The parade was over and costume awards were being handed out when Oregon Horse Association President Barb Waters alerted the winners, "The trophies all say 2010 and not 2011. We couldn't have a parade last year so we saved them."
With a 56-degree high, a breeze and partly sunny skies, weather conditions this season were favorable for the long-running Holiday Horse Parade in downtown Oregon. Snow, slush, wind and ice canceled the 2010 parade.
Each year the Oregon Horse Association and the Oregon Chamber of Commerce sponsor and coordinate the community event, which begins and ends at the high school and works its way through downtown on Main Street.
Oregon is the self-proclaimed "Horse Capital of Wisconsin" and the annual parade is a tribute to the area's healthy equine business.
The Oregon Horse Association is led by Waters, Vice President Kari Smith, Secretary Carrie Waters-Schmidt and Treasurer Meg White. Its mission is simple: "A nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting horses, horsemanship, leadership, good sportsmanship and wholesome fun with horses."
Association activities include monthly meetings, an educational clinic in support of local 4-H, an annual Memorial Day open horse show, the Oregon Summer Fest parade in June, a spring and fall trail ride, a summer pizza party, Adopt-a-Highway highway litter clean-up, a holiday fun get-together and a winter potluck party in January to start it all over again, Waters said on the group's website.
This year, riders from the Country View Veterinary Clinic earned the prize for best group costume with a native American/pilgrim/Thanksgiving theme, complete with a costumed turkey.
"That's two years in a row for Country View," Waters said. "They're going to be hard to beat in the future."
Best Holiday Costume went to Ashlyn Madrigal, Best Costume went to Judy Jones and Most Creative Costume was awarded to Rachel Buszka, all from the southern Wisconsin area.