A Featured Event of the Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival in Historic Downtown Augusta, Georgia
P.O. Box 936
Augusta, Georgia 30903
We are disappointed to announce that the 2008 Augusta Horse & Carriage Parade has been cancelled. Please stay in touch with us for information about the 2009 parade.
The 2007 Parade
The rattle of wooden wagon wheels and clop-clop of horses' hooves were unmistakable signs that Augusta's Horse & Carriage Parade was winding its way through the city's streets on Saturday, Sept. 15.
For the first time, the parade was a featured event of the city's Arts in the Heart of Augusta festival, and several entrants saluted the Irish, the featured ethnic group of the Greater Augusta Arts Council event.
Close to 100 horse-drawn vehicles and mounted riders pranced west on Broad Street, then made a U-turn and back past the reviewing stand to turn down Eighth and return to the James Brown Arena.
One of the marquee entries was the Wells Fargo Stagecoach, an exact replica of an original coach, drawn by four horses. The coach, built by Hansen Wheel & Wagon Shop in South Dakota, weighed between 2,500 and 3,000 pounds. It is usually pulled by a six-horse team in arenas or wide outdoor spaces, but the team is reduced to four horses for parades, where turning corners can be tight.
The Western Horseman Express, a reproduction of an 1880 Abbott Downing hotel coach, was drawn by a team of white horses.
Many of the participants are well known to veteran parade watchers because they have been part of the event since it began in 1992 during the Augusta Futurity. Back in those days it was known as a "cattle drive" and involved a dozen or so Longhorn steers that were herded down Broad Street and penned at the arena. The cattle were retired in 1998 although one Longhorn - a steer named Maverick of unusually placid disposition - still participates, saddled and carrying a rider.
Vehicles ranged from an immaculate, still-in-working-order road oiler to one-person carts. The equines pulling them were equally varied, from Tiny, a 19-hand Percheron, to miniature horses no taller than a man's thigh.
One first-time entrant drawing plenty of attention was Derrer's Haflingers, from Taylorsville, N.C. Six registered Haflinger mares pulled a wagon custom-built by J.W. Schut with gleaming stainless steel corners, eveners and custom graphics. The Derrer family participates in many driving competitions and claimed the 2006 Draft High Point Award.
Mules played as big a part in the parade as horses. The road oiler was pulled by a team of enormous dapple gray draft mules. Many of the familiar parade veterans were mule-drawn, such as entries from the Spots N Ears Farm and Olin Jackson's red wagon from Lugoff, S.C.
Elegance was personified by a buggy carrying a "bride" and by two gleaming black hearses pulled by horses wearing dark plumes and driven by men wearing mourning garb.
Several entries paid tribute to the Irish, including a red wagon from Hitching Post Farms decorated with shamrocks and Irish flags as well as the U.S. and South Carolina flags.
Marching bands from Hephzibah and Glenn Hills high schools added music to the festivities.
Whetting interest this year was a carriage and livestock auction held at the Hippodrome all day Friday and on Saturday morning.
Items included buggies and wagons, every sort of tack and equipment from jugs of leather oil and brass snaps to full harness, and horses and mules. Many of the animals were being offered for sale by Amish, long famed for their skill in turning out excellent driving horses.
In fact, in describing some of the horses being offered, the term for a well-broke, steady animal was, "He's been to church," meaning he had pulled the family buggy and was traffic-wise and unflappable.
Parade participants who came in on Friday and stalled at the Hippodrome enjoyed a barbecue supper Friday night, and many took advantage of the Arts in the Heart of Augusta weekend festival to sample ethnic foods, listen to music and browse the vendors.
Parade Chairman: Dennis Kelly
Sponsorship: Andrew Bauer