Festival report: 17th annual Polo for Charity

Polo at the plantation

Sport of kings, fashion fit for a queen on display at Okatie Rotary event

October 15, 2010 

  • When: 2 p.m. Sunday

    Where: Rose Hill Plantation, Bluffton

    Cost: Tickets are $15 a person at the gate and $10 in advance; advance tickets can be purchased at Markel's and branches of Liberty Savings and BB&T in Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island

    Details: rotarypolo@hotmail.com

The sound of hooves beating the earth will mix with the clink of champagne glasses at the annual Polo for Charity at 2 p.m. Sunday at Rose Hill Plantation in Bluffton.

But the match isn't just about the so-called sport of kings â€" it's an afternoon that could help students further their education.

WHY YOU SHOULD GO

The polo is the centerpiece, but the real show can occur along the sidelines. As is standard for polo matches, the field of play is surrounded by tented regalia. Sponsors will bring out their finest silver and champagne for an afternoon picnic. Guests are welcome to come dressed as if it's the Kentucky Derby. Once again, awards will be given out for best hat and best tailgate.

9 Promenade Martini Bar will be offering refreshments, and student groups from the University of South Carolina Beaufort and Bluffton High School will hold a bake sale.

"It's about the polo, but it's also about having a good time, as well," said co-chairwoman Betsy Bennett.

As for the polo itself, the game is an exhibition, a showcase of what the sport is all about. Players are from as near as Savannah and as far as Argentina, said co-chairman Tony Leister.

"The weather looks nice, so it should be a great day for polo," he said.

THE CAUSE

The Okatie Rotary Club has been hosting the match as a fundraiser for several different student groups in the area: USCB nursing scholarships, Okatie Rotary scholarships for students at Bluffton High School's Interact Club, the New Literacy Project at the Pritchardville Elementary School and The Dictionary Project that gives young students dictionaries.

About 2,000 people are expected at the match, organizers said. The hope is to raise about $28,000, similar to last year, Bennett said.

BEHIND THE SCENES

The first match was held in 1982, when local dentist Dr. Sandy Termotto noticed the field and approached plantation officials about staging a polo match.

The plantation held the matches for several years until Termotto became president of the Okatie Rotary and asked if the club could take over the event. The match is now in its 17th year.

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