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Carriage rides through Downtown Lodi a fun way to experience the holidays

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Posted: Saturday, December 3, 2011 7:35 pm | Updated: 6:11 am, Mon Dec 5, 2011.

Travis trotted down School Street, looking well-groomed as he knawed on his bit that helped him pull a 900-pound carriage.

But at roughly 2,000 pounds and 18 hands tall, Travis did not seem to mind that he was pulling less than half his weight.

A black Percheron horse, Travis is just one of a handful of horses the All Seasons Carriage Company is bringing out to Downtown Lodi for its fifth season of horse-drawn carriage rides - one of the more unique ways to get into the holiday spirit.

Led by professional driver John Walker and others, the carriage rides literally draw people out of their homes to watch as families and friends get taken down West Oak Street, around Hutchins Street Square, and back up West Walnut Street before being dropped off at The Dancing Fox Winery & Bakery for some coffee and dessert.

"It seems to be pretty popular," said Deena Kirby, owner of the company. "People enjoy being able to come out and take a ride through Lodi, especially with Downtown all spruced up and then the historic homes right across the street ... It is a treat."

This is the first year that the carriage rides have not been sponsored by the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership, but Kirby said people are still lining up to try and squeeze in a 20 to 25 minute ride on a Saturday.

Riding down West Walnut Street, people standing outside St. Anne's Church watched with smiles on their faces as the carriage headed towards its final destination.

One person pulled out his iPhone, taking snapshots of the big, black horse as it passed by.

"The most common thing I hear from parents to their kids is ‘How would you like to have this take you to school every day?'" Kirby said. "I try not to tell the kids that it would a long ride, as the horse only goes about four miles per hour. Six at most."

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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