Clydesdales come to Fort Lauderdale

Budweiser Clydesdales to be part of Fort Lauderdale St. Patrick's Parade and Festival

By Ben Kennedy - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The world famous Budweiser Clydesdales made an appearance in Fort Lauderdale ahead of the St. Patrick's Parade and Festival on Saturday, March 9.

The horses were at the Fort Lauderdale Police Mounted Unit stables, located at 1200 G. Harold Martin Drive, Wednesday.

At nearly 2,000 pounds and more than 6 feet tall, they are hard to miss.

"They are an American icon," said handler Kat Cockrell. "Some of the requirements for the Clydesdales is they have to be this bay color with the four white socks, 18-hands high, which is about 6 foot at the shoulder, have this white blaze, black mane and tail."

Each horse eats 25 quarts of whole grains, 50 pounds of hay, and 30 gallons of water a day.

The free event Wednesday also featured tours of the stables, a petting zoo, and pony rides.

PHOTOS: Budweiser Clydesdales

"They are just soft. You can ride them," said Luke Nappe. "They are awesome"

Handlers said they've received plenty of questions about the animals after this year's Super Bowl commercial.

"After that commercial came out, everywhere we went, people were asking questions about the commercial, about the baby and they named the baby Hope," said Rudy Helmuth.

Hope is too young to travel. It takes six full-time handlers to take care of the 10 horse troop.

"Two of us spend the whole day, about eight hours, polishing the harness," said Helmuth. "All the brass has to get polished. All the leather has to get cleaned."

The parade Saturday will travel west along Las Olas Boulevard from SE 5th Avenue to Las Olas Riverfront. The parade will include decorative floats, pipe and drum corps, classic automobiles, bagpipers, marching bands, Irish dancers, street performers, scout troops, the Miami Dolphins, veterans groups, and elected officials.

Following the parade, the St. Patrick's Festival will continue until 7 p.m. at Huizenga Plaza and along the Riverwalk. Festival highlights will include live music, Irish dancers, interactive entertainment, stilt walkers, leprechauns, cultural exhibits, and plenty of your favorite Irish food and beverages.

The event will also feature live performances from popular bands including Celtic Bridge, Avalon, and The Fineans. Children will love the festival's expanded Kids Zone with bounce houses, train rides, face painting, a petting zoo, pony rides, balloon artists, interactive games and much more.

The Clydesdales previously made a stop in Hialeah in Oct. 2012.

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