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Clydesdales a no-show at shopping season kickoff

Pockets of people waited along Elmwood Avenue for an appearance by the Budweiser Clydesdales on Thursday, but the massive horses with the hairy hooves never showed.

Ultimately, rain kept the Clydesdales from parading down Elmwood, according to a spokesman for the Elmwood Village Association, which collaborated with Try-It Distributing on the event, which was intended to kick off the holiday shopping season in the Elmwood business district.

Justin Azzarella, executive director of the Elmwood Village Association, Thursday said it was entirely out of the hands of his organization.

"Obviously, we were not in charge of the Clydesdales, and we were not in charge of the event," Azzarella said in a brief telephone interview.

He said a spokesman for Try-It Distributing of Lancaster told him that the famed equine team's handlers decided against allowing the horses to parade down Elmwood from Forest Avenue to North Street because it was raining heavily about 1 1/2 hours before the event was scheduled.

"They weren't willing to take the horses out under those conditions," Azzarella said.

Instead, he said, he was told the famed horses were transported down Elmwood in trailers that allowed spectators to see them from either side of the street -- but that was at least an hour before the parade was scheduled to start.

Mike Anderson of Ashland Avenue, who was walking his dog, Moose, up Elmwood at about 6:30 p.m. said he had seen the horses being driven in the trucks earlier.

However, it was too late for 4-year-old Paige Denman, who waited excitedly for the Clydesdales with her parents, Greg and Vicki, at the southwest corner of Elmwood and Bidwell Parkway. After 45 minutes, the Denmans, Marjorie Drive residents, decided to head back home.

"Maybe tomorrow night we'll all be back here again. I don't know," said Vicki Denman before they left.

However, it was unclear Thursday if the event would be rescheduled.

Posters promoting the event were posted in Elmwood Avenue businesses, such as in the vestibule of J.P. Bullfeathers bar and restaurant. Azzarella said Try-It Distributing, approached his organization about collaborating on the parade.

"The advertising said it was a weather-dependent event," he said.


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