SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – The snow was very welcome Sunday at the first annual sleigh rally and parade of the sleighs in South Hadley. Plenty of snow is a must for a successful sleighing event.
It was like a 19th century scene out of Currier and Ives. The sleigh riders were all decked out in their historical finery. Sleigh parades depend on having enough snow on the ground, and it’s not uncommon for some sleigh events to be cancelled for lack of snow. But organizers had no such concern this weekend, in fact just the opposite.
“We were really worried, we weren’t going to have enough snow and then that big storm and there was too much. We’ve been running around like crazy with plows getting everything moved the right way,” said co-organizer Hailey Fountain.
“We like to go to the sleigh rallies but generally they don’t have enough snow, now we’ve got plenty of snow so it should be a fine time,” said Dave Cox sleigh ride admirer.
Sleigh ride competition is among the oldest and most revered of New England’s wintertime heritage. Here in Western Massachusetts sleigh rallies keep adding new blood all the time.
Oh it’s great, I just bought a sleigh this year and so I came here today to see what the other sleighs looked like,” said Joan Adler of Gill.
As one observer said, a sleigh rally is a competition, but it’s not a race, but rather it’s about beauty, skill and the relationship between the driver and the horse.