The horses are training, the food trucks are rolling in, and the band is ready to rock, as the Fort Erie Race Track gets set to open the gate for its 126th season of live racing on May 23.

“For opening day we’ve got a ton of awesome entertainment for race fans, families, and everyone in between,” said James Culic, the track’s marketing manager. “Not only do we have a full card of exciting horse races, but we’ll have a great selection of food trucks here to fill people’s bellies, and a wicked band ready to hit the stage as soon as the last horse crosses the finish line.”

Voted Niagara’s favourite party band, The Figure Four, will hit the stage around 7:30 p.m. once live racing is finished, to kick off the first of seven free concerts being hosted at the track this season.

Before that, the crowds can enjoy the finest thoroughbred racing in Ontario and score themselves a free T-shirt with purchase of a race program. New this year, a special children’s T-shirt has been designed for the young race fans, which is available alongside the usual adult T-shirt.

The first race hits the dirt at 4:30 p.m. but race fans can arrive early to score a T-shirt or grab some food from one of the many food trucks. Alongside popular longtime favourites like the local fry truck and ice cream truck, this year people can score a towering burger from Carson’s Food Truck, or some pork from PigOut Niagara, who will have a full pig roasting on a spit.

Beyond opening day, the Fort Erie Race Track has a bunch of interesting events to fill out the racing season all summer long. The dog races, a hit with youngsters, return this year with wiener dog races on July 16 and basset hound races on Aug. 13. On Aug. 8 the track will be bursting with nostalgia as it hosts its first 80s night, where Niagara’s premier retro cover band, Back to the 80s, will transport crowds three decades back in time.

Two other cover bands will be hitting the stage this season, including The Trip and Neo Young, who will be covering The Tragically Hip and Neil Young. Local rockers Howling Horns and Westwind will also be performing, and the best Beatles cover band around, The Caverners, will close out the track’s summer concert series in late August.

For a full list of events, race dates, and everything else you want to know about what’s going on at the Fort Erie Race Track this season, visit