more devon drama: much ado about devon

Yes, I put up this comment. Because that is how I feel. The drama around Devon is seemingly endless…and the intrigue. And to me it does feel (right or wrong) like a Main Line Watergate.

And maybe some of y’all don’t like me saying that, and truly I don’t care.

Do any of you have ANY idea how many contact me about Devon? And how many of those people are contacting me for me to contact media on their behalf with whatever it is they are telling me? And then there is the telling me not to tell them who they are?

No, I won’t discuss who is contacting me, I have honor and a sense of right and wrong. But I can’t tell the story for all of you. When I try to explain that, and explain I can’t just pass what they tell me along unsourced from anonymous sources, I am accused of being hostile.

That’s not hostility, I am being honest and blunt. This is not my story. I pretty much stopped going to Devon consistently in 2012 because I didn’t like what even I was seeing.

In my opinion, the cracks have been showing for years but I actually think now the event and event week is in serious trouble. What happens when one of these events isn’t held for a certain number of consecutive years?

Maybe some don’t like my opinion but it has always been my opinion that if Devon Horse Show failed it would just be a big development site.

This is the corporate board:

This is the foundation board, etc:

I will be honest and say that I don’t understand the cross-pollination between the boards. I also am of the opinion the boards should NOT have the same chairman. I am also of the opinion (and I am allowed to think it) that a lot of the issues surrounding the Devon horse show involve the chairman, correct??

And the chairman (yes, I am using a lowercase C because I don’t think he deserves the upper-case C), seems to wield such power? Why is he the all powerful Oz? Do we not remember about the wizard behind the curtain ending up exposed and not being what they thought he was? Or the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes?

I have heard all the stories, so has most of the local media. Yet nothing changes at Devon and every time something is written about Devon it’s less and less positive isn’t it? The last negativity was the show being canceled again. I wrote about this as well as quite a few media sources and equestrian blogs.

Then recently, Savvy Main Line dished Devon again:

📌With so many accusations and dark theories floating around, Devon Horse Show and Country Fair felt the need to issue not one, but two statements explaining its decision to cancel the show for the second straight year……..Others suspect the show, twice cancelled, might never return. Hadn’t it outgrown its tight quarters? Legacy shows are a dying breed and the demise of Devon was inevitable, wasn’t it? Might the board vote to keep the country fair in Devon, move the horse show elsewhere and sell the horse grounds to developers and should we proactively seek an easement to prevent development of the land? Isn’t there a USEF rule that nixes horse shows that are cancelled two years in a row? COVID was an act of God, but still…📌

There is all this back-and-forth and somewhere in there lies the truth. And the people who want the show to go on are contacting bloggers like me and local media like Savvy and similar people. We are all being told the same thing. But we are also all being told that we can’t disclose their names and can we pass it on to other media but still we can’t disclose names. It doesn’t work like that.

I have spent the better part of the past few days feeling like deep throat out of Watergate. Yes, a 1972 reference to the informant who shared with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein all the Watergate stuff. Woodward and Bernstein were reporters for the Washington Post.

I can’t tell this complete story. Savvy and other local media can’t tell this complete story. The people who know the story have to step forward out of the shadows and into the light and tell the story. They have to stand behind the story they want everyone else to take the risk to tell.

I’m not trying to be mean, but these people whom I actually believe to be in the know, have to decide if they wish to hang onto moldering boxes for a dying event, or if they want to come forward for the greater good to save and preserve this tradition for future generations?

Now before everyone gets all up in arms over that statement I know everyone can’t come forward. But I do know that some people can come forward. And at this point the kind of have to. If people don’t come forward and everything is anonymous tip, nothing will change.

Does the chairman actually have power over these people or do they just allow him to have perceived power over them? What happens if people come forward and tell the truth and shame the devil?

I get harassed by someone every time I write about this topic or refer to something someone else has written. As a matter of fact I get harassed about more than I tell my readers about. I am kind of getting tired of miserable people. Today I had someone tell me I was being hostile because I refused to carry their water over Devon.

And then there was the person who had to give me hell because I described the rotting colonial era farmhouse that is part of the Clews & Strawbridge property which sells boats in Frazer as being “demolition by neglect“ when that’s exactly what it is and I’m entitled to that opinion. “Who told you to say that?” they said. I mean do they have eyes in their head? Can they not see what that house looks like? And they were going to “report me”; and then got mad because I asked if they were going to report me to the opinion police because what I stated it was in fact, my opinion.

Also today? The crack pots who think people are being racist and putting forward social injustices by using the word thug with regard to invasive plants. Thug plants is something commonly said with regard to invasive plants. It’s all about the context of how a word is used. In this context the word thug is being used to describe aggressive, invasive plants. Said plants don’t get hurt feelings, don’t feel racism. People feel and experience racism, but not in the context of plants. Therefore I personally must be racist and intolerant because I think their argument over the term plant thugs is utterly ridiculous.

There is an abundance of keyboard warriors since the onset of COVID. Basically they want to tell everybody how to think, how to act, how to feel, and when to do all of the above. But they don’t want to get involved. They can’t just bitch at me and actual media sources all of the time. Sometimes we can tell your story, or part of your story, but ultimately it’s not our tale to tell. It’s yours,

Some things around Devon horse show I think that might be worth talking about is doing something like maybe create a community trust to buy the land and run Devon Horse Show in perpetuity. This isn’t my idea, this is a friend of mine‘s idea who pointed out that the football team the Green Bay Packers are owned by this type of trust. They also made the salient point that there’s more than enough money in this area to do that. And if they could raise $900,000 or whatever the amount was to try to put the horse show on this year in like 12 hours, why couldn’t they do something like this?

I do think in the short term the people who know board members need to start working those board members. There needs to be a separation of church and state immediately of the corporate board and the foundation board. And these boards shouldn’t have the same chairman. And more of both boards needs to be able to think and act independently of the chairman, correct?

Devon needs another palace coup or in my opinion this downward spiral might not stop. But the “insiders” need to step forward to do this if they really want change. Bloggers and the most local of media can’t do this for y’all. You need to step forward and tell your story.

Here is some of the Devon crap of the past few years:

Inquirer: Devon Horse Show chairman resigns amid development debate by By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
Published Mar 2, 2014

Racked Philadelphia: Controversy Puts Urban Outfitters’ New Lifestyle Center on Pause By Julie Davis Mar 4, 2014, 10:29am EST

Anonymous letter spurs questions over Devon Horse Show, proposed Devon Yard, Urban Outfitters By Linda Stein Oct 7, 2014 Updated Nov 9, 2018

SARAH COXE LANGE IS ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE DEVON HORSE SHOW

UPDATE: Devon Horse Show board ousts president, chairman
By Linda Stein Dec 22, 2014 Updated Nov 9, 2018

Inquirer: Ousted Devon Horse Show president calls change a ‘hostile takeover’ by By Justine McDaniel, Inquirer Staff Writer
Published Dec 23, 2014

Ousted Devon Horse Show box holders demand reinstatement
By Linda Stein May 21, 2015

Devon Horse Show chairman pleads guilty to disorderly conduct citation. Devon Horse Show chairman pleads guilty to disorderly conduct citation. By Richard Ilgenfritz
rilgenfritz@21st-centurymedia.com
@rpilgenfritz on Twitter Jul 22, 2016 Updated Oct 3, 2016

Devon Horse Show chief says he was ‘boisterous,’ not drunk By Grace Toohey, STAFF WRITER Published Jul 21, 2016

no devon horse show for 2021 either….

The Inquirer headline screams the bad news. Devon Horse Show is 86’d for a second year. However, Savvy Main Line broke the news before the articles and blog posts started.

And this is devastating news. The Devon Horse Show isn’t just about a tradition that has survived two World Wars, it’s a beloved player in the equestrian world. (The equestrian world in my opinion is shrinking in this area due to development, but that’s a conversation for another day.)

See the screenshot just above? This is interesting blog post to read. I don’t know the author.

I will note that there is a lot of misinformation going around in local Facebook groups about The Devon Horse Show. And I think it is a horrible disservice to all parties involved to put forward false information. That’s why I haven’t blogged about this personally until today. I’m not a Devon insider so I don’t know why exactly the show was canceled other than I believe it is the Covid19 world in which we live that is the reason at the end of the day. Essentially I wanted to think about this for a few days.

But for some to take the knee jerk reaction and try to blame ongoing zoning and other issues around the horse show for the cancellation is patently false information. That has nothing to do with this decision and the Devon Horse Show in and of itself has not so much to do with the current zoning issues either in my opinion. And that’s not to say that there haven’t been zoning issues about the horse show itself because there have been.

The zoning kerfuffle has always been in part about about the residents who live around the horse show who don’t want everything around the horse show super sized and overly urbanized. They don’t want the horse show to go away they just don’t want development to overrun everything.

👉🏻See www.saveeasttown.org and http://www.preservedevon.org/. 👈🏻

I think that is perfectly reasonable and I have good friends who live within the shadow of the horse show and have for years. It’s a lovely area that is facing extinction because of development. Those people are trying to preserve what makes the area special including the horse show. And just because some of these people also have had issue with the head of the horse show over things like the ongoing BS with boxes, whisper down the lane wants to blame THEM for the horse show being cancelled? (Follow this LINK to an article where Devon was taken to court over the box issue…and LOST.)

Come on! I am not a fan of what some of the Devon Horse Show had evolved into in the past few years complete with the ridiculous women who don’t know one end of the horse from the other showing up in all their tacky glory for Ladies Hat Day which used to be truly lovely, but even I am concerned about Devon.

But even with my concern about Devon because of the past fond memories I actually have, I’m not going to run around and blame the neighbors. That’s crap.

No one could have predicted a global pandemic, but I think plenty could have predicted future problems with Devon Horse under current leadership.

Maybe, just maybe, the keyboard critics could get off their proverbial high horses and take a long hard look at Devon and it’s financial structure and current leadership and maybe decide from there how to save it. Because it’s going to need saving.

When I was growing up Devon to me meant summer was here. And my friends and I would go in our old school Lilly Pulitzer and Vested Gentress dresses and Eskil’s clogs or Pappagallo espadrilles and khakis or jeans and wander the then much smaller vendor area and midway.

We would stop and get Devon fudge to take home, check out the antique dealers booths, the hospital’s thrift shop booth in what seems like an old spring house across from the burgers, ride the Ferris wheel and then go to the stands and watch the horses go round and round from someone’s family box. One of my favorite things were when the carriages would enter the ring and the majestic Clydesdales. It was so exciting.

I used to love Devon Horse Show. I remember things like the person who used to have cool antique prints next door to the woman who would bring her Jack Russells who would hang out in her booth. Or all of the years getting a Devon burger and hanging out at the picnic tables watching the world go by. And Betty Moran there to greet you in that booth next to where you entered the show.

I stopped consistently going to Devon Horse Show in 2012. I actually went to the fall classic show a few times between then and Covid19. I liked that show. It was more chill then the see and be seen that May Devon had morphed into.

A great little history of the show can be found at:

A Look Back at “Old Devon”, An All-American Horse Show by Nina Fedrizzi

One of the Devon related events that I was honored to attend was October, 2015. It was the dedication of the Devon Horse Show historical marker. I still have never understood why the horse show seemingly found it so objectionable, but the sign actually had to be placed across Lancaster Avenue from the horse show. A few of my friends, including the late Michael Morrison, poured their hearts and souls into getting the marker erected. The dedication ceremony was October 2015.

I will note this is not the only time in its history that Devon has not had a horse show. There was no show between 1900 and 1910. In 1918, with the US in World War I the show was supposed to be cancelled, but apparently a much smaller show instead happened. The show that year benefited emergency aid and war relief. According to the Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society it was the following year in which Bryn Mawr Hospital became the recipient charity for the first time. During the Second World War there was no show 1943, 1944, 1945.

The Devon Horse Show is a beloved tradition. If the show’s nouveau patrons and box holders continue to support the show even through these closures, I think the show will survive. But the thing is this: are the people today who pretend to be philanthropic really as philanthropic as those who came before us? Because that’s in my opinion one of the things that is going to have to happen for this show to survive and come back: philanthropy.

I also feel that for the Devon Horse Show to come back and thrive they need to make peace with their neighbors for real. There also needs to be more transparency on the part of the horse show on the financials. Break all of the costs down, and work out future scenarios, maybe go more back to basics? Go a little retro?

Devon can survive. But perhaps the decision to hold off another year will end up giving the horse show folks the gift of reflection? Maybe they need a new Chairman? I realize some people will think I’m being horrible by saying that, but I don’t see how the show has been well …..consistently thriving under his leadership. And I’m entitled to that opinion.

Here’s hoping Devon uses this cancellation to improve, and step forward to an even better future. Get back to the tradition.

Thanks for stopping by.

living the covid19 life: sleepless nights

Vintage pillowcase purchased at a store now part of a mandated non-essential closure , Magnolia Cottage Shop in Malvern/Frazer.

Sleepless nights in coronavirus land. I think we all are having them. Last night into this morning was mine. A wise friend once said to me nothing good happens if you worry late into the night. So I laid there and listened to the patter of rain on the roof, and eventually drifted off.

3 AM was just when this got to me. But now here we are, it’s Friday and everyone I know and their families survived the week in the COVID19 world, so I think that is good. Think of COVID19 as the ultimate 12 step program. No, I am not and never have been in recovery. Someone I know who is suggested this parallel because this current world we live in can only be handled one day at a time.

Overnight we learned that California had issued a state wide shelter in place. Translation? #staythefuckhome. So why can’t people just do that without being told? Why are people so bent out of shape that WaWa for example stopped self-serve coffee? I mean come on, are people really that obtuse or selfish? Someone I know who had to be out briefly yesterday had remarked when they were out they noticed how people in some places seemed to act like it was business as usual. They wondered how a car detailing place they passed by was an essential business.

Things I think about include what happens to residential and retail/commercial renters? Are their landlords being kind? What are they doing for tenants? I get that a lot of these property owners have mortgages and bills to pay, but not all do and some probably have mortgages that are low enough that they could maybe offer some rent abatements? Are they?

I have a lot of friends and acquaintances with small businesses. I say a prayer for them every day. Some we can support remotely, some we can’t. It’s a horrible Sophie’s Choice situation, isn’t it?

I can’t think of anyone not affected by this global pandemic. I have friends that live overseas and a stepbrother too. This is no joke. Yet you have to wonder what some people and organizations are thinking.

My alma mater The Shipley School has canceled the entire reunion weekend in May. I think it’s the right thing to do. Yet on one thread talking about it someone said “Damn this panic over nothing!” With those people you can only shake your head and walk away.

Other events are being or have been canceled. A Philadelphia tradition, the Dad Vail Regatta has been cancelled. The Penn Relays have been canceled for the first time in 126 years. I met the famous Olympian Jesse Owens there when I was a child.

Other cancellations include Radnor Hunt events like the balance of the fox hunting season. That’s good and here’s hoping some of their membership stops gathering at the club for events and cocktails now. I saw a photo recently of a bunch of folks at an event there and the event selfies were reminiscent of “let them eat cake” a la Marie Antoinette. Not trying to be mean. But people in clubs aren’t immortal.

Organizations Philadelphians have not heard from include the Orpheus Club. We belong and did not attend the March event because of coronavirus, and they have a spring concert at the Kimmel Center which I am somewhat surprised has not been postponed or canceled. Their events are quite popular and well, how do you practice social distancing at a large, crowded event? The short answer is you can’t. Orpheus we will still love you if you have to postpone the spring concert.

Now another organization which has NOT canceled which people are talking about is the Devon Horse Show. So many other equine spring events like Winterthur’s Point to Point has been canceled. Even the Grand National in England has been cancelled. But Devon Horse Show remains silent. Devon is a HUGE event, which makes it exactly a big kind of risk, doesn’t it? What are the show organizers thinking?

Governor Tom Wolf has ordered all non life-sustaining businesses to shut down. So it’s going to get more quiet. And yes this virus is going to cause and is causing an economic hit. I have thought a lot of the supposed bubbling economy was smoke and mirrors for a couple of years, so hopefully we will come out of this battered and not broken.

But the thing is this: we are exactly and precisely in a situation beyond our control. As in we can only control ourselves. So we need to step up. We can be selfish or we can be smart and compassionate. Now is the time to pay it forward. Even little things like just calling a friend to say hi. Checking in on neighbors.

To get through this we need to keep the home fires burning and just stay the hell home. And we need to keep our kids home and the older ones need to learn about social distancing. I think the idiots who had to go on spring break need to be quarantined somewhere and sent home if healthy.

Now it’s not all horrible. Some beautiful things have happened. Music floating over rooftops in Italy and other European countries, musicians playing from home via social media platforms, and more. And we have to give a shout out to our grocery stores who are really stepping up their games. Now if people would just buy what they need and resist the urge to hoard.

Locally there are random acts of kindness abounding which makes my heart happy and gives us all hope. From people who keep chickens sharing eggs and more. Neighbors helping neighbors.

We live in a time where the biggest positive to come out of this is people are starting to remember what is important in this life. That’s a good thing. Look I’m not Pollyanna, I can be really negative and I had a sleepless night. Just like when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 I am choosing to do my best to remain positive. We have to choose hope. We have to not let the boogie men who appear in the middle of the night when we are sleepless not get the better of us.

Look, it won’t kill us if we stay home for a while. It might kill us if we don’t. Choose life. #staythefuckhome

Happy Friday. Be well.

j. michael morrison, your memory will always be a blessing

This photo and all of the photos in this post was such a happy day (October 27, 2015) – it was the day that the historical marker was put up commemorating Devon Horse Show (across Lancaster Avenue from the horse show.) That was how I came to know J. Michael Morrison.

I just learned about an hour ago that Michael has died.

Michael was an amazing human being and a passionate historian. He was President of the King of Prussia Historical Society and the Tredyffrin-Easttown Historical Society.

Michael told me in September he was dying.

“Sadly I have pulmonary fibrosis, a terminal illness. Probably won’t last another year. I need someone to pick up where I left off. ” was what he said to me.

Michael was always working towards better historic preservation. He was an endless font of knowledge. He had been a go to person for me since moving to Chester County.

“You are a dear friend. Thank you. I will stay in touch.”

That was the last message he texted to me.

I am told arrangements will be private. Honor good people like Michael by living your best life. Maybe also consider supporting the two historical societies that Michael devoted so many years to, the Tredyffrin-Easttown Historical Society and the King of Prussia Historical Society.

Just recently it was announced that Michael was the recipient of the 2019 Ella Aderman Acorn Award for Preservation of Montgomery County by the Historical Society of Montgomery County .

Another dear friend of mine, Pattye Benson (President of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust among the many hats she wears), reminded me of other things Michael did and how she had known him for easily 35 years.

Pattye wrote to me this morning:

Michael was a spring lecturer for 3 years for the Trust — we have one lecturer at Jenkins each year and we would have Michael speak — he spoke on the history of Devon Inn, on the history of Devon and another one was the King of Prussia Inn, history and its relocation….Michael commanded large audiences, which is why we held his lectures at Jenkins. One of the true gentlemen, he and I first met 35 years ago… we would often meet for coffee and discuss the Trust, the Jones Log Barn, the relationship between the Trust and the Historical Society. I will miss him always.

Michael Morrison, we are all better for having known you. Fly with the angels.

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

 

devo 1

 

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?

drunk 2

 

devo 7

Comments about the jump in prices like:

devo 5

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

devo 4

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!