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Krista McNallyJun 9, 2017, 6:31 pmJun 9, 2017, 8:35 pm

Festivities begin in Elmont as 149th Belmont Stakes gets underway

Horse racing competition features many events and shopping experiences

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Many people are excited to get dressed up and come out to the 149th Annual Belmont Stakes. The races kicked off Friday and people are flocking the park and surrounding communities.

Tens of thousands of people will descend on Elmont this weekend for the event.

Kristen Jarnagin with Discover Long Island says that the entire surrounding area benefits from the Belmont Stakes, including the many hotels that are fully booked and the local businesses. There are also several community events taking place, according to officials.

Nassau County police says officers will have an increased presence in and around Belmont Park.

Officials encourage people to get out and enjoy the many events. One thing many people enjoy is buying a race day hat. Christine Moore Millinery has pop up shops at the Garden City Hotel and the track.

"Big Shot," Long Island's favorite Billy Joel cover band will be performing after the races and that is one of the many events planned.

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