More than 15,000 spectators will be treated to the Budweiser Clydesdale horses galloping down Pier Avenue at Hermosa Beach's 25th annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday, March 16.
The team of eight Clydesdales—known for their massive size and the silky, white "feathers" on the lower legs—will pull the full Budweiser hitch, accompanied by their familiar companions, two Dalmatian dogs.
Organizers are also hoping to gain approval for an appearance by The Dumbo Drone, a flying replica of the lead character from Disney's live action/animated hybrid movie premiering on March 29. Parade organizer Michael Bell said his team is awaiting permits from the Hermosa Beach Police and the FAA for the whimsical airship.
The all-volunteer-run parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 16, near City Hall on Valley Drive, makes a left onto Pier Avenue and ends at the corner of Hermosa Avenue and 10th Street.
It's the first time in more than two decades the Clydesdales have appeared in the South Bay. The last time was in the mid-1990s when the horses made a stop in the San Pedro/Long Beach area, according to Francisco Rendon, trade marketing manager for Anheuser-Busch.
"We were actually just really fortunate," said Maureen Hunt, the president and CEO of the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce. "We were very nervous because we got this great opportunity, but we were waiting for the city to sign our Fiesta contract which also includes the parade."
The twice-a-year arts and crafts Fiesta is the chamber's biggest fundraiser. Without a major sponsorship from AB InBev (Anheuser-Busch), the parade might not have happened, Hunt said.
AB InBev is this year's grand marshal as well as a major sponsor for the Fiesta's beer gardens. Hunt declined to say how much money AB InBev has donated toward the parade. In years past, it has cost upwards of $20,000 to produce.
"The city is as excited as we are," said Hunt. "The city really wanted us to continue the parade and ... having (the Clydesdales) in helps us get the parade. It's a win win for everyone."
Each Clydesdale travels with two handlers, said Rendon. Anheuser-Busch gets hundreds of requests for Clydesdale appearances each year, but attend only about 10 events per month, or a little more than 100 per year, said Rendon.
The Clydesdales will be available at the pier head for photographs after the parade from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, according to organizer Bell. The public can also view a horse on Thursday, March 14, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the 7-Eleven at 1535 Aviation Blvd., in Redondo Beach, on Friday, March 15, from noon to 2 p.m. at San Pedro Fish Market, 1190 Nagoya Way in San Pedro and at the Hollywood Palladium on Sunday, March 17, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. for the pre-show parking lot party before Irish-American punk rock band Flogging Molly plays in a St. Patrick's Day celebration concert.
The parade will also feature an ice cream truck with free treats sponsored by Kinecta Federal Credit Union, veteran sportscaster Mark Willard and Hermosa Beach Man and Woman of the Year, George Barks and Adrienne Slaughter.
**Updated on 3/14/19 to reflect a full team of Clydesdales at the pier head, per Michael Bell.