Wellington has become a playground for the richest of the rich.
Every winter, the town of Wellington experiences a tremendous influx of some of the wealthiest people in the world. From the Springsteens to the Bloombergs, to the families of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, to Arab sheikhs and South American billionaires, it's a congregation of people with spectacular quantities of money.
They come to Wellington for WEF: The Winter Equestrian Festival, which takes place every year from January to April on the hallowed grounds of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The 12 week WEF has been the longest equestrian event of its kind for several years running, attracting riders at all levels of the sport.
It has turned Wellington into a winter oasis for the upper crust , who come to ride, mingle, and bask in the warm weather. But while the human amenities are nothing to sneeze at, the real luxuries are reserved for the horses.
Wellington, Florida, is a community of about 60,000 people about 15 miles west of Palm Beach.
Without a doubt, horses rule in Wellington, Bill Gates owns several properties in the area and has reportedly just completed a $38 million purchase of an entire Wellington street, totaling 6 properties, and about 20 acres.
One Equestrian Community, The Grand Prix Village, and exclusive, horse-focused development within walking distance of the show grounds, is famous for it's stables.
Jeremy Jacobs, billionaire owner of the Boston Bruins and chairman of Delaware North, having a great interest in the Wellington scene, lives in a 21,000 square foot mansion on the sprawling Deeridge Farm.
In 2006 Mark Bellissimo a Boston Develper, bought the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center for $135 million . He's still the owner and has expanded the festival into the grand event it is today. Additional famous names like Tom Selleck, Olympian Reed Kessler, daughter of Ceo tabacco co. Lorillard Murray Kessler, Brazil's Doda de Miranda ( married to Athina Onassis), and model Zuzanna Bijoch are some of the majorly rich residents.
Fashion and style are also huge parts of the Wellington experience, appealing to riders and non-riders alike. Although the Wellington crowd might like to look good, they want their horses to look better. The horse show grounds are not the only place to host high-profile guests in Wellington. Prince Harryhas been known to play in polo matches at the nearby International Polo Club. Even Donald Trump has tried to get in on the action. In recent years, he has hosted the Trump Invitational show jumping event at Mar-a-Lago.