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Someone You Should Know: Spreading joy with a pumpkin carriage

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 4:30 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Lonnette Kelley felt called to make a pumpkin carriage, which she named ‘Joy’.

“I’ve had this dream for a long time, and I can’t tell you where or how it came about. But one day, I found a fellow that was doing steel artistry. And that was my cue to go ahead and ask him if he would help me build my carriage,” said Lonnette.

That was 20 years ago when Lonnette was living in North Dakota.

“This is the framework and the actual carriage foundation. And then my husband helped finish off the woodworking and the lighting. And I went ahead and did all the fabricating on it. I’m actually a nurse, but just to keep myself happy and energized, I love creativity and anything to do with crafts,” said Lonnette.

The Pipestone, Minnesota native, who lives in Sioux Falls now, got the carriage here this past summer. And the rides began.

“I’ve been to some festivals. But right now, I’m just taking reservations for birthday parties, weddings, special features, functions. And I do charge. I don’t overcharge because it’s a joy for me. I want to just enjoy the riders that I have. I’m trying to just use it while I can. I really don’t do a lot with the Halloween spirit. I do it in the spirit of love and fun, and just enjoying fall,” said Lonnette.

The pumpkin carriage was a big hit for these kindergartners at Oscar Howe Elementary.

“So much fun to watch the little children, boys and girls alike, it’s not just an all-girl thing. They’re jumping and they’re running around, and they’re so excited to ride in the carriage. That tells me that I’m doing something right,” said Lonnette.

For Lonnette, who pulls the pumpkin carriage with her lawnmower, she plans on giving rides as long as she can.

“I don’t have a goal right now, and I’m not sure as I grow older what will happen to the carriage. But I think in time, step by step, the good Lord will show me in the right direction and the carriage will hopefully end up in somebody’s really good hands. Everybody has a smile. It puts smiles on all their faces. It gives them a moment of joy. It just makes them happy, and that’s what it’s all about. And I love to watch it. I love to watch their excitement,” said Lonnette.

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