It’s a holiday tradition among many to enjoy the twinkling lights of Downtown Lawrence with a mosey down Mass Street, and now there is a more festive way to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year – by horse-drawn carriage. Cozy up under a warm blanket and listen to trots and the jingling of sleigh bells, all while supporting a local cause.
“Pulling for a Change” is an event crafted by McGrew Real Estate REALTOR® Emily Willis Stewart to benefit local charity organizations. This year’s benefactor is O’Connell Children’s Shelter, a merger of previously known entities The Children’s Shelter and the O’Connell Youth Ranch. The organization provides housing and other services to children in need.
For five dates, starting Nov. 27 and ending Dec. 11, the route will begin on the north side of the Eldridge Hotel in the valet parking lane. Carriages will venture down Massachusetts and Vermont streets to pass decorated storefronts and glimmering lights.
A suggested donation of $10 a person, or $40 for a group of four or more, will go to charity. No reservations are needed. You simply show up and wait your turn. Organizers just ask that riders remain patient, because timing can be inconsistent based on several factors, including traffic in the street and horse potty breaks.
The event started in 2019 and Stewart recalls the event’s inauguration affectionately: “Working as one of the ticket takers and manager of the event, some of the stories that I got to hear took my breath away. It really changed my perspective of how horses can provide healing to people going through what they might be before the holidays, which can be a difficult time for people.”
From first dates to a romantic carriage engagement, the riders had a festive time, some even coming back on additional dates to experience the ride all over again. Stewart emphasizes that the event would not be possible without sponsors. “When you think about community and who is investing to make it a better place, a really great list are the sponsors of this event. They really are making an impact by investing in the future of Lawrence,” she says.
McGrew Real Estate, Silver Lake Bank, Scott Temperature, Grand Builders, Clouse Inspection, Eldridge Hotel, Josie Polk-State Farm Agent and Lawyers Title of Kansas are all backers of the event. Lawrence Market President from Silver Lake Bank, Nicholas Gideon, appreciates the opportunity to volunteer. “We can’t think of a better way to support our community than by giving back to those who will ultimately be involved in our community’s future,” he says.
If you’re looking for something to kickstart your holiday season, this is an event that will make your spirit bright!
Sunday, November 27 | 12-5 pm
Tuesday, November 29 | 4:30-8 pm
Monday, December 5 | 4:30-8 pm
Tuesday, December 6 | 4:30-8 pm
Sunday, December 11 | 12-5 pm