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A lot more than horses at this year's Devon show

The annual event, which opens Thursday, also offers rides, shopping and a special fudge.

Don't let the Horse fool you.

Organizers of the event commonly called the "Devon Horse Show" stage a country fair alongside the equestrian competition, which draws Olympic-caliber horses and riders.

In fact, the fair raises more money than the horse show for the event, benefiting Bryn Mawr Hospital.

A class of hunter pony foals will open the show Thursday at 7 a.m. in the Gold Ring. Three hours later, the Ferris wheel will begin to spin on the midway.

The midway is scheduled to open at 10 a.m. daily, 11 a.m. on Sundays, through the final day, June 2. It shuts down after the last horse show event, usually 9:30 to 10 p.m. Buy a wristband for $15 - $12 on Family Days, Thursday and Tuesday May 24 and 29 - and hop the rides at will. In addition to the Ferris wheel, a carousel and a moon bounce are included.

Games of chance line the midway, along with opportunities to eat. You'll find the standard fair food, burgers and dogs, and a touch of the old-fashioned in the lemon sticks.

But there is one edible unique to the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair - fudge.

It is unique because volunteers make it, following a decades-old recipe. The recipe was a secret until the 1980s, when a Devon cookbook appeared, spelling out the secret. Still, that has not dampened the enthusiasm of the volunteers, who started making fudge early this month, hoping to churn out 1,600 pounds.

Fair organizers, keeping in mind their location – the Main Line – also try to please the more discerning palate. Fried oysters, filet mignon and lobster will be available at the Garden Café. The upper-crust offerings also will be available to go.

For those who might weary of watching horses clear fences and children bobble in the moon bounce, there is also a shopping row, which includes a Lily Pulitzer boutique. Items with a horse motif are almost everywhere amid wares that include jewelry, paintings and furniture.

Diversions notwithstanding, you'd be cheating yourself if you didn't wander over to one of the two riding rings. If you, or your knee-high companion, do not find the sight of a horse and rider clearing five feet of fence breathtaking, there are other options.

Competitions are varied and include jumpers, hunters, saddlebreds, roadsters and four-in-hand driving. Exhibitions of dressage and barrel racing are featured, and border collies will show off in the Dixon Oval on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, during breaks in the action. Programs, priced at $12, will be sold at the entry gate, where a schedule of the day's events will be posted.

One eye-opening event is scurry driving, in which pairs of ponies hitched to a carriage race around an obstacle course.

For all the fun, the event is a serious fund-raiser for Bryn Mawr Hospital. Last year, the hospital received $300,000. Since 1919, the event has funneled more than $12 million to the institution.

No fooling.