With all the more 'serious' events that happens during Anchorage's Fur Rendezvous, 'Running with the Reindeer' is a pure outlet for fun. This is only the fourth year they've done it, but it seems to be enormously popular. Not to mention that it is a huge fundraiser for Toys for Tots or some other very very very good cause.
The premise is - they get a bunch of non-feral (i.e. not wild) reindeer, walking them down opposite their feed trailers and let people start basically a 100-yard dash, give the humans a few seconds lead start and then let the reindeer loose. And let the "chaos" ensue.
What could go wrong with this premise? And I knew I had to try my hardest to be there to see it in person. Just to say I was there. And I was glad I was.
One of the more serious parts of the entire event, is that there was an entire COMPANY of soldiers (I'm feeling guilty for not remembering which company exactly it was) but what I do remember, is that they'd been somewhere very dangerous and they had returned a few days previous and they returned incredibly intact. Out of the company of 100, only 6 were injured and none of them fatally. That's a great feat and they paraded down the entire 'race track' from finish line to starting line and the crowd roared in their approval and celebration.
I think that a batch of recruits were sworn in at the start line (I was a little too far away to hear it un-amplified) and then, that lucky full company got to be the first to run with the reindeer. And let me tell you, that was pretty priceless:
Then they let the men's group run. There were several VERY CRAZY and likely drunk men who were running in boots and boxer shorts (it was seven degrees Farenheit out). And I think several of them were military. And the emcee (a local radio host) just loved torturing them by making them do push-ups in the snow while everyone waited for the reindeer to be escorted back to the starting line.
Here are some of the crazy men:
There was this guy who was running with puppets (oven mitts) on his hands:
And then the woman ran - can you tell costumes were a theme?
And you'd never know who you might find in the crowd:
Some of the reindeer even had antler cams:
All in all, it was a very funny event - plus I had the chance to see reindeer up close and later, even got my picture taken with one.
But nothing beats the sight of a reindeer running down the street in downtown Anchorage: