A team of prized draft horses – the champion Express Clydesdales – are the star attraction at this year’s Cloverdale Rodeo Parade on Saturday morning.
Prized for their beauty and size, the team of six black and white heavy horses are making a rare trip to Canada for the 68th Cloverdale Rodeo and 126th Country Fair.
They’re one of the featured acts at all five rodeo performances, plus they’ll be on view outside the Stetson Bowl, starting with Friday’s Cloverdale Chili Cook Off, followed by the May 17 parade. Admirers can also get a closer look and have their photo taken with these gentle giants at the Rodeo fairgrounds.
Horses, big and small, are an important part of the parade. The Shetland ponies from Ferndale, WA, will be back, providing a contrast with their heavy horse counterparts.
“The unsung heroes are the Shriners,” points out Paul Orazietti of the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association, one of the parade sponsors. Between their mini bikes, go-karts, clowns and affiliated groups such as Job’s Daughters, the Shriners are easily the largest contingent in the Cloverdale Rodeo Parade. “They’re just an incredible group.”
An estimated 90 per cent of parade entrants return year after year. Like the 10,000-plus spectators that line the streets, parade participants are drawn to the sense of community.
“There’s a long tradition [in Cloverdale] of doing things for the community,” he said. “It’s like Thanksgiving Day, where you give thanks and come out to the community and show pride.”
Other entrants to look for this year include Ms. Vancouver, the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association, Surrey Fire Fighters, and Langley’s Bit-A-Bling drill team.
There’s also a smattering of pipe and marching bands, two competing garbage firms, vintage and classic cars, the Surrey Re-Enactors, the Laos Benevolent Association, the B.C. Renaissance Festival, and more.
“It’s a mixed bag,” said Orazietti, adding more than 1,100 participants and 100 entrants are expected.
The parade runs from 10 a.m. to noon. The route starts at 177B Street and Hwy 10, heading west to 176 Street, where it turns north to 58A Avenue. From there, the route jogs east to 176A Street and continues north to 60 Avenue. Then it’s east to 177B Street, and south to 58 Avenue.
Enjoy live entertainment before the parade, and swing by one of the charity pancake breakfasts, including the Cloverdale Lions, at 5748 176 Street, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., the Cloverdale Legion, which also hosts a barbecue, the Canadian Reformed Church of Cloverdale from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and the Cloverdale United Church from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.