Downtown Tuscaloosa looked like a vintage holiday beer commercial on Saturday afternoon with the Budweiser Clydesdales and Christmas decorations all around.
The only thing missing was snow, since the temperature was around 70 degrees on an unseasonably warm, cloudy and gray afternoon in the Druid City.
Hundreds of people gathered along Greensboro Avenue as the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales, presented by Adams Beverage, paraded through downtown, beginning at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse.
The team of horses delivered cases of beer to a number of downtown bars before winding up for photo opportunities with the public near the Tinsel Trail and the outdoor ice-skating rink at Government Plaza.
The team that came to Tuscaloosa included 10 horses, so the animals could be switched out, in rotation. On a warm day like Saturday, each horse takes in 20 to 25 quarts of whole grains, vitamins and minerals, 50 to 60 pounds of hay, and 30 gallons of water. The combined hitch — horses, wagon and driver — weighs about 12 tons. Handcrafted brass and leather harnesses and collars, each fitted to the individual horse, weighing about 130 pounds each.
The driver handled 40 pounds of reins, a number which increases under tension, and utilizes two forms of braking: a hydraulic pedal that slows for turns and downhill descents, and a handbrake that locks rear wheels when the wagon halts.
Earlier in the week, the Clydesdales made appearances at the Winn-Dixie on McFarland Boulevard, the Piggly Wiggly on Bear Creek Road and at Druid City Social downtown during a luncheon for first responders. Each stop featured marked containers for donations of canned goods, which will be distributed by the Salvation Army.
Several teams of the horses made dozens of appearances throughout the country to promote the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Co.
more:Spinning a filly tale, of horses and hitches | MARK HUGHES COBB
The horses originated in the Lanarkshire area of Scotland. They were bred for heavy farm and industrial work, including logging and agriculture.
The breed resulted from the mating of two native farm mares and imported Flemish stallions in the early 18th century.
The Budweiser tradition dates to 1933, when beermaker August A. Busch Sr.’s sons surprised him with six Clydesdale horses and a beer wagon to commemorate the end of Prohibition.
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Back in the saddle: Budweiser Clydesdales parade through Tuscaloosa