MATTOON (JG-TC) — The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales are scheduled to make several appearances in the area Sept. 6-8 including the Arcola Broomcorn Festival and Mattoon’s Peterson Park.
According to a press release from the city, the eight-horse hitch — a symbol of quality and tradition for Anheuser-Busch since 1933 — will be harnessed and hitched to the red beer wagon at Peterson Park on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. At around 1 p.m. the hitch will parade down Broadway Avenue making a stop at the Mattoon Train Depot for a public showing and then proceed to House’s Tavern to celebrate the family owned tavern selling Budweiser for more than 90 years. On Saturday 2013, the “Gentle Giants,” as they are often referred to, will participate in the 43rd annual Arcola Broom Corn Festival Parade. The parade begins at 3 p.m.
The Clydesdales’ appearance in Mattoon and Arcola is one of hundreds made annually by the traveling hitches. Canadians of Scottish descent brought the first Clydesdales to America in the mid-1800’s. Today, the giant draft horses are used primarily for breeding and show.
Horses chosen for the Budweiser Clydesdale hitch must be at least three years of age, stand approximately 18 hands — or six feet — at the shoulder, weigh an average of 2,000 pounds, must be bay in color, have four white legs, and a blaze of white on the face and black mane and tail.
A gentle temperament is very important as hitch horses meet millions of people each year.
A single Clydesdale hitch horse will consume as much as 20-25 quarts of feed, 40-50 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water per day.
Each hitch travels with a dalmatian.
In the early days of brewing, dalmatians were bred and trained to protect the horses and guard the wagon when the driver went inside to make deliveries.
The Budweiser Clydesdales can be viewed at the Anheuser-Busch breweries in St. Louis, Mo.; Merrimack, N.H.; and Ft. Collins, Colo. They also may be viewed at Grant’s Farm in St. Louis and at Warm Springs Ranch, the 300-plus acre Clydesdale breeding farm located near Boonville, Mo.