After a one-year hiatus as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Delaware’s beloved All Horse Parade is set to return next month. The parade is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12, and will feature rather large guests, both in size and stature, with the return of the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses.
In addition to the Clydesdales, the parade will feature anywhere from 200-300 horses in total, as well as marching bands from the local high schools and Ohio Wesleyan University. Parade organizer Diane Winters said the Parade Saddle group will also try to break the world record for the most silver-saddled horses in a parade.
Jeri Jenkins, who owns Delmar Distributing Co. and Columbus Distributing Co. along with her husband, is paying for the expenses to bring in the Clydesdale team, as they have in the past. Jenkins said of the draw of the Clydesdales, “We want to bring the excitement back to Delaware. That’s the biggest reason why we’re doing this, to make everybody excited and let them know we’re back.”
This year’s parade will mark the third time the Clydesdales have participated in the event, with their most recent participation coming in 2015. Winters said the last time the Clydesdales participated in the parade, there were more than 80,000 spectators who came out for the event. Winters speculated that around 45,000 people watch the parade in a year when the Clydesdales are not in it.
Jenkins said both she and Winters began working to get the Clydesdales to Delaware a year and a half ago. Winters said of the process, “I didn’t quit working when the virus shut everything down. Jeri and I, we never quit working to get the horses here.”
In addition to the parade, there will be multiple open houses at the fairgrounds in which the Clydesdales will be present for closer viewing. Dates and times for the open houses have not yet been announced, although Winters said they will be released “ASAP.”
Jenkins related the Clydesdales visiting and the excitement the parade generates throughout the city to a Norman Rockwell painting of small-town America.
“It’s just excitement in a small town,” Jenkins said. “The horses are coming right down people’s streets. Everyone gets together and people look forward to that. The Clydesdales are all-American, like Chevrolet and apple pie. To see them in our small town, up close and personal, is so exciting. It’s a big deal to see them going right in front of your house.”
Winters added, “For me, as a horse person, the handlers and the horses are the most professional group that parades on any street. These handlers are on the road 300 days a year going town to town. They love coming to Delaware because of the response our spectators and our community give them. And the gentle giants love to show off for our crowd.”
The route for the parade, which totals nearly three miles in length, remains unchanged. The parade will begin at the main gate of the Delaware County Fairgrounds on Pennsylvania Avenue before heading east on Pennsylvania Avenue and onto North Sandusky Street. From there, the paraders will head south on North Sandusky Street, turn right on West Winter Street, turn right on North Liberty Street, turn left on West Lincoln Avenue, and finally turn right on Euclid Avenue to head back toward Pennsylvania Avenue.
The parade is sponsored by Byers Auto Group and the Delaware chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.