The return of horse and buggy rides in downtown Lake Geneva has not gotten out of the gate as much as organizers had hoped.
Richard Costa, co-owner of Live Horse Entertainment, said business has been hit-or-miss this summer, with ridership hampered by rainy weather early and 90-degree temperatures in mid-July.
On some weekends, the horse and buggy attraction has drawn only one rider.
For next summer, Live Horse Entertainment plans to ask the city’s approval to relocate closer to the Riviera.
“The Riviera has a lot more foot traffic,” Costa said. “People are coming off of the boat rides, and it’s a more populated area.”
Along with his sister, Katherine Farli, Costa this summer brought horse-drawn carriage rides back to downtown Lake Geneva after a five-year absence.
Originally planned every Saturday and Sunday, the rides were based since late May outside of Delaney Street Mercantile, 905 W. Main St.
The cost was $60 for a 25-minute ride.
Beverly Leonard, co-owner of Delaney Street Mercantile, said she has not seen Costa offering rides outside her business for several weeks.
“I haven’t talked to him in awhile,” Leonard said. “I don’t know what happened. Of course, we would still welcome him.”
Costa said he plans to offer the rides for the rest of the summer, depending on the weather.
“As long as the weather stays decent, we will be out there,” he said.
City officials tried to minimize the negative impact on street traffic by directing the buggy away from the center of downtown and instead toward the Maple Park residential area.
Costa said he was pleased with the route.
“There was not a lot of traffic, except for when we had to be on Highway 50 for a little bit,” he said. “We got a lot of complements from passengers.”
Costa said he plans to offer the horse and buggy rides again next summer, but by reservation only.
“That way we would know if we have enough rides to make it worthwhile to come out,” he said.
Leonard said she already has seen brochures indicating that the rides are by reservation only.
Next summer, Costa plans to advertise more to attract more customers.
“When people come to Lake Geneva, they plan their activities several weeks in advance,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know that Lake Geneva has horse carriage rides. So we got to get them to plan a ride for when they come here.”