Company’s two electric trolleys dedicated to Klitgaard, Duus
By Serena Guentz
The Solvang Trolley and Carriage Company held a ribbon-cutting event Tuesday, June 29, to inaugurate its new motorized trolleys, including two that are electric.
“You guys know us for operating the historical Solvang Trolley, the ‘Honen,’ the one that is pulled by two Belgian draft horses that has been operating in Solvang since 1973,” said Claudia Orona, Solvang mayor pro-tem, whose family owns the Solvang Trolley.
While the horse-drawn trolleys will continue to give guided tours, the electric trolleys will allow Solvang Trolley to operate even when it is too hot or there are otherwise less than ideal conditions for the horses.
Lorena Orona said the horses are still the stars and this will allow them to stay home during these conditions.
The company has a total of 10 horses, which does include two retired horses. Lorena Orona said that once they bring in a new horse, it is a part of their family and will stay with them, even if the horses aren’t working on the trolleys anymore.
The Solvang Trolley was first owned and made available to Solvang visitors by H.H.H. Rasmussen in 1973 and has since had several different owners.
The Orona family, which currently owns the Solvang Trolley, has owned and operated the company since 2007.
The ribbon-cutting event consisted of free ice cream and lemonade for guests, a speech by Claudia Orona, and free rides through Solvang on the new trolleys.
Solvang Trolley also surprised community members with the dedication of the two trolleys to former visitor center manager Dean Klitgaard and to former councilmember Hans Duus.
“We decided to dedicate these trolleys to people that we feel have really honored us with their support and friendship, and have also contributed to Solvang in many ways,” Claudia Orona said.
The Solvang Chamber of Commerce also named the Solvang Trolley as a “Green Business,” a program that provides resources and recognizes businesses that are committed to operating more sustainably and preventing pollution.
According to the Solvang Trolley’s website, the trolleys have welcomed over 10,000 passengers since the Orona family acquired the company.
“For us, this business is a blessing, we see a lot of happy people,” Lorena Orona said. “We are very happy to serve the people in this beautiful and magic town.”
The Solvang Trolley has even inspired a children’s fairy-tale book, “The Magic Door” by Mary Brodsky.
The book tells the story of a young girl and her horses and unicorn in a magical town, with characters based on Solvang Trolley’s horses and settings based on Solvang.
Orona said it was a dream of hers to have a fairy-tale book about the trolley and when Brodsky met with the horses, she instantly connected with one of Solvang Trolley’s less social horses, Juanita, leading Brodsky to name the main unicorn character after Juanita.
“[The children] always remember,” Orona said of the younger passengers’ experiences on the trolley, mentioning that they always have a favorite horse. “Sometimes little kids have birthdays on the trolley, so I think it’s very magic.”
The Orona family expressed excitement to add the electric trolleys to its fleet in order to offer more guided tours for the community and visitors.
More information on the Solvang Trolley and Carriage Company can be found on its website at solvangtrolley.com.
“We believe the trolley belongs to Solvang and the trolley is going to be in Solvang forever,” Orona said.