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Wissahickon Day Parade

The 2019 annual Wissahickon Day Parade (WDP) will be held on Sunday, April 28 in Fairmount Park. The parade is the oldest annual equine parade in the US and is sponsored by the Wissahickon Valley Riding and Driving Association (WVRDA).

The Parade will start at 12:00 PM, departing from Harper’s Meadow. Line-up will start with carriages, in front of Northwestern Equestrian Facility (NWEF) at approximately 11:45 AM. Riders will fall in line behind the carriages starting at Harper’s Meadow. The Parade will travel to Forbidden Drive and continue along the Drive to the judging area at Valley Green Inn.

A horse show will precede the parade, beginning at 9:30 AM, with classes held in one of Northwestern Stables’ arenas. Classes include English, Western, Stable Group and Carriages.

Download registration form here.


photo5The Wissahickon Day Parade is a celebration of the 1920’s protest which caused the naming of Forbidden Drive. In 1921, the president of the Fairmount Park Commission, E.T. Stotesbury proposed opening all park roads to automobile traffic.  This proposal met the protest of the Philadelphia Riders and Drivers Association which now is known as the Chestnut Hill Riders and Drivers of the Wissahickon.  In their protest, they launched a “Save the Wissahickon” campaign.  The campaign resulted in almost 1,000 people on horseback and in horse drawn carriages marching down the Wissahickon Turnpike to show their support for keeping the park free of automobiles.  The equestrians were supported by 12,000 spectators.  Because of their successful defeat of the proposal, Wissahickon Turnpike became known as Forbidden Drive.

Each year, riders and drivers assemble at the Northwestern Equestrian Facility and march down Forbidden Drive in celebration of equestrian activities, the Wissahickon Creek and the preservation of this historical trail.

Need more info? Email us.


Registration begins at 8:30 AM
  1. Junior English WT – Walk, trot both directions
  2. Junior English WTC – Walk, trot, canter both directions
  3. Senior English WT – Walk, trot both directions
  4. Senior English WTC – Walk, trot, canter both directions
  5. Junior/Senior Western WJ –Walk, jog both directions
  6. Junior/Senior Western WJL – Walk, jog, lope both directions
  7. Carriage – Single/Pair; 2 and 4 wheel vehicles
  8. Stable Group – 3 rider minimum

Junior classes are for riders aged 17 and younger. Senior classes are for riders aged 18 and over.

Parade (START TIME 12PM)
  1. Parade Participant – The parade will be led by carriages, with riders following behind. The parade will travel to Forbidden Drive and continue along the Drive to the judging area at Valley Green Inn.





For a class project, Taisje Claiborne covered the 91st Annual Wissahickon Day Parade.