Wissahickon Day Parade

April 23, 2017

What is the history of the Parade?

The original parade, in 1921, was a protest of the proposal to open the main Fairmount Park path to automobiles. A “Save the Wissahickon” campaign rallied hundreds of equestrians and thousands of spectators. Forbidden Drive got its name from the proposal’s defeat – hence cars are “forbidden”. It is the oldest equine parade in the US.

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What is the Wissahickon Valley Riding and Driving Association (WVRDA)?

The Wissahickon Valley Riding and Driving Association was established to promote the presence of horses and equestrian activities in Fairmount Park and the Wissahickon Valley. The primary event sponsored and organized by the WVRDA is the production of the historic, annual Wissahickon Day Parade.. All parade production is provided by dedicated volunteers.

WVRDA is a member of the Pennsylvania Equine Council. We gratefully acknowledge Northwestern Stables Board of Directors and staff for welcoming us as guests each year for this historic equine event. We also acknowledge the Friends of the Wissahickon and Valley Green Inn for their supportWe are a totally volunteer-run organization. Want to help us next year?

Where does the $$ go?

All fees charged for parade and show participation, include membership in the WVRDA. All proceeds from the parade are used to meet parade production costs including judging, registration, site preparation, printing costs and publicity.

Where can I park my car or trailer?

There will be plenty of trailer parking on Northwestern Avenue. If you have a trailer, please contact us in advance, if you can, so we know you are coming.

Cars can park at either Bells Mill lot and walk to Northwestern Stables and/or Forbidden Drive. From Thomas Road, you can drive up to the Treehouse and park in the small lot. Or, from the Andorra side of Northwestern Avenue, use the small lot and walk up the hill and down the hill to the corner of Northwestern Ave and Thomas Road.

What’s the schedule for the day?

Times are approximate

9 – 10 Registration for the horse show

10 – 11:30 Enjoy the horseshow in Northwestern Stables Equestrian Facility’s outdoor arena (indoors if raining hard).

11:45 Line up for the parade

12 - ? Parade down to Valley Green, and back if desired

This is my first parade, what might my horse and I expect?

Hopefully you’ve prepared your horse to expect some excitement – many other riders, carriages, spectators and other park enthusiasts. Additionally, you will ride a short way on Northwestern Avenue and cross a road (don’t worry, there are stop signs and you will have the right-of-way). The parade route is approximately 3.5 miles, one way, and the road is generally flat and covered with dirt and small rocks. Please try and stay in the order you line up and don't walk too quickly, or too slowly. There will be a large crowd at Valley Green Inn, along with an announcer on a loud-speaker. You are free to return to NWS or find a different route home afterwards.

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Can I just watch?

Yes! Supporters and horse-lovers are encouraged to watch the horse show from the bleachers at Northwestern Stables and then stroll down Forbidden Drive to watch the parade. Free.

Where can I eat?

There will be some light refreshments to be had at the horse show (for a donation) and lunch is available at Valley Green Inn, Cedars House Café, or at Bruno’s (at the corner of Northwestern & Germantown Avenues). Picnic areas are available throughout the park.

When is the next parade?

The Wissahickon Day Parade is always held on the 4th Sunday in April. So save the date – Sunday, April 22, 2018

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Where is it?

The horse show starts at Northwestern Stables, located at the corner of Northwestern and Germantown Avenues, in Chestnut Hill. Click on the link below for a map.


Contact Us

We are a volunteer-run organization with no office. Please contact us via our facebook page.