Tuesday, August 14th, 2007
Famed Budweiser Clydesdales to make appearance at 2007 Minster Oktoberfest
By Margie Wuebker
MINSTER -The famed Budweiser Clydesdales will be heading to Auglaize County for the 33rd Minster Oktoberfest. The festival, which salutes the area's proud German heritage, takes place Oct. 5-7.
This marks the fifth time a six-horse hitch has come for the event, the last appearance taking place in 1999. Requests have been made during the ensuing years, but a Minster stop never showed up on the schedule.
"A lot of communities want them," says Gary Oldiges, who is heading up planning efforts for the visit. "But there are not enough hitches to meet all the request."
The horses, commonly called "Gentle Giants," have represented Anheuser-Busch since 1933. The beer company has five hitches that travel across the country making 300 appearances each year.
Oldiges expects a fleet of semitrailers and other company-related vehicles to roll into the village Oct. 1 with departure planned following the Oct. 7 parade.
During previous visits tents were erected at the Melcher Street baseball complex located just north of the festival grounds at Minster Machine Centennial Park. No formal request has been made as yet to the Minster Local Schools board of education which owns the property. The action could come as soon as board members convene for a scheduled Aug. 20 meeting.
"There are a lot of things to line up," Oldiges told The Daily Standard. "Everything from pine shaving bedding to manure disposal and then some."
Students from area schools had an opportunity to view the stately horses during previous visits. Although the schedule remains a work in progress, Oldiges expects the same thing to occur this time around.
The impeccably groomed hitch and the distinctive Budweiser wagon will be featured in the parade. Nearly 150 units, including floats, bands, classic vehicles, fire engines, Shrine entries and marching groups, are expected.
Each Clydesdale stands 6 feet or 18 hands high at the shoulder and weighs between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds. Geldings must be four years old and have a gentle temperament in order to be eligible along with distinctive coloring - reddish brown with white stockings on each leg, a blaze of white on the face and a black mane and tail.
Approximately 25 to 30 foals are born at Anheuser-Busch breeding farms each year, but not all of them make the select beer wagon teams.