Longtime parade director Elaine VanDeventer told me the purpose of the parade, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is to remember where we came from and to realize how far we have come. As I watched several wagon riders being jostled about, I realized how sore the pioneers must have been traveling over rocky roads with no shock absorbers! And to be exposed to the cold and wind in an open wagon on a winter’s night…brrrr!This parade is a must-see for those who love history, Christmas or horses. Belgians, pintos, clydesdales, peruvian and shetlands were among the breeds pulling the historic and reproduction buggies, carriages and wagons decorated for the holidays.My top five favorite parade entries (in no particular order) include:
- My beloved clydesdales pulling a large, bright red wagon with white wheels.
- The Buffalo Soldiers who sang a woeful tune as they rode down the street dressed in uniform.
- A small, one-person carriage pulled by the cutest miniature donkey.
- Pioneer Josie and the other horseback riders who wore period costumes from the Colonial, Victorian, and Wild West eras.
- All the draft horses bedecked in silver and black harnesses with jingle bells that brought the sound of Christmas to the parade.
Cecilia Harris is a professional freelance writer from Abilene who enjoys discovering fascinating attractions, events and people that reflect the arts, culture and heritage found in Kansas. She has been a longtime regular contributor to KANSAS! magazine and also has written for such publications as Midwest Living, Sunflower Living, Kansas Heritage and The Greyhound Review to inspire others to explore and appreciate her home state. She also has authored two books, “Historic Homes of Abilene” and “Abilene’s Carousel.”