The opulent Fête Impériale summer ball at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna gives guests the chance to dance on the very same decorated arena where the Lipizzaner stallions usually perform their spellbinding equestrian ballet. While the galleries of the Winter Riding School throng with ball guests taking in the spectacle, the Summer Riding School and Stallburg are packed with dancers enjoying an unforgettable night under the stars. Stands throughout the venue offer wine and champagne.
The evening begins with the official entrance of the Hoch- und Deutschmeister Band. Once the Winter Riding School officially opens, the dancing gets going, ending with the popular public quadrille at midnight. The ball officially closes at 4am. A strict dress code calls for floor-length ball gowns for the ladies, and a choice of tails, tuxedo, dinner jacket or gala uniform for the gentlemen.
Empress Maria Theresa hosted her legendary Damenkarussellen at the Winter Riding School in the mid-18th century and now, the Fête Impériale breathes new life into the time-honoured tradition of hosting court dances at the Spanish Riding School. The profits from the summer ball are used exclusively to support breeding and care programs for Europe’s oldest thoroughbreds. Last year’s event attracted around 3,000 guests.
- Fête Impériale, Jun 24, 2016, Spanish Riding School, Michaelerplatz 1, 1010 Vienna, www.fete-imperiale.at