Alyssa Krause came to downtown Aiken Thursday night to see horses, and the 8-year-old wasn't disappointed.
Polo ponies were among the participants in the second Horses and Courses parade. Joining them were horses pulling carriages as the procession made its way up and down Laurens Street.
“It was awesome,” said Krause with a big smile.
The Ridge Spring resident attended the parade with her 5-year-old brother, Aiden, and her mother, Paula. Arriving early, they nabbed a prime viewing spot on a curb near the entrance to The Alley.
Seeing Clemson's tiger mascot was Aiden's favorite parade experience.
“I like Clemson,” said the young fan, who was wearing an orange shirt and sneakers with orange laces.
Also in the parade were custom and decorated golf carts. One looked like a train, and another had a stuffed coyote on top. Other carts were festooned with flowers and balloons.
For the second year in a row, the parade was held under threatening skies, but there were no downpours.
“I have been watching the weather all day long like a hawk,” said Kim Coleman, who teamed with Jessica Campbell to coordinate Horses and Courses. “I got really nervous this morning, and then I decided I was going to get a good attitude and that we would do as good as we could. And we're doing good. We've got a nice crowd, and we're happy.”
Coleman and Campbell work for the City of Aiken Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, which organized Horses and Courses in partnership with the City of Aiken Arts Commission. Carolina Outdoors and the Aiken Artist Guild were the sponsors of the Masters Week event.
Horses and Courses' purpose is to promote Aiken and three things for which the city is known: horses, golf and art.
In addition to the parade, festivities included an Aiken Artist Guild sidewalk sale that was held in The Alley. Twenty-five artists displayed their work, which included fused glass jewelry, paintings and photographs.
“People love this,” said Carolyn Hobbs Miller of the Artist Guild. “There is something here for everybody and the prices are right because there is no overhead.”
Lisa and Klaten Woods checked out the art with their children, Ashlee and Joshua. They moved to Aiken from Bossier City, La., last June.
“We're new to town, so we're still finding out about all the things that take place,” Lisa Woods said. “My husband is a big photographer, so we have been looking at some of the pictures here and they are just extraordinary.”
Tom Supensky, who was an art professor and ceramics teacher at Towson University in Maryland before his retirement, offered some of his whimsical clay sculptures at the sidewalk scale. A couple of pieces featured polo divots, and there also was a sculpture of a saddle with a striped caterpillar crawling on it.
“I had a few pieces that fit the Horses and Courses themes, so I came out here,” Supensky said. “Even though I'm retired from Towson, I have a studio at my house, and I keep on working. You never stop being an artist.”