BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — No marching band. No cars. No floats. There’s only horses and carriages for this unique parade.
It is the West Virginia Strawberry Festival Horse and Carriage Parade sponsored by Mike Ross Inc. and Waco, Oil and Gas. The event will move down the 2.5 mile Strawberry Lane at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 11 in Buckhannon.
This is an event that horse lovers will not want to miss. Organizers have been working for months to produce this parade which will feature a wide variety of horse breeds.
Said director Susie Sheets, “We anticipate a parade this year to have 100 units.”
This will include equestrian riding clubs, equestrian drill teams, individual horse riders and dozens of carts, carriages and wagons-all pulled with horses.
Thousands of spectators are expected to line the route which follows the same streets as the festival’s Grand Feature Parade.
To date units are expected from Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, Georgia and Indiana.
Riders wanting to participate as well as carriage owners should contact Susie Sheets at: 304-472-0103 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org for applications rules and regulations. There is no entry fee for participants.
“We have one drill team that was selected out of 3,000 applicants to participate in the Presidential Inaugural Parade, one that has been National Champion twice (2016-2017) and one comprised of former race horses,” Sheets said. “The Buffalo Soldiers, Love Valley Misfits, American Dream Drill Team and 40-Something Drill Team are participating units. The Barbour County 4-H Equestrian Team will also be present.”
Spectators can expect to see stage coaches, covered wagons, antique carriages, individuals riding two horses at one time, trick ropers and more.
The festival committee is working to prepare for early arrivals of units on Friday — the day before the parade. Organizers are busy with logistics and stabling arrangements, lodging etc.
A prize purse of $3,000 will be awarded to parade winners along with plaques in the many competitive categories. A special awards ceremony will take place following the parade.
Buckhannon will be a flurry of activity on Saturday with live entertainment and activities throughout the day.
A special performance will take place at 11 a.m. by the Cherokee Stables Standard bred Drill Team (Grove City, Ohio). At noon, trick riding professional Shadow Montag (Ohio) will perform along with the Mid-America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team (Michigan).
Shows will take place on East Main Street in downtown Buckhannon. All show performers will appear in the 3 p.m. Horse and Carriage Parade. The shows are sponsored by Dr. Michael Miller, DDS of Buckhannon.
The public is urged to make plans for attending this event. Additional information can be obtained by contacting Festival Headquarters at: 304-472-9036 or visiting www.wvstrawberryfestival.com.