Clydesdales star attraction at Delaware State Fair

Around 6 every evening except Wednesday, the Budweiser Clydesdales suit up to ride through a parade at the Delaware State Fair. The rest of the day, they can be found in the Machinery Lot.

HARRINGTON — New farm animals visit the Delaware State Fair every year. But a specialized group is paying a visit to Harrington this year in honor of the fair’s 100th anniversary.

A team of 10 Budweiser Clydesdale horses can be found in the Machinery Lot this year every day except Wednesday.

Around 6 every evening, they suit up to ride through a parade at the fair, strutting their impeccable splendor for fairgoers of all ages.

Virginia Flood, 82, of Millsboro, visits with the horses anytime they come to the area and said she plans on visiting them Wednesday in Dewey Beach when they take part in the Great American Summer Celebration.

“I loved it (at the fair). I even brought a chair because there aren’t any benches, but I wanted to see them get ready,” she said.

Handlers spend up to four hours polishing the $120,000 outfits before every show.

Each horse is also groomed and cleaned before the shows, along with the original 1903 Studebaker wagon.

The horses seen in Harrington this week are just one team of three that travel around the country. Of their 10 horses per team, only eight are tacked at a time, allowing them to take breaks throughout their stay in Harrington.

They each travel for about 10 years before retiring around 15 years old.

While traveling, a ferrier flies around to visit the horses and take care of their feet to keep them working and looking good.

“I learned a lot. I didn’t know much about them. But they have special feed from Idaho. It was really interesting. I like that they get to retire because I’m retired now,” said Christine Perry.

“I love watching them get dressed one by one,” Carol Coulson of Jacksonville, Florida added. “I loved the sound of their feet. And they looked very healthy and well taken care of.”

The Delaware State Fair worked for at least two years to bring the Clydesdales to this year’s event, according to Delaware State Fair Assistant General Manager Danny Aguilar.

During their stay, they each have their own stall and are cared for by their trained handlers while the Delaware State Fair helps with security measures ensuring their safety.

If you can’t get to Harrington this week, Dewey Beach and the Dewey Business Partnership are hosting the Clydesdales for the Great American Summer Celebration on Wednesday.

The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. at The Starboard and will stop at each Budweiser serving bar along Del. 1 in Dewey Beach to drop off the traditional case of Budweiser on the south side of the highway.

A pre-party will be held at The Starboard and a post-party will be held at the end of the parade line on Van Dyke Street.

Reach staff writer Jennifer Antonik at jantonik@newszap.com

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