2013-08-09 / Top News

Festival of the Horse Is This Week

Antique Carriages to Be in Parade
By Samantha Radecki


Two Grand Hotel Percheron horses, Rolls (right) and Royce, are ready to be driven by Grand Hotel carriage driver Caleb Riddle Tuesday, August 6, at Grand Hotel stables. The 1890s omnibus carriage is one of two carriages Grand Hotel will put in the Mackinac Island Festival of the Horse parade Friday, August 9. The parade starts at 7 p.m. Two Grand Hotel Percheron horses, Rolls (right) and Royce, are ready to be driven by Grand Hotel carriage driver Caleb Riddle Tuesday, August 6, at Grand Hotel stables. The 1890s omnibus carriage is one of two carriages Grand Hotel will put in the Mackinac Island Festival of the Horse parade Friday, August 9. The parade starts at 7 p.m. Led by some of Mackinac Island’s high stepping Hackney horses, Ben Mosley will drive with historic style a Grand Hotel carriage from the early 1900s at this year’s Mackinac Island Festival of the Horse Carriage and Saddle Parade Friday, August 9, down Main Street on Mackinac Island.

The parade is a highlight in the fifth annual festival organized by the Mackinac Horsemen’s Association and begins at 7 p.m. near Mission Point Resort, ending near Grand Hotel. Spectators will line the street downtown to view about 18 personal or commercial carriages and 30 to 40 saddled equines.


At right: Grand Hotel stable manager Ben Mosley beside a 109-year-old Grand Hotel vis-a-vis carriage Tuesday, August 6, at Grand Hotel stables. Mr. Mosley will drive this carriage in the Mackinac Island Festival of the Horse psarade Friday, August 9, if weather conditions are fair. At right: Grand Hotel stable manager Ben Mosley beside a 109-year-old Grand Hotel vis-a-vis carriage Tuesday, August 6, at Grand Hotel stables. Mr. Mosley will drive this carriage in the Mackinac Island Festival of the Horse psarade Friday, August 9, if weather conditions are fair. “It should be a very nice parade,” said Mr. Mosley, Grand Hotel stable manager and an adviser to coordinators planning the Festival of the Horse. “We should have at least as many units as we ever have in the past.”

The parade showcases the horse culture on Mackinac Island, where horses have always been king, said Maryanke Alexander, event coordinator. She said horses have historically been the center of Mackinac Island’s livelihood, and this parade is a way to show the public the important role the horses still play in the Island’s everyday lifestyle. Mackinac Island’s horses make the city unique, she said, making them deserving of public recognition.

“The utility horses, the working horses, the carriage horses, the saddle horses, each and every one of them has an important role on Mackinac Island and to me, that’s very important.”

Some of the carriages in the parade date to the 1800s. Mackinac Island’s cottagers and businesses with carriages have been invited to participate in the parade. President of the Mackinac Island Horsemen’s Association Steve Rilenge said part of the history of Mackinac Island will surface in Friday evening’s parade.

“That’s what it’s all about. It’s to show today, what it was like in the 1800s, when all you had was to travel by horse and carriage,” he said. “Where else can you go and see working horses and day-to-day carriages? Nowhere. We want to showcase the living history of the horse in this parade.”

“The parade and the horse festival have slowly evolved into what it is and I think you’re going to see it start to progressively build after this year,” Mr. Mosley said. He will be driving one Grand Hotel carriage from 1900 and another Grand Hotel driver will take the reins of an 1890 omnibus carriage with two Percheron horses.

Ann Levy will enter three of her family’s carriages and three horses in the parade this year. The Levys acquired two antique, turn-of-the-century carriages when they purchased their cottage in 2000.

“There are so few places like Mackinac Island that have an authentic horse and historic culture,” she said. “I like doing it as much for our friends and family as the people who come to visit. It’s fun to have a horse.”

The parade and festival are about community involvement, said Mrs. Levy.

“It’s going to be very exciting. It’s the horse and carriages and the saddle horses and each part in the parade is just as much fun,” she said. “What I love about it is everyone on this Island, whether we see each other a lot or a little, we all come together to do things like this.”

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