein

You arrive at the freshly-manicured green racetrack with your bowties securely tied and hats perfectly pinned. You socialize, walk the grounds and browse the market vendors. With a drink in one hand and a fan in the other, you take a seat in the foldable chairs you packed and wait in anticipation. You hear an announcer loudly exclaim on the intercom, the starting gun is fired and soon the horses are off to the races.

Spectators, with phone and cameras in hand, waiting to get the perfect shot. Photography by Caroline Herring.

This one day of impressive horseracing might feel seamless to the hundreds of spectators, but making it happen requires a massive amount of planning and teamwork. Steeplechase of Charleston Executive Director Chris Zoeller and Production Director Justin Smith reveal more about the behind-the-scenes of producing and organizing a horse race.

According to Zoeller, this year’s event is going to be different because The Post and Courier has amped up the winning prize to $100,000. “We’ve increased this purse to attract more horses, making for exciting horse racing,” she said.

Planning and coordination take place a year prior, Zoeller explained. “We start (planning) for the next Steeplechase horse race as soon as the last race finishes. As event planners, we are always thinking about how we can improve the event and the experience for our guests, and when you’re in the event itself, our minds are already ticking on how we can make it better for the next year,” she said.

The Steeplechase team, including Chris Zoeller (middle) and Justin Smith (left), enjoying the fruits of their labor. Photography by Alison Warburton

The event staff stays busy in the months leading up to the Steeplechase making sure all the pieces fall into place. From booking bands to creating merchandise to securing sponsors, there is not one detail that goes unnoticed.

As for the venue itself, preparation begins early. Smith said that set up begins a full week before the event and load out isn’t complete until a few days after. “In total, we will have approximately 75 staff, volunteers, and production vendors playing an important role in creating a memorable experience,” he said.

The venue sets the stage for how the horse race will look and play out, so location is carefully considered. When asked what makes a good venue, Smith explained: “It really depends on the type of race, but for a steeplechase, the racetrack at Stono Ferry is the ideal venue. There is a very large, flat infield for tailgating, entertainment, and catering. The race track is wide and well-groomed. The grounds crew and HOA at Stono Ferry take a lot of pride in the track and it really shows on race day.”

A candid photo of Executive Director Chris Zoeller (left) and Race Director Toby Edwards (right), discussing details of the event. Photography by Al Samuels.

There are so many other variables that go into producing a large outdoor event, especially one with animals. “Everything must be considered in the planning process,” Smith said. “What will the weather look like in the days leading up to the race? How can we load in vendors and infrastructure quickly and safely without damaging the grounds? Will the officials change any scheduled race times or distances before the event begins? Will our estimates for food and alcohol keep everyone happy? Will we have any major injuries or issues with the horses or jockeys? Will the band, DJ, singers, and announcers we have chosen work together to produce a cohesive show?”

However daunting this process may seem, it is nevertheless rewarding. “The most exciting part of producing a horse race is watching spectators, sponsors, officials, and staff having a great time at the event,” Smith said. “All of the hard work pays off when you see a smiling family cheer on their favorite jockey or a young athlete win their first race!”

The planning required to produce the Steeplechase of Charleston is nothing short of miraculous, and akin to that of a theatrical production. Once the “curtains are drawn” and the “lights” come up, spectators and staff alike marvel at the theatrics of the race. So, let’s give a round of applause to those who made this year’s Steeplechase event possible.

How to Make the Perfect Tailgate Spread

Steeplechase of Charleston is just days away and it’s tailgate time! We’ve assembled a list of THE best tailgate ideas to bring the class of a VIP ticket and the intimacy of a rail-side experience all into one. Relinquish the painstaking Pinterest scrolls and aimless Google searches, and look no further– we’ve got you covered.

Set Up

It’s all about the table set up. Get in touch with the artisans of our Vendor Village and get your setup on display with a cute tablecloth and platters of your best dishes. Keep in touch with Derby fashion and go bold! Think bright, pastel colors and intricate patterns. Adorn the table with flower arrangements and decorative horse ribbons.

Try your hand at coordinating a theme! Rep your university, deck out with preppy patterns or create a Steeplechase-esque theme with small horse statues and bouquets. Pull at classic fall elements with pumpkins for decoration or a warmer color scheme.


You’ve got a full day at Steeplechase of Charleston, so make sure to cover all of your cravings. Get in touch with Charleston cuisine by making BBQ sliders, pimento cheese deviled eggs or chicken and waffle skewers. Top it all off with one of this year’s signature cocktails, a Lexus Cup Whiskey Mash or an Ice Pick, to elevate your tailgate to classy cuisine.

Pack your Yetis and bundle up your bottles– fashion a wine cooler amongst your spread and keep all your tailgaters happy. Finish the day with some sweet lemon bars or cream cheese brownies for chocolate lovers.


Bringing the whole family to Steeplechase of Charleston? Get ready for a full day of eager munchers with these kid-friendly recipes. Keep the kids happy with these mini corn dogs and reward your efforts with a mint julep. Stock up on extra napkins for sticky fingers and switch out the juleps for some homemade lemonade

Don’t forget dessert! Bring out the crowd-pleasers with simple, bite-sized treats like these mini whoopie pies or these beautiful sugar cookies.

Things to Note

Don’t forget the essentials– patterned napkins and cutlery will be essential for staying tidy on race day. While we want your bellies to be satisfied and your platters to be full, we ask that attendees refrain from bringing grills with an open flame or propane. Prep those items beforehand, get creative in your menu, and leave it all on display! Inspire attendees with tailgate ideas for #SteepleCHS 2022.