Clydesdales returning to West Chester

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website, the Delaware County Daily Times‘ website and the Main Line Media News‘ website.
The Budweiser Clydesdales will return to West Chester on Sept. 4 as they make their way through the Philadelphia area as part of the Budweiser Made in America festival. (Candice Monhollan)

The Budweiser Clydesdales will return to West Chester on Sept. 4 as they make their way through the Philadelphia area as part of the Budweiser Made in America festival. (Candice Monhollan)

WEST CHESTER — Most people can recall their favorite Budweiser commercial featuring the iconic Clydesdale horses.

Whether it’s the one when their playing football, the bond between the Clydesdale and the man who raised him, the donkey who dreamed of becoming a Clydesdale, or even the 9/11 tribute from 2011.

For the second year in a row, Chester County will see those majestic horses as they make a return to West Chester Sept. 4, from 5 to 9 p.m.

“They’re known world-round,” said Chris Wiegert, assistant supervisor of the East Coast Hitch of the Budweiser Clydesdales. “Everybody knows who they are and it draws a lot of attention and a lot of hype.”

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The Clydesdales were first introduced in 1933 after the repeal of Prohibition and have been a staple ever since.

“There’s a lot of pride when you see the crowds,” Wiegert said. “It’s an honor knowing you’re part of it. Most people think we get immune to it, but we don’t. We don’t take for granted seeing big crowds.”

The team is coming to Philadelphia as part of the Budweiser Made in America Festival over Labor Day weekend.

Some of their stops include Manayunk, Fairmount, Doylestown, a Philadelphia Phillies game and West Chester.

The caravan of three semi trucks with a carriage, 10 Clydesdales, seven people and a dog will pull into West Chester just before 5 p.m.

The set-up of the Clydesdales in the borough and the carriage will take place from 5 to 6 p.m., with a two-hour parade through the borough to follow.

Just like last year, the Clydesdale Hitch will make stops at RAMP-certified locations for photo opportunities for the restaurant or bar.

“It’s a wonderful family event,” said West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta. “One of the compliments of that family festival is that we are celebrating all of our liquor-license owners — bars and restaurants — who are RAMP certified.”

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board created RAMP — Responsible Alcohol Management Program — to help licenses and its employees to serve alcohol responsibly.

Those who can become RAMP certified can vary from restaurants, hotels, clubs, bars and distributors.

“Serving alcohol today is a lot more complicated than just knowing how to mix a kamikaze or remembering which beers are on special,” reads the RAMP page on the PA Liquor Control Board’s website. “If you or your employee serves alcohol to a minor or visibly intoxicated patron, the results could be serious … Protect yourself and your business and become RAMP certified.”

To entice local establishments, only those who were RAMP certified were able to participate in the festivities last year.

The same will be expected this year.

“We think it’s really important that, in our town, we are making a fun, entertaining and safe place for people to be and this is one component of that goal,” Comitta said. “As the Clydesdales go through town, they will stop at these spots and make a presentation to some of the restaurants and only the bars and restaurants that are RAMP certified will be able to participate in that. This is a recognition and a thank you to those establishments that are participating.”

In fact, the borough has beefed up their expectations this year with a bigger goal.

“We have a goal to be 100 percent RAMP certified,” Comitta said. “We are the first municipality in the state to articulate and identify that goal.”

The parade route will be different this year, including the start and end.

The setup will take place at the West Chester Municipal Building this year to allow for more room. The parade will go through the central business district of the borough.

The parade route is planned to head west on Gay Street, left onto Darlington Street, head east on Market Street and turn left onto Adams to end it.

“We’re not just visiting the town — you become part of that town and whatever is going on,” Wiegert said. “It’s really neat to be part of it.”

The parade is expected to draw between 15,000 to 20,000 people.

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