As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rear its ugly head, another of Delaware’s beloved events has fallen by the temporary wayside. In a letter to the All Horse Parade Committee on Monday, Delaware City Manager Tom Homan informed the group that the 35th annual All Horse Parade would not be permitted to go on as scheduled on Sept. 13 based on existing orders from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
The cancelation of the parade, which was first held in 1986, marks just the second time the event will not have been held; the 2018 parade was not held due to considerable rainfall throughout the area.
In his letter to the parade committee, Homan stated, “This was not an easy decision, but inevitable, given Gov. DeWine’s recent order regarding county fairs and the current order on large group gatherings, which has been unchanged since May and restricts public gatherings to 10 people or less. It is neither reasonable nor realistic to think that the next iteration of the governor’s order will result in an event like the (All) Horse Parade being allowed to safely go forward in a little over one month.”
Diane Winters, parade organizer, said the committee was fully anticipating holding the event prior to the letter from the city.
“We were ready to go,” she said. “We were just waiting for the day to get here, but it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Among the many disappointments the cancelation has brought on, Winters particularly lamented not being able to honor Bill Westbrook, a Fredericktown, Ohio, resident who was set to be honored in the parade for his induction into the Percheron Hall of Fame.
“We wanted to get him recognized for his new and fantastic award, but now we can’t,” she said.
Winters added the committee had already implemented measures and protocols for the 2020 parade to ensure a safer atmosphere. Among the measures were reducing the amount of advertising for the event to curb the number of spectators attending the event and having all participants in the parade being required to wear masks. She added there is a natural social distancing factor when around horses to avoid being kicked by the animals.
The All Horse Parade draws anywhere from approximately 30,000 to as many as 85,000 spectators, depending on the weather and different attractions in the parade, Winters speculated. She said she looks forward to seeing everyone again for next year’s parade, which is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 12.