Hooves will be clopping down city streets when the 33rd Delaware County All-Horse Parade steps off from the Delaware County Fairgrounds at 3 p.m. Sept. 9.

The parade is an independently organized prelude to the Delaware County Fair, scheduled Sept. 15-22.

The parade will include four bands and more than 100 horses, plus a few mules and donkeys. In the past, more than 25 animal species have been in the parade -- but motor vehicles aren't included.

Diane Winters has been involved with organizing the parade since its early years. She said it was inspired by an idea from H.C. "Red" Reed, then editor of the Delaware Gazette.

In earlier years, a Brown Jug Festival preceded the fair, named after the Little Brown Jug harness race held Thursday during the fair.

Winters said the downtown's race-related window decorations during fair week are an annual tradition that started during the Brown Jug Festival.

As in recent years, the parade will head east along Pennsylvania Avenue before turning south on Sandusky Street. It will turn west on Winter Street, north on Liberty Street, west on Lincoln Avenue and north on Euclid Avenue before returning to the fairgrounds.

Winters said residents along the parade route traditionally have parties on their porches and in their yards.

Some set up tents, "and it's a gathering point to watch the parade go by," she said.

Some residents use chalk to draw squares on the street pavement to play what she called "horse-drop bingo." Winners are determined by whether a horse leaves droppings in one of the squares. Also as in recent years, fraternity members at Ohio Wesleyan University will act as sweepers, walking in front of the bands to keep the pavement clean.

The Hayes High School marching band will participate. Olentangy's high schools take turns marching in the parade.

Also marching will be Circleville's Dynamic Mention Drum Corps. Ohio State University Marching Band alumni will perform while riding a wagon.

County fair director Sandra Kuhn said, "We welcome the event. ... I have a lot of friends from out of town, and they tell people, 'If you've never been to this (parade), you've got to come see it.' "

Winters said this year's parade will include a memorial to 9/11 victims and first responders.

To keep spectators away from the animals, those in the parade don't throw or hand out candy, she said.

Delaware city spokesman Lee Yoakum said, "Multiple city departments, from police to fire to streets, will have responsibilities on parade day to make sure the All-Horse Parade is safe and successful."

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