Budweiser Clydesdale farm in Boonville hosts holiday tours
BOONVILLE - The breeding home of the Budweiser Clydesdales, Warm Springs Ranch, is hosting its inaugural Holiday Lights Festival starting Friday. The 300-plus-acre farm is home to more than two dozen horses.
The ranch will be playing Christmas music and will have thousands of lights all over the farm. It will also be serving Budweisers for people who are over 21 and hot cocoa or apple cider for those who aren't. The farm will have Clydesdales for petting and pictures.
Tours will run every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Nov. 24 through Dec. 30. Admission is $5 per person and free for children under 2 years old.
Breeding supervisor John Soto said Budweiser has put up holiday lights at its breweries for several years and people "really seem to enjoy it."
Then our guys got the idea of doing it out here," he said.
Soto lead the initiative to get the Holiday Lights Festival in Boonville. Now, he and his team are ready for opening night.
"We really want to have people coming in with a festive mood. They can come in and see the Budweiser Clydesdales and they can see a baby, and at the same time have that holiday spirit," he said.
Soto said Warms Springs Ranch is the "birth place" of the Clydesdales.
"This is the breeding farm where the babies will hopefully, one day, be out on our traveling teams," he said.
The Budweiser Clydesdales were started in 1933 after the repeal of prohibition. August A. Busch surprised his dad with a team of horses just after the legalization.
Soto said the Busch's first went to the governor of New York Al Smith, who was strongly a part of repealing prohibition, and offered him one of the first cases of post-prohibition beer. Their next stop was the White House to give another "first case" to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The Budweiser Clydesdales were originally bred in Southern California and at Grant's Farm in St. Louis. In 2007, Budweiser found the Warm Springs property in Boonville right off Interstate 70 and started building.
In the fall of 2008, Budweiser brought the horses from California and St. Louis to Boonville. Warm Springs Ranch started doing tours in the spring of 2010.