Ivan the Budweiser Clydesdale steals the show at Johnson City Tree Lighting


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Johnson City officially kicked off the Christmas season with its Tree lighting ceremony but the massive, glistening tree wasn’t the star of the show.

Hundreds of people lined the sidewalks of King Commons Park in Downtown Johnson city just to get a glimpse and take a picture with one of the famous Budweiser Clydesdales.

It’s their first trip to the Tri-Cities since 2011.

“Its the biggest horse I’ve ever seen,” said Jack Bolton.

Ivan the Budweiser Clydesdale had people lined up for hours before Johnson City lit its Christmas tree in one of its last stops during its visit to the Tri-Cities.

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“This process actually started about five years ago and we started requesting them,” said Holston Distributing General Manager, Mike Hubbard.

Holston distributing had to apply and pay for them to make the trip to the Tri-Cities.

“They’ve taken care of everything, we’re just enjoying them, the exciting thing is all eight of them will be in the Christmas parade tomorrow,” said Johnson City Mayor, Jenny Brock.

The Clydesdales have been staying at the Holston Distributing Company during their visit.

“I go out, look out my office and they’re walking the horses, there’s traffic stopped, people getting out of their cars, constant people coming in and out of the warehouse,” said Hubbard. “I tell you, we have absolutely enjoyed it!”

SEE MORE: Budweiser Clydesdales prepare to make multiple Tri-Cities appearances this week

But to get them ready for the big show- it takes hours of prep.

“They started bathing them, they got a bath, then they fed them, they braided their hair, they got them all ready then they combed them again, then brushed them again, then when they got them to the parade, they started combing again, so they’re very well taken care of,” Hubbard says.

SEE MORE: Thousands flock to downtown Bristol to see Budweiser Clydesdales march in parade

And that hard work shows -captivating the eyes of hundreds on their visit.

“I like how furry its feet are!” said Maddie Bolton just after she had her picture taken with Ivan.

Johnson City is expecting a record turnout for its parade on Saturday morning for the Clydesdales last stop on their trip to the Tri-Cities.

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