Budweiser Clydesdales are returning to Apple Blossom

Posted: February 13, 2013

The Winchester Star

Darla, a 7-year-old Clydesdale, watches over her young, as yet unnamed foal, at Warm Springs Ranch on Jan. 30 in Boonville, Mo. The Budweiser Clydesdales have been confirmed as participants in this year’s 86th annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. The Clydesdales make hundreds of appearances each year, with hitches traveling more than 100,000 miles. (Photo by Jeff RobersonAssociated Press)

WINCHESTER — The Super Bowl isn’t the only event this year featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales.

The horses have been confirmed as participants in this year’s 86th Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, set for April 26-May 5.

“It is with great pride that we announce the return of the Clydesdales to the Apple Blossom Festival,” said Scott Heinz, chief operating officer of Virginia Eagle Distributing, which services customers with Anheuser-Busch products, including Budweiser. “The incredible response from the latest Super Bowl commercial, featuring the newest member of the Clydesdales family, has really heightened the excitement around the program.”

In addition to participation in the Firefighters’ Parade and Grand Feature Parade, a full week of activities will be scheduled around the horses’ visit — including promotional appearances and public meet-and-greet sessions, according to a Tuesday Virginia Eagle media release.

Lou Ann Thompson, festival president, said she is overwhelmed by the generosity of Virginia Eagle — based in Verona — in bringing the horses back.

“We’re thrilled to have them,” she said of the Clydesdales, who have appeared at the festival before. “I think it’s going to be a wonderful addition.”

The horses became a part of Anheuser-Busch in 1933, shortly after the repeal of Prohibition, according to the company’s website.

They make hundreds of appearances each year, with hitches traveling more than 100,000 miles annually.

Ten horses, the famous red, white and gold beer wagon, and other essential equipment are transported in three 50-foot tractor-trailers.

“We are very fortunate to be able to bring this very popular team of horses to our market and we are looking forward to showcasing them at Winchester’s finest event of the year,” Heinz said.

— Contact Melissa Boughton atmboughton@winchesterstar.com