Horses lead way to county fair's first day
Horse parade steps off next Sunday; county fair will follow Sept. 15-22
Hundreds of horses, ponies, wagons and more will wend their way through Delaware in the largest nonmotorized parade east of the Mississippi next week.
The 27th annual All-Horse Parade steps off at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9, in downtown Delaware.
The parade marks one week before the opening of the Delaware County Fair, which runs Sept. 15-22.
The circular parade route starts and ends at the fairgrounds. It begins at the fair's main gate, travels east on Pennsylvania Avenue, then turns south onto North Sandusky Street, west onto West Winter Street, north onto North Liberty Street, west onto Lincoln Avenue and finally east onto Euclid Avenue.
It ends at the Euclid Avenue fair gate.
Parade Chairwoman Diane Winters said she expects a wide range of participants this year.
"We usually run between 400 and 600 horses," she said, "and there will be wagons, carriages, buggies and an eight-horse hitch."
The parade route is three miles long with ample viewing locations, Winters said. It lasts about an hour and a half.
Boomerang world champion Chet Snouffer, a Delaware resident who also runs a gymnastics studio, will serve as grand marshal this year.
A number of musical acts will march alongside the horses, including student musicians from Hayes High School and Buckeye Valley High School, plus Olentangy student musicians and a drum corps from Circleville.
McGuffey Lane, a country rock band from Columbus, also is set to play in the parade this year. The band will perform again Aug. 22 on stage during the fair.
Volunteers from the Sigma Chi fraternity at Ohio Wesleyan University will reprise their usual role as the parade's designated pooper-scoopers.
"They're real crowd-pleasers," Winters said. "People love them and they always live up to their expectations."
Some residents draw chalk squares along the parade route and play horse-drop bingo, she said.
Winters said a lot has changed since she helped found the parade in 1985.
That year, just 55 horses marched in the parade, which was over in 30 minutes.
"Every year it kept growing and getting bigger and better," she said.
The event is organized and run entirely by volunteers.