By Stefanie Bainum
HOLLYWOOD, S.C. (WCIV) -- And they're off...the Charleston Cup officially rides again. Sunday, the resurrection of the Steeplechase horse race at the Plantation at Stono Ferry, brought out big hats and bright colors to celebrate a local pastime.
"It's really a Lowcountry tradition that we were glad we were able to return. We've been very well received by the community again and hopefully it will be here for a long time to come," said race director, Karl McMillan.
For eight years the track fell quiet after the Stono Ferry Homeowner's Association took control of the land and the races stopped. McMillan said it seemed like the perfect time to bring the competition back to life.
"It just seemed like the time was right for it. Economic times are tough everybody wants to get out and have a good time. The year after Hugo was the biggest year we ever had and people were ready to get out and have a good day. I think it's that same type of feeling right now," said McMillan.
And many attendees couldn't agree more.
"To have it here to have it local and a quick drive is fantastic. It's great to have it back," said Jay White.
"We've heard so much about it over the years previous, and it's been eight years and we're glad to be here," said Susan Cunard, who drove from Atlanta to attend the event.
Charleston Cup featured four horse races, going around the track twice, and only lasting a couple of minutes each. But to many the event is much more than a horse race.
"There's so much energy, there's so much passion, you can tell it's been a while since you've had the Charleston Cup. It's just great," said Cunard.
Race organizers said the event provided a special type of social therapy. They estimate about 8,000 people came out to this year's race.
"Biggest year we ever had was 15,000 after Hugo, we won't be anywhere close to that this year but it's been such a good response. We feel we'll get back to that next year," said McMillan.
Already, looking down the track and saddling up for next year, a tradition determined to stay in the race.
The next Charleston Cup is set to take place the second week of November, 2012.