AMSA offering free Depot District carriage rides on Thursday nights this month

Drew Butler
The Mercy Train and several Depot District merchants are decorated for the season. For the first three Thursdays in December, the Ardmore Main Street Authority will be offering free carriage rides so everyone can better take in the sights.

On a typical year, the annual Christmas tree lighting and the Parade of Lights would be set for this evening and the Southern Oklahoma Children’s Christmas Parade would take place on Saturday morning. Unfortunately the coronavirus pandemic has made this year anything but typical and all of these events have been cancelled.

But that’s not to say there will be no holiday joy in downtown Ardmore this year.

Starting on Thursday night, the Ardmore Main Street Authority will be offering free carriage rides around the Depot District. The rides will happen from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on December 3, 10 and 17, and will coincide with extended shopping hours at several Depot District retailers.

AMSA Director of Marketing Taylor Steele said two carriages will be making a loop around the north lane of Main Street and south lane of Broadway, and guests will be able to hop on and hop off at their desired stops. Though the exact route is still being finalized, it will run from at least C Street to Washington Street.

In addition to the carriage rides, two reindeer and an antique sleigh will be available for photographs on Dec. 17. The exact location of the reindeer setup will be announced in the coming weeks.

AMSA General Manager Jeff DiMiceli said they organized this event as a way to encourage more people to come downtown after the decision was made to cancel the parade.

“We hated to have to cancel the parade, and we think our decision was in the best interest of everyone,” he said. “But we don’t want people to be afraid to shop downtown or come downtown. It’s still central to everything we do in Ardmore, and we think this will be a safe outdoor way to come down and enjoy being together as a family.”

He said he hopes this will encourage more people to support small business by checking out all the Depot District has to offer.

“We’re really just encouraging everyone to come downtown and have some fun in the Depot District,” DiMiceli said. “We want this to be a family event, and we want to make it convenient for everyone so they don’t have to spend money on the carriage ride. We’d much rather they spent it in our stores and restaurants.”