Update: The Budweiser Clydesdales may not appear in Saturday’s parade because of inclement weather. While the parade is set to be held rain or shine, the iconic eight-horse hitch does not appear in snow or rain. Both are in Saturday’s forecast. Parade officials remain hopeful that the weather will remain clear enough to allow the horses to participate.
“Eight tons of champions,” the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales, will be featured March 12 at Roanoke’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
The famous bay draft horses were scheduled to appear in 2020, however the parade was canceled because of the pandemic. Now, they will make good on that promised appearance. The eight-horse hitch will pull their bright red beer wagon, complete with Dalmation, through downtown Roanoke’s streets starting at 11 a.m. Saturday. The parade travels from Jefferson Street to Campbell Avenue, ending at Williamson Road.
The Clydesdale’s appearance in Roanoke is one of hundreds made annually by the traveling teams.
The horses are stabled at Hollins University but are not available for public viewing before or after the parade.
One of the Clydesdales, Ivan, was on hand for a meet and greet at Healing Strides of Virginia in Boones Mill on March 7.
Clydesdale Handler Grant Johnson explained the qualifications required for a horse to become a Budweiser “gentle giant” to WDBJ7 in 2020. “One of them is they have to be a gelding. They have to be bay in color, have a black mane and tale, white blaze face, and with Clydesdales there’s always the famous white feathers. They have to have four white feathers,” he said.
They also have to be at least 18 hands. Before greeting the masses, the Clydesdales go through four to five years of training.
“We want horses that are calm, have a good disposition, and can handle noises and crowds,” Johnson said.