The iconic eight-horse beer wagon and its driver will also make appearances in Erwin and Bristol during a weeklong stay in the region. A spotted dalmation, which is a carriage dog bred to protect a wagon while its driver made deliveries, will accompany the Clydesdales.
The traveling team actually consists of 10 horses. The Clydesdales are coming to the area at the request of Holston Distributing in Johnson City.
Mike Hubbard, the general manager of Holston, said he has tried for a number of years to book the Clydesdales for the city’s Christmas parade.
He said the immense popularity of the giant horse team has made scheduling an appearance very difficult until this year. The Clydesdales will precede Santa Claus (riding in the fire department’s restored vintage 1928 Seagrave ladder truck) in the annual holiday parade, set to begin at 10:30 a.m.
“I feel like we have won the lottery,” Hubbard said. “They are really something to see. We are excited to have them here.”
He said Clydesdale will be stabled at Holston Distributing beginning on Dec. 1. He said the team will make an appearance at the Food City in Erwin on Dec. 4, and will lead the Christmas parade in Bristol at 5 p.m. on Dec. 5.
One of the Clydesdales and the dalmation will be available from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Kings Commons on Dec. 6 for photos before the lighting of the official Christmas Tree in downtown Johnson City.
The Budweiser Clydesdales first made an appearance in Johnson City in the late 1940s. The draft team’s last stop in the area came in August 2013 when the Clydesdales made several appearances in Bristol and Johnson City for a NASCAR race.
According to the official Budweiser Clydesdale website, the word-famous draft horses must stand at least 18 hands (or 6 feet) to make the team.
The Johnson City Christmas Parade is being organized by the Blue Plum Organization. The theme of this year’s parade, in keeping with the city’s sesquicentennial celebration, is: Johnson City — Past, Present and Future.
The entry fee to participate is $95 to cover for-profit organizations and $45 for non-profit groups. Those fees must be paid online with registration for the parade.
Go to jcchristmasparade.org to register or to learn more about the parade.
Staging for the parade will begin at East Tennessee State University’s Lot No. 9 at the corner of University Parkway and State of Franklin Road.
The parade will travel onto West Walnut Street, crossing University Parkway and continue on West Walnut Street to Buffalo Street. It will then cross East State of Franklin Road, down East Main Street, right on Colonial Way then left to East State of Franklin Road ending in the Old Burley lot at the corner of East State of Franklin Road and Legion Street.