If the weather holds and everything else goes according to plan, a new holiday tradition will begin in Denison on December 15, when a horse-drawn wagon takes residents and visitors on a ride around uptown Denison.
The idea first came up at the November meeting of the Women in Business Impact Organization (WIBIO), which is a committee of the Chamber and Development Council (CDC) of Crawford County.
“It was our idea to add something new to the Santa visits,” said WIBIO member Rachel Desy. “We’ve always tried to incorporate a little something new each year to attract people to come visit.”
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the Santa House located between United Bank of Iowa and Cobalt Credit Union from 1 to 3 p.m. on December 15. The wagon rides will go from 1 to 5 p.m.
Fred and Marilyn Coltrain, of Kiron, will provide the horses and the wagon for the ride.
The Coltrains own “A Place to Re
member,” which is a museum north of Kiron that displays antique farm equipment, a one-room schoolhouse and many other items used by pioneers of the local area.
“The museum kind of led us to get into draft horses, and we have a variety of wagons and carriages on display that we use for special events,” Marilyn Coltrain said.
Two Percheron draft horses - half-brothers named Rascal, who is 11, and Dicky, 9 - will pull a 14-passenger wagon with bench seating.
The six-block ride will start at the Donna Reed Theater and go to the corner at Hy-Vee, then up to First Avenue North, loop by the post office and return to the theater.
“We thought it would be nice to partner with the Donna Reed Foundation so people could wait in their lobby,” Desy said. “If it’s a chilly day, they can go in and stay warm.”
The Donna Reed Foundation will be offering concessions as a fundraiser for the foundation. Hot cocoa, cider and popcorn will be available.
The ride will be slow and relaxing, Coltrain said.
Desy pointed out that the ride may be taken more than once.
The Coltrain’s horses and wagon were a good fit for what WIBIO was looking for, Desy said.
“We we have no idea what kind of crowd to expect,” she said. “We’re
hoping it’s a nice day and we get a good turnout.”
In the case of inclement weather, the event will be postponed for a later date.
“The horses are sturdy, so they don’t mind the weather too much,” Coltrain said, “but it gets a little cold for the driver.”
The horses will be driven by Fred Coltrain and the Coltrains’ friend Dan Schroeder, of Schleswig.
“He also owns draft horses and we do a lot of events together,” Coltrain said.
The rides will be at no charge and free will donations will be accepted.
“We don’t want to discourage anyone due to cost,” Desy said. “People can come and give as little or much as they like.”
All proceeds from the ride will go toward future beautification projects and improvements at the Santa House.
“We’re always looking to add decorations or do maintenance on the building to keep it looking nice and in good shape,” she said.
December 15 is a Saturday, so the stores in Denison will be open.
“We thought that would be a good day to bring people to town,” Desy said. “We think it will draw from surrounding areas and give something new for families to do. While they’re here, we hope they will check out some of the local retailers.”
Desy said WIBIO wants the event to be a new tradition for families.
“We want to create a tradition for people of all ages to come out and enjoy,” she said. “We are hoping we can do this every year and maybe add different features in the future.”
For additional information on the wagon ride event, contact the CDC Office at 712-263-5621.