By Jean Cervi
A cheer erupted from the crowd when three red vehicles turned into the New Hope Eagle Volunteer Fire Company lot Saturday. Rather than fire trucks, these were huge vans carrying precious cargo. The day’s intense heat and humidity were not enough to keep the Budweiser Clydesdales from visiting New Hope and thrilling the hundreds of people and children who had come to see them.
While the horses were being tacked up in polished black harnesses and hitched to the Budweiser wagon, the crowd was treated to a fascinating lecture about the animals. Among the many facts shared with the audience was that Budweiser maintains farms for three separate sets of horses and wagons that travel throughout the country.
Requirements for each horse pulling the wagons are that they must be brown with a black mane and tail, have a white face and four white feet (called stockings), are 18 hands in height (each hand is equal to four inches), and weigh approximately 2,000 lbs. Geldings are used for their gentle temperaments and larger size.
It’s the Budweiser commercials featuring their fabulous Clydesdales that tug at our hearts and are always one of the most anticipated commercials of the Super Bowl. We all melt at images of a gangly foal gazing at the giant horses being readied to pull the red wagon, dreaming that one day he will be one of them. Then there is the little pup who runs away from home time and again until his equine friends block the road so that he can no longer be driven away. We all cheer as the little pup proudly leads his equine friends back to the barn. These heart-warming images attract crowds of admirers to brave the heat for a close-up glimpse of the magnificent animals.
The New Hope police stopped traffic and blocked intersections for the wagon to make its way down West Bridge Street into downtown New Hope. People lined the sidewalks throughout town to cheer the horses with their Dalmatian mascot riding atop the red wagon.