Teen star Zendaya to perform at track open house
SARATOGA SPRINGS Disney Channel star and “Dancing with the Stars” finalist Zendaya Coleman will perform at the 33rd annual open house at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday.
It will be the first concert at the track in recent memory.
“It is going to be a very, very fun time,” the 16-year-old entertainer said in a phone interview. “It was nice to hear the charity support that is also happening with this event.”
While the majority of the open house is free, minimal fees for games, activities and the sale of food and beverages will continue the tradition of supporting local community and nonprofit organizations.
Saratoga Race Course will celebrate 150 years of racing in the city this summer, and the open house is the kick-off event. The track officially opens Friday, July 19, and the season runs through Sept. 2.
In light of the anniversary and performance by the singer, who is commonly known by just her first name, a record crowd is expected at this year’s open house. The event averages more than 15,000 people each year, according to the New York Racing Association, which runs the state-owned track.
The free family fun day begins at 11 a.m. and will go until 4 p.m. The concert begins at 3 p.m.
In addition to the concert, activities that will take place during the day include pony rides, face painting, caricatures and miniature golf. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see the inner workings of the track with free backstretch tours every half-hour beginning at 11 a.m. at the clubhouse entrance.
More than 6,000 grandstand tickets for the Zendaya concert alone were given out. No more tickets are available, but there should be standing room on the track apron.
Zendaya was raised in Oakland, Calif., and now lives in Los Angeles. She has four adult siblings, and both of her parents were teachers. She grew up in the theater world, she explained. Her mother worked at the California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda, and Zendaya often accompanied her.
“That kind of introduced me to the whole theater world,” she said. “I have a great support system.”
In 2010, Zendaya became widely known after securing the co-starring role of Rocky Blue on the popular Disney Channel show “Shake it Up!”, now in its third season. Since then, Zendaya has appeared on several other Disney Channel shows, in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and has even performed at the White House.
“I get to be around a lot of amazingly talented people,” she said. “I get to do what I love to do.”
Zendaya was the runner-up for this past season of “Dancing with the Stars” on ABC. She is the youngest contestant ever on the show.
“It was incredible,” she said. “It was definitely worth it.”
She also recently began a music career. Her highly anticipated album comes out in the fall, and on July 16, she will be releasing her first single, “Replay.”
“I am kind of just starting my music career,” Zendaya said. “I am very lucky that I got to explore and finally realize a big dream of mine.”
She said she is very excited for the Saratoga Race Course concert and hopes her fans are excited, too.
“I am inspired by my fans,” she said.