Budweiser Clydesdales pull into the Farm Museum Wednesday


WESTMINSTER -- The gentle giants are coming.

They're the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales -- those huge horses that pull the red beer wagon for the "King of Beers," and let children and adults alike pet and admire them.

Carroll countians can admire them up close and personal from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Carroll County Farm Museum, 500 S. Center St.

As an added lure, the museum is having a free admission day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"I just hope it's a pretty day and everybody can come and enjoy them," said Dottie Freeman, administrative marketing specialist for the Farm Museum. "They're awesome."

The horses will be making their first appearance in the Baltimore-Washington area in 11 years, thanks to the efforts of Philip Eckard, sales manager for Bees Distributing in Finksburg.

"As an Anheuser-Busch distributor, we have access to the horses and I've been trying to get them up here for years and my request finally went through," Mr. Eckard said.

Anheuser-Busch keeps traveling teams of eight matched horses St. Louis, Mo.; Romoland, Calif.; and Merrimack, N.H. The company receives thousands of requests each year for appearances by the draft horses and Budweiser wagon.

Clydesdales were brought to the United States by Canadians of Scottish descent in the mid-1800s. The Budweiser horses were introduced to August A. Busch Sr. by his son in 1933 as a gift after prohibition was repealed. "The horses are bred for their even temperament," Mr. Eckard said.

"Anheuser-Busch doesn't take every horse, only the even-tempered ones because they're around so many people."

Horses also must be perfectly colored and marked. They must be brown with four white stockings, a blaze of white on the face and a black mane and tail.

The traveling horses are 3 years old, stand about 18 hands -- 6 feet -- high at the shoulder and weigh 1,800 to 2,300 pounds.

At the Farm Museum appearance, visitors may take photos of the horses and, for a nominal fee, have their picture taken with the horses. "It will be a Polaroid picture of you with the horses, and the proceeds will go charity," Mr. Eckard said.

Anheuser-Busch personnel will care for the horses and be on hand to answer visitors' questions. Artisans will be on hand demonstrating crafts from the late 1800s.

The Clydesdales also can be seen Aug. 28-Sept. 1 at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium. For information, call 848-7775.

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