WILTON — Wilton Blueberry Festival organizer Shannon Smith is looking for help to try to bring the Budweiser Clydesdale 8-Horse Hitch to this year’s festival.

Smith has started a letter-writing campaign to reinforce her request for the horses to make an appearance at the 35th anniversary of the festival planned for Aug. 4 and 5. 

“We’ve got to have a reason for them to come,” she said. 

This is not the first year she has made the request. 

“I’ve applied for 20 years to bring the horse hitch here,” she said.

Promises were made last year that extra efforts would be taken to engage the Clydesdale hitch for the festival’s special anniversary. Letters from individuals, groups and organizations which simply state the reasons they would like the horse team to come may help, she said.


Smith’s goal is to receive 100 letters or more that she can forward to Federal Distributors in Lewiston, which distributes Budweiser products.  

Letters already received point out a variety of positive aspects about the festival, she said. The letters mention the impact that the Clydesdales’ appearance would have on the local economy and how much people would enjoy seeing them, she said.

One writer talked about seeing them as a child and wanting to share the experience with her grandchildren. Others mentioned the economy of Franklin County — not just Wilton — but the potential boost to the whole area, she said. 

The festival supports local businesses and is a major fundraising event for local organizations. Thousands come each year to enjoy the event’s offerings, including the parade, fireworks and the Kendall Burdin Firemen’s Muster, writers mentioned in the letters. 

The Wilton Lions Club feeds breakfast to over 500 people. The festival helps several organizations raise money and brings in revenue for local businesses, Smith said. 

Others have mentioned the impact the horses could have on a county which has lost employment and struggles with a declining economy, she said.  


The horses travel all around the country. They have come to other places in Maine but never to Franklin County, Smith said.

Smith saw them last year in Rockland, where people came just to see them, she said.

“I don’t know whether (the letter campaign) will work or not, but I’m asking anyone interested to help,” she said. 

She hopes to reach the letter goal and finish sending them by the end of January. 

Ice and snow may cover the ground today, but Smith has already been hard at work pulling the 2017 festival together.   

She hopes the Clydesdales will be available for viewing on the Friday of the festival and will walk in the parade Saturday. They could be housed at the Farmington Fairgrounds or a makeshift barn in Wilton, she said.


Several letter-writers mentioned how Smith puts her whole heart and mind into the effort to plan something new and different for every festival.

Smith asks for letters of support to be mailed or emailed directly to her and she will forward them to Federal Distributors.

Letters of support may be mailed to Shannon Smith, chairman, WBBF, 25 Pleasant View Heights, Wilton, ME 04294, or emailed to scsmith.wbbf@gmail.com. 

For more information, contact Smith at 778-4726.


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