The roar of engines will be replaced by the clop of hooves along city streets as the 14th annual Augusta Horse and Carriage Parade pulls into downtown today.
The parade will begin at 2 p.m. at Fifth and Broad streets, then travel on Broad to 10th Street, turn right on 10th and head to Reynolds Street, turn right on Reynolds and end at Fifth Street.
Augusta Common also will be transformed into a Victorian village from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today with food, craft and jewelry vendors and free pony rides for children.
The parade will include all sorts of four-legged animals.
Included are two headlining teams of horses that weigh more than a ton each - a hitch of eight long-eared blond draft mules out of Oklahoma and another of eight black Percherons, draft horse breeds from Pennsylvania - and also a pair of goats and short-horned cattle, said Pat Doennig, the parade director.
"Everything that was ever used historically to pull a vehicle is welcome, but it's primarily horses and mules," she said.
Ms. Doennig said the parade, which usually is held during the Augusta Futurity, was moved to May with hopes that spring weather would attract more patrons.
"This parade is growing every year. It's the largest of its kind in the Southeast, meaning nothing is allowed in the parade that is mechanized," Ms. Doennig said, adding that participants must be on foot, on horseback, in a carriage or on a bicycle.
Peggy Babineau, of Aiken, will ride her walking horse, Starbuck. Her horse Tiny, a 2,400-pound black Percheron more than 6 feet tall, and his former pasture mate Goliath, a 400-pound, 38-inch miniature horse, also will be in the parade.
"What's fun is to drive them together because, really, they look like twins except one comes to the other's knee," Ms. Babineau said.
"The fun thing about doing the parade is seeing all the other horses, the other carriages, just the camaraderie. And I like it because Tiny likes it. Tiny is into people.
"You drive him through (the woods) and he just drags his head, but take him on the streets around people and he loves it; he knows what's going on. He just loves being the center of attention."
Reach C. Samantha McKevie at (706) 823-3552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.