hark I hear there is a bonnet contest somewhere today?

Reader submitted photo

I don’t know if they were going for Jane Austen or Jane Eyre….. or perhaps Surrey With The Fringe On Top LOL?

Reader submitted photo

You can tell they spent noodles (and OODLES LOL) of money on their costumes….. but I’m sorry this isn’t supposed to be a masquerade party is it? Or is it?

Reader submitted photo

pony up for hat wars

It’s here! The sport of kings everyone heralds Memorial Day and the first minutes of summer in with: hat wars at Devon Horse Show.  “Ladies” Day is May 31, and I am certain it won’t disappoint.


“Buy your reservation now”? Seriously are they paying someone to write this stuff? What happened to “make your reservations now, purchase tickets today?”

But please note The Devon Horse Show category of “Best Jewels of Devon” – I shudder to think about that bedazzling that will be done…can’t you just see bedazzled Lilly LOL?

Sigh….remember the genteel days gone by that once was Ladies’ Day? It used to be so civilized and nice. Today’s Ladies’ Day is just not for me.

I have lovely friends who are still stalwarts of this event.  But even they do not care for the element of Nouveau Devon it attracts.  It’s that whole faux society of it all.   Some of these women think that because they can throw a few fake flowers on the wrong color straw hat and layer on fake pearls that are so cheap they look like pop beads, and buy new Lilly dresses that they are instant society. And the irony is how many of them have ever ridden a horse, how many of them are in fact afraid of horses?  How many of them actually know what is going on at equestrian events?  (I do not pretend to be an expert, but I rode a little as a child and I have a general idea of what’s going on because I have a lot of friends who are horse people for lack of a better description.)

I have always loved horses. And I used to love going to the Devon Horse Show.  But what Devon has evolved into in recent years makes me wish and hope it returns one day to what it was. 

In my mind’s eye I see the Devon I personally remember best. The Devon of the mid 1970s through the 1990s. That was the Devon where you still saw the real Lilly Pulitzer and Vested Gentress dresses and spring/summer ladies pants outfits, and gentlemen had their khacki pants (lots of “Nantucket Reds”) and boaters.

What always sets the vintage Lilly apart from the modern Lilly are not the patterns, but the fabrics.  Today’s fabrics are cheap looking and feeling for the most part.  The fabrics of vintage Lilly and vintage Vested Gentress had weight to them and body. The cotton material was of such a high-quality and weave that it would hold up to heat and humidity.  Modern Lilly has fine patterns but the actual quality of the fabric cheapens the whole deal.

What will be interesting to watch this season at Devon is the society coverage. My money is on Caroline O’Halloran and her Savvy Main Line society glam squad and what will be their coverage.  

Caroline has added a real society column to her super popular website. Caroline’s columns feature a team of ladies who actually used to work for the society pages, and real coverage of events. And with their photos and Caroline’s columns you don’t just have people lined up for well-dressed society mugshots, you have well styled photos, an actual description of the event, what it’s benefiting, and so on and so forth.   It’s old-school and delightful in a modern website format and for those who chose to advetise it is a superior platform and I am not compensated to say that, it’s my opinion.  I find Savvy a much more polished and comprehensive a product when compared to what Susan Scovill puts out, unfortunately for Susan. While Susan pioneered the idea of a local website with event photos when she and the Main Line papers got their divorce a few years ago, her website in my opinion needs to evolve.  

Here is hoping people are better behaved at Devon this year, right? Last year and the police stuff wasn’t very Devon was it? And here is hoping that the people who attend Devon Horse  Show behave better than the people who attended Radnor Hunt, right?  People who are members of Radnor Hunt have been chattering about those who were guests at this season’s event which is at a private club who behaved liked early Animal House Frat House and if this is true, how could they show such casual disregard for Radnor Hunt?

It’s a lovely day for Devon today, however, so go buy a hat, see the horses and have a lemon stick!

the case for auld lang syne

Devon Horse Show in years past.

Devon Horse Show in years past. 2009 or 2008 I think. Maybe earlier.

I have not really said a word for days as the tawdriness of Nouveau Devon and the 2016 scandals and incidents have swarmed around local news outlets and social media.  Yes, I have posted links to published media reports based on police reports and interviews with them, but I haven’t said much. Truthfully, I have been somewhat dumbfounded by all of these bizarre incidents.

I used to love Devon.  I stopped loving it a few years ago when things started to change, because the people running the show started to change. That made the vibe start to change. And when the coup happened in December 2014, well that pretty much was enough for me with Devon.

Devon circa 2012

Devon circa 2012

But then these people also kicked up a fuss about a Pennsylvania State Historical Marker honoring the Devon Horse Show. That pretty much made them horses asses. They might own a lot in some cases, but they don’t own local history do they?

I attended the historical marker ceremony across the road from the horse show in October, 2015 and was honored that the local historians and others who had worked so hard to just see that the history was remembered included me on the guest list. That day I felt old Devon again because well, a lot of the people who once made the show special attended that ceremony.

I did not attend Devon this year.  I was asked, but I just couldn’t do it. To me it seems such a mockery of what it once was.  And well, it seems that this year the seams are showing and it is falling apart?

First there was the litigation over the skybox that made the papers.

Judge rules in favor of ousted Devon Horse Show skybox holder

On Thursday a Chester County judge upheld an injuction telling horse show officials to let the woman use her skybox.

Trish Hueber, of Penn Valley, paid $20,000 for the 1B skybox in April 2012. She also paid $1,800 annually in maintenance fees to the horse show. However, this year after she responded to a letter that requested the maintenance fee, her check for the 2016 maintenance fee was returned and show officials told Hueber that she had violated rules and no longer had the use of the box, the suit said. Horse show officials also contended that the $20,000 she paid in 2012 was a charitable donation, rather than for the purchase of the skybox.

After Hueber’s lawyer, Cary McClain, sent a letter regarding the skybox requesting proof that there had not been an agreement or a tax return showing the charitable contribution, show officials removed Hueber from her position as vice president of the Hospitality Committee, a committee that she had served on for 29 years.

Devon circa 2012

Devon circa 2012

 

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And then there were all the comments about the uptick in alcohol at the event as a whole, and how is it a horse show needs so much booze? Especially when people are caring for very expensive animals and equipment and people DRIVE home after the show and fair is over each night? Comments like the couple I am posting below and many others including ones where people are describing being at the horse show with their kids watching drunks stumble by? How is that family friendly? And if someone has had too much and falls off say the Ferris Wheel or stumbles into the ring when the Clydesdales are thundering by, then what?

Devon 2012

Devon 2012

And I already discussed “Ladies” Hat Day so no need to rehash that except for all the comments floating around about things like event gate crashers that day? And how is that fair that they elbowed women out of the way who PAID to attend the event, in many cases a tidy premium? And when women approached event organizers they were told that Devon doesn’t like to turn people away? Huh?

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Comments about the jump in prices like:

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And this which pretty much summed up how Philadelphia and the Main Line has changed along with the horse show:

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Also heard a lot of vendors were not happy this year and they are locked in for what? Two years at a time and it’s expensive which is why the retail costs were reportedly so much higher this year in the shops?

And when they kept reporting “record attendance” and the live feed showed empty stands, what about that? People said the whole thing felt different this year and that it was sparsely attended a fair bit of the time so what about that? Is that all made up too?

Ok here is the current board:

corp board 1

corp board 2

Devon 2012

Devon 2012

Look I totally get that things and events have to grow and evolve to stay current and survive, BUT Devon Horse Show did this to themselves and maybe just maybe they all need to stop denying things like bad frat house party behavior and just own that they need to regroup and figure this out….before Devon is lost for good?

Or is that the plan? To let the show degrade to such a point that there really is no show and then what?

Yes, people aren’t going to like this post. They will say I am being unfair and disloyal to Devon. I am not. This stuff has all happened and is all documented and everyone is talking about it.

It’s time to bring back old Devon.  The event that had panache and style. Everyone always cocktailed at Devon but it did not use to be such a reported free-for-all, did it?

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welcome to the circus


It’s Ladies Hat Day at Devon Horse Show. I know plenty of people are going to take umbrage at this post, but I don’t care it’s my opinion. And it’s more Mardi Gras and circus then civilized event. And today when people who paid for tickets went to event staff and point out the freeloaders who haven’t paid and the response is a shrug and they don’t want to exclude anyone yet you have all those women who paid to attend a charitable event? And what kind of person freeloads on a charity event anyway? And what kind of event staff don’t know enough to manage their guest lists and their event? If people haven’t paid and they are supposed to why aren’t you showing them the door????

Sometimes you just shouldn’t mess with tradition. This event used to be lovely and ladylike and civilized. Pretty women wore pretty spring dresses and beautiful spring hats.  They sipped a glass (as in one) of champagne, maybe a glass of white wine, or iced tea with mint and had tea sandwiches and petit fours.

Now it has a circus-like element to it and I don’t think that’s a positive. And we should leave Mardi Gras to New Orleans.

I love hats. I don’t wear them very often but I love the look of beautiful hats. This event and these hats  are so over-the-top and so engineered at this point that it’s absurd.

This year the report is the event is not well choreographed and people are kind of irritated that they spent the money on tickets.

This used to be a very fun event and it wasn’t a free-for-all. And it seems the more freakish the hat or the attire the better. And how is that about a horse show? Or a lovely civilized tradition reminiscent of an earlier time? There is absolutely nothing wrong with a true ladies luncheon, it can be so lovely.

This event used to be so pretty and I just don’t see it this year.

Am I there? No. I have a very difficult time supporting Nouveau Devon. But people are sharing photos like crazy on social media.

Enjoy the circus folks. I miss the way it used to be.  To the ladies I have seen in photos who are keeping traditional? Your hats and dresses are lovely. Enjoy your day and don’t feed the animals.

And the photos I am using were sent to me. They were not taken by professional photographers, they were taken by real people slightly aghast at what they are viewing. But they have never experienced full fontal poseurs before.

As a related aside, should a hat be considered prizewinning on someone else’s head when reports are the “milliner” who designed it wore it herself just way too recently at Radnor Hunt for their hat festivities? And what of the “milliner” who couldn’t be a vendor who set up shop outside the gates near carriaging peddling her wares like a Philadelphia Hot Dog vendor without a permit?

The reports from Devon this year are more and more the hue and cry of skip it next year. That is so truly and awfully sad.

here we go again…will easttown have it’s “waterloo”?

Former Waterloo Gardens…sad from any angle now

Once upon a time there was Waterloo Gardens. Then it went bust and development plans grew instead.  The initial development plans and news of a development tore the Devon Horse Show apart and neighbors have been on guard ever since, haven’t they?

 Stark in black and white is Waterloo's former gates unkempt and looking very much like Main Line Grey Gardens

Stark in black and white is Waterloo’s former gates unkempt and looking very much like Main Line Grey Gardens

Of course the former Waterloo site in Devon would be a target for development. It is just too juicy to let alone.  It’s Chester County but considered the Main Line and well, infill development is at a premium…not to residents of course. Developers just lick their chops at the prospect of such a site.

It’s been quiet around the proposed “Devon Yards“…but no more because up has cropped a public meeting notice…

NOTICE IS GIVEN that the Board of Supervisors of Easttown Township will conduct a public hearing and special public meeting on Wednesday, February 3, 2016, at 7:00 p.m., prevailing time at the Beaumont Elementary School located at 575 Beaumont Road, Devon, Pennsylvania 19333

Surprise and happy 2016! For your pleasure Tredyffrin and Easttown residents you have a public hearing to have developer designed zoning shoved down your throats because what is a developer worth his salt with out a custom designed bad ass zoning overlay?  Devon Center Overlay DRAFT Ordinance – January 2016  (Yes indeedy! hot off the presses!)

So this developer seems to literally want to citify Chester County from Devon to Downingtown (and in between.) You have 20 Moores Rd Malvern , Charlestown “Village” Malvern , Clover Mill Exton, 120 Pennsylvania Ave Malvern, and who knows what else in the pipeline.

The behemoth of King Street Eastside Flats. Still a fair bit of empty retail space and unknown true occupancy. These buildings tower over the tiny Borough of Malvern and traditional houses and store fronts. There are some terrific businesses there for now but will they stay? Only time will tell. This development is out of character with a tiny town.

This project is brought to you by Eli Kahn who brought Eastside Flats to the tiny borough of Malvern (and sold). Now Eastside Flats when built was such a jarring square peg in a round hole that the next election in Malvern saw not only a change in Mayor

It's all a grand façade. The side and rear of Eastside Flats make the building look like no tell motel architecture.

It’s all a grand façade. The side and rear of Eastside Flats make the building look like no tell motel architecture.

but also quite a few borough council members .

So now in the new year as nouveau neighbors at Devon Horse show flex their muscles across the way “Devon Yards” is heating up again. And as predicted quietly by many, the other shoe is already dropping.  Hence the public hearing.

A letter came out from Easttown Neighbors that I received today.   EasttownNeighborsletter(00147310).  Not surprising and I can’t blame them. If I was staring down the barrel of the prospect of a area altering project like this I would not be at ease or happy.

We hadn’t heard much about this whole “Devon Yards” since Easttown Planning approved the plan in November, 2015. At the time Easttown Manager Dan Fox assured a reporter everyone has a voice in the process but when it comes to developer vs. real people is that true?

Only time will tell.

I am a realist and this land was never going to be a park. You knew it would get developed given the location.  But it’s all about the density and why can’t it be a project compatible but that won’t crush the surrounding area?

This project has gotten a lot of press and will continue to. (You can check out what it was imagined as in April 2015 in Philadelphia Magazine).  And way back in 2013 there was going to be a small hotel and some retail. Now it’s leaning towards density and a towering structure TALLER than Eastside Flats in Malvern Borough? Yikes.

I do not have to see this from my window and for that I am grateful.  I am totally concerned however that yet another custom zoning overlay designed by a developer is up for consideration in yet another municipality.

These custom zoning overlays are just designed (and designed often by the developers themselves) to give developers what they need at the expense of residents. (Sorry that is my opinion and am I wrong?)  After all just look at the drawings a developer will bring into a township meeting…any township meeting.  Like the Elysian Fields sit their pet projects with no actual reality of true perspective or human scale involved.  A resident will go to the meetings and wonder if it’s Logan’s Run and existing residents are being erased because well…you never ever see any kind of rendering that shows what these grand plans and Elysian Fields will actually look like next to everyone else who has the misfortune of kind of sort of being in their way. And setbacks? Forgeddaboutit you might as well be in a city.

So now Easttown residents are stuck with the same conundrum as residents in municipalities before them have struggled with.  What do they want their futures to look like and does it really matter because will their local government actually listen to them?

Anyway, I hope residents and lots and lots of media turn out for this hearing. And I hope for once with a ginormous new development what residents want will matter.  But the jaded realist in me doesn’t hold out much hope.

Maybe it’s finally time to change the Municipalities Planning Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania? Just a thought.

Thanks for stopping by.

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#thisplacematters

In spite of the nouveau regime at Devon Horse Show and Country Fair Inc . the PA Historical Marker is up and dedicated. 

History matters and belongs to everyone. More photos and details later! Good job Devon Preservation Alliance! 

Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline was a no show. 

Isn’t it kinda rude when politicians running for re-election invite themselves to be a part of something and cancel last minute kinda sorta lamely? Oh well, it was nothing Michelle, just a bunch of people who might have considered voting for you, that’s all.

This was a wonderful afternoon and I loved being part of it. There were so many ex-horse show folks there it makes you wonder who is left.

And oh by the way? LOTS of media coverage, including TV stations as well as newspapers!

someone a little testy at devon horse show?

This  circulated briefly . Seriously? Wowza. Still so threatened by historians and preservationists? And still foaming at the mouth over a historical marker that if DHCF collectively removed their heads from their posteriors should be thrilled with that, right?

Apparently the only people in Chester County more dumb that West Vincent Ken Miller “operatives” are the folks from Devon Horse Show.  I was told that this appeared for a small window of time on the website and apparently it was actually a letter that went out on Wednesday to all the members of the DHCF Inc. BOD’s and the Foundation? Really???

And did they think this hot potato wasn’t going to make the rounds privately?  Wow they need to be schooled by teenagers on chat programs and social media, or bloggers.

Oopsies. (And now for a resounding chorus of deny, deny, deny….only they sent it, didn’t they?)

What a disgrace and mess this current regime continues to make of a proud tradition.  I am so terribly sad for Devon. These people just don’t get it.

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devon nonsense redacted 10.16.15a