Solvang Trolley honors two residents during ribbon cutting for new vehicles

From left to right, Sal Orona, Carla Duus, Hans Duus and Lorena Orona stand in front of one of Solvang Trolley’s new electric trolleys, which was dedicated to Hans Duus on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Solvang, Calif. (Photo by Serena Guentz)

The company’s two electric forklifts dedicated to Klitgaard, Duus

By Serena Guentz

Contributing writer

The Solvang Trolley and Carriage Company held an inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, June 29 to inaugurate its new motorized trolleys, including two electric.

“You know us for the operation of the historic Solvang cart, the ‘Honen’, the one pulled by two Belgian draft horses that have been operating in Solvang since 1973”, said Claudia Orona, pro-tem mayor of Solvang, whose family owns the Solvang cart.

While horse-drawn carts will continue to offer guided tours, electric carts will keep the Solvang Trolley running even when it is too hot or conditions are not ideal for the horses.

Lorena Orona said the horses are still the stars and this will allow them to stay at home under these conditions.

The company has a total of 10 horses, including two retired horses. Lorena Orona said that once they bring a new horse, it is part of their family and will stay with them, even if the horses no longer work on the carriages.

The Solvang Trolley was first owned and made available to visitors to Solvang by HHH Rasmussen in 1973 and has since had several different owners.

The Orona family, who currently own the Solvang Trolley, have owned and operated the business since 2007.

The inaugural event consisted of free ice cream and lemonade for guests, a speech by Claudia Orona, and free rides through Solvang on the new carts.

Claudia Orona, one of the owners of Solvang Trolley and Carriage Company, stands in one of Solvang Trolley’s new electric trolleys, ready to tell about a guided tour of Solvang. (Photo by Serena Guentz)

Solvang Trolley also surprised community members by dedicating the two trolleys to former visitor center manager Dean Klitgaard and former city council member Hans Duus.

“We have decided to dedicate these carts to people who we believe have truly honored us with their support and friendship, and have also contributed to Solvang in many ways,” said Claudia Orona.

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 website, the trolleys have accommodated more than 10,000 passengers since the Orona family acquired the company.

“For us this business is a blessing, we see a lot of happy people,” said Lorena Orona. “We are very happy to serve the people of this beautiful and magical city. “

The Solvang Trolley even inspired a children’s fairy tale book, “The Magic Door” by Mary Brodsky.

The book tells the story of a young girl, her horses and her unicorn in a magical city, with characters inspired by Solvang Trolley horses and sets inspired by Solvang.

Orona said it was a dream for her to have a fairy tale book on the cart and when Brodsky met the horses, she immediately hooked up with one of the less social horses on Solvang Trolley, Juanita, leading Brodsky to name the main unicorn character after Juanita.

“[The children] always remember, ”Orona said of the experiences of the younger passengers on the cart, noting that they always have a favorite horse. “Sometimes little kids have birthdays on the cart, so I think it’s very magical.”

The Orona family have expressed their enthusiasm for adding electric carts to their fleet to provide more tours for the community and visitors.

Further information on Solvang Trolley and Carriage Company is available on its website at solvangtrolley.com.

“We believe the cart belongs to Solvang and the cart will be in Solvang forever,” Orona said.

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