Originally created 01/23/04

Parade, festival add to Futurity experience



There's no need to go west if you're seeking cowboys.

In celebration of the Augusta Futurity's 25th anniversary, the show is holding the inaugural Western Culture & Food Festival. The event runs today through Sunday in front of the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.

The festival features cowboy gunfighters, American Indian cultural performances, food and music in front of an Old West-style backdrop. Admission is $4 a day.

On Saturday, the futurity features the Wrangler Family Fun Fair, which runs fromnoon to 5 p.m., in front of the Augusta-Richmond County Center. Entertainment includes: roping demonstrations, Western puppets, music, dancing, Pearlie Mae the Clown and the Western Culture & Food Festival. Cost is $10 per family and includes admission to Saturday's night cutting competition.

"The futurity was looking for a way to attract younger kids," Wrangler Family Fun Fair committee chair Denise Parrish said. "This is a chance to come out and see real cowboys. They get to do a lot of on-hands learning."

The outdoor futurity events continue Sunday with the Augusta Horse & Carriage Parade at 2 p.m. in downtown Augusta. The parade, part of the cutting show since 1992, features more than 400 riders and 75 horse-drawn vehicles. The parade is the largest annual gathering of mounted riders and horse-drawn vehicles in the Southeast.

Last year, the Budweiser Clydesdales were the main attraction. This year, the Heinz Hitch and "A Touch of Ear" highlight the parade.

The Heinz Hitch is an 8-up, black Percheron hitch put to a 150-year-old Studebaker wagon. "A Touch of Ear" shows off eight blonde, sorrel mules put to a Doug Hansen reproduction wagon. Hansen is regarded for his handcrafted replicas of classic wagons and stagecoaches.

SCHEDULE

All events held in front of Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, unless noted otherwise:

TODAY

11 a.m.-9 p.m.-Food vendors open

11 a.m.-American Indian demonstration

Noon-Cowboy demonstration

1 p.m.-American Indian demonstration

2 p.m.-Cowboy demonstration

3 p.m.-American Indian demonstration

4 p.m.-Cowboy demonstration

5-7 p.m.-Bluegrass Music Concert (Pine Mountain Railroad)

7-10 p.m.-Latino/Salsa Concert

SATURDAY

11 a.m.-9 p.m.-Food vendors open

11 a.m.-American Indian demonstration

Noon-Cowboy demonstration

1-6 p.m.-Wrangler Family Fun Fair

6-9 p.m.-Southern Rock Concert (The Rhes Reeves Band)

SUNDAY

11 a.m.-2 p.m.-Augusta Horse & Carriage Parade warmup at the Augusta Exchange Fairgrounds

2-4 p.m.-Augusta Horse & Carriage Parade (downtown Augusta)

4-5 p.m.-Parade reception

6 p.m.-End festival