The 31st annual All Horse Parade kicks off from the Delaware County fairgrounds main gate onto Pennsylvania Avenue 3 p.m. Sept. 11.
“We are unique,” said Diane Winters, chairwoman of the event. “There are no motorized vehicles.”
Instead there are more than 400 animals, many of them horses, pulling carriages, stage coaches and other kinds of coaches including some antiques such as the original Delaware taxi.
Other highlights of the parade include performances of local schools’ marching bands; and Dynamic Mention Drum Corp. of Circleville, Ohio.
Early downtown Delaware business entrepreneurs will be part of the parade: Robert Pilsner, who owned a dime store in downtown; and Ralph Martin, who will be retiring from his shoe repair store on Winter Street.
The city of Delaware recognized Aug. 12 as “Ralph Martin Day” to honor the 85-year-old cobbler.
Roger Huston, who celebrates his 50th anniversary as announcer of the Little Brown Jug, will be part of the parade. Born in Xenia, Ohio, Huston started announcing the Little Brown Jug week races in 1967, before calling the Jug in 1968, according to cleveland.com. He will celebrate his 74th birthday on Sept. 16, the day before the Delaware County Fair kicks off.
The All Horse Parade travels about three miles, starting and ending at the fairgrounds. The parade will make turns onto North Sandusky; West Winter; North Liberty streets; Lincoln; and Euclid avenues.
The parade will stop momentarily on Lincoln Avenue to honor the first responders and victims of 9/11.
“This is the 15th anniversary of a very tragic day in the United States,” Winters said.
The featured sponsor of the parade is Eagles Lodge with the next major sponsor Byers Auto. The free parade encourages residents to bring lawn chairs, friends and neighbors.
The annual tradition nearly came to a halt after 28 years when Hiram Masonic Lodge withdrew its sponsorship of the event after 15 years, according to Gazette archives.
Winters, chairman of the event, was able to bring together a group of sponsors to donate $14,000 to keep the parade going.
In years past, the parade, which is one of the largest of its kind east of the Mississippi River, has attracted as many as 45,000 people.
During its 30th year, the parade drew between 65,000 and 70,000 people.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.