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Clydesdales make third annual trip to Beach

February 5, 2014
By BOB PETCHER ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Here comes the king, here comes the big No. 1!

The world famous Budweiser Clydesdales, the traditional symbol of Anheuser-Busch since 1933, are returning to the downtown district of Fort Myers Beach on Monday, Feb. 10. The assembly will be situated at the bay end of Old San Carlos Blvd. near Nervous Nellie's Crazy Waterfront Eatery.

The team's arrival is expected to be at 2 p.m. with a procession slated to be from 3 to 4 p.m. They are expected to make a clockwise loop, marching from Old San Carlos Boulevard to Crescent Street then to Estero Boulevard, part of Fifth Street and back to Old San Carlos Boulevard. That was the course taken in 2012. Last year, the "gentle giants" and crew visited Santini Marina Plaza and marched around the parking lot.

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After the Budweiser Clydesdales vans roll into the downtown district on Fort Myers Beach and each horse is harnessed, they will take a marching loop around certain streets.

"The Budweiser Clydesdale horses give a great performance," said Molly Wright, vice president of marketing at Suncoast Beverage Sales, Southwest Florida's beverage distributor for Anheuser-Busch products. "They are magnificent. I enjoy them every year they come down."

The famous eight-horse hitch will appear with their red beer wagon and their faithful, obedience-trained Dalmatian dog that travels atop the piled beer boxes. The Beach is the second stop on the Southwest Florida tour. The clydesdales are attending Cape Coral Bike Night on Feb. 8, then will rest at an open stable for viewing at Showcase Performance Horses at 17840 Palm Creek Dr. in North Fort Myers on Sunday before the Beach visit.

The Clydesdales are an American icon and one of the world's most recognized corporate

symbols. Traveling hitches make hundreds of appearances annually. The caravan includes three 50-foot tractor trailers custom built for the horses with rubber flooring, air suspension and vent fans to ease the rigors of hours on the road. Two trailers carry the Clydesdales and a third carries everything else including the beer wagon and a full set of patent leather and solid brass harness.

Harnessing the horses is a process that takes 45 minutes; each horse is harnessed individually then hitched to the wagon. The lines the river holds weigh 40 pounds, controlling the 12 tons of wagon and horses.

During the early days of brewing, Dalmatians were trained to protect the horses and guard the wagon while the driver went inside to make deliveries.

After their Beach visit, the Budweiser Clydesdales will march in the Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade on Saturday, Feb. 15.



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