Clarita hosts Wagon Train event to boost tourism

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CLARITA, OK -- Many local drivers will see the sign for the small town of Clarita, Oklahoma while driving on State Highway 48 but few actually stop to drive through it.

With a population of less than 50 people Clarita, Oklahoma hasn't been a big tourist attraction in recent years but one resident is working to change that.

Winston Rice and other members of the community have organized a Wagon Train ride through Clarita to bring in more visitors and experience a little bit of history.

Rice said, "We want to create the old days pretty much. So we're trying to get known as kind of like a field of dreams type thing. They come back and feel comfortable when they get here."

Rice says the Wagon Train event is hosted yearly in order to help raise funds for some of the town's local restoration projects.

Rice has restored several buildings over the years to draw more visitors and says this year's profits will go towards the restoration of General Mule's cabin.

Rice said, "It's part of our past and we wanted to get it in the town and restore it and the guy is quite colorful. He was a scout for General Custer and ended up settling here and lived here."

Rice says the event has brought in several hundred visitors over the past few years and those who ride say it adds to the "olden days" experience.

Bob Bratcher said, "We're trying to preserve our old ways that come up from our heritage and you know just keep it from dying down."

Loretta Owens said, "You get to see what God has given us riding 4 miles an hour down the road and not have the fast pace when you're at home working and going back and forth to jobs."

Wagon rides are going on all weekend and free to the public and you can buy a barbeque meal each night as well.