A horse is a horse, of course. A wholoe bunch is a parade.

December 07, 2006|by JULIE E. GREENE

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - It seems appropriate that Charles Town, home to a horsetrack and a strong horse-owner community, would celebrate Christmas with a horse parade.

The Christmas in Historic Charles Town Parade of Horses began 10 years ago when someone suggested to Betsy Wells, then a member of the Christmas in Historic Charles Town Committee, that the event could use another parade and how about a horse parade, she recalled.

The town already had a Christmas parade on the first Saturday of December.

The Parade of Horses occurs on the Sunday of the following weekend, which is this Sunday.

More than 300 horses are expected to be registered for the parade, says Suzie Binns, coordinator of the horse parade. Last year, almost 400 horses were preregistered, but the parade was canceled because snow made the starting point, a local soccer field, too soggy.

This year, the parade will start and finish in the parking lot at Charles Town Races & Slots. The route goes down Washington Street and up Congress Street.


People from the Four-State area bring their horses, with both horse and rider decked out in holiday attire.

Saddles and Smiles, a 4-H program for special-needs children, and the 4-H Saddle Club, will be participating in the organizations' third parade of horses this year, says Margaret Liskey, who works with both clubs.

"For the special-needs children, it's a great way for them to show off what they've done and their accomplishments throughout the year," says Liskey, co-coordinator for Charles Town-based Saddles and Smiles.

For the 4-H Saddle Club, also based in Charles Town, the parade is an opportunity for the members to have fun with their horses. The event is less stringent than most of their competitions, says Liskey, who is a parent volunteer with the group.

Prizes will be awarded in several categories, including best miniature horse, best horse and rider, most Christmas spirit, best horse and carriage, and best mule entry.

If you go...

WHAT: Christmas in Historic Charles Town Parade of Horses

WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10.

WHERE: Starts at the Charles Town Races & Slots' parking lot and continues down Washington Street in Charles Town, turns on Lawrence Street and comes up Congress Street to the racetrack parking lot.

COST: Free to spectators. Can register horse and rider to participate in parade up until 1 p.m. Sunday for $3 per horse. To register, go to or call 304-728-7455.

MORE: Raindate is Sunday, Dec. 17.

Other Christmas in Historic Charles Town events

Free craft classes for children in grades one to six. 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Charles Town Visitors Center on North George Street across from Jefferson County Courthouse. Must preregister by Friday, Dec. 15, by calling Judy Chesley, 304-725-1242.

Free puppet show, Aesop's Fabulous Fables by Harmony Hills Puppet Theater, 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17.

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