This coming Sunday the Granite Falls Historical Society will offer families the opportunity to have their pictures taken with not just a Santa, but real live reindeer at the Andrew J. Volstead House Museum.
“It’s not very often that we have real live reindeer come to Granite Falls,” says Granite Falls Historical Society Member Terri Dinesen. “Hopefully this is just a really enjoyable authentic experience where kids can come sit on Santa’s lap in a beautiful home setting and visit with a few of his reindeer.”
It’s been five years since the historical society has hosted reindeer at the Volstead House. For those unaware, reindeer and their very incorporation into the Christmas story, has a connection to Granite Falls that the historical society seeks to highlight through the event.
“Many people aren’t aware that Laura Volstead, the only daughter to Andrew Volstead, was married to Carl Lomen, an Alaskan businessman who came to be known as the Reindeer King,” said Dinesen.
Carl’s nickname stems from his ownership of the largest reindeer herd in Alaska, which he owned with his brother Alfred. Working in tandem with Macy’s department store beginning in 1926, the Lomens helped to initiate and propagate much of the North American Christmas tradition by establishing annual Christmas parades featuring Santa’s sleigh being pulled by reindeer.
The reindeer’s presence in parades proved successful in helping the brothers to market the meat and the fur of their herd. To that end, the brothers also wrote pretend children’s Christmas letters that inquired about Santa and his reindeer that were published in newspapers throughout the country.
Further information will be available onsite Sunday to individuals interested in learning more about the Reindeer King. The event is scheduled to run from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Volstead House.
Inside the museum, the Historical Society will provide cookies, coloring activities and an opportunity for youngsters to meet Santa. In addition, 2013 Historical Society Christmas ornaments will be on sale along with a few other novelties, such as bendable antlers.
Outside, two reindeer will be available for viewing and picture taking. Attendees will have the choice of shooting their own pictures or employing the professional photography taking skills of Frozen in Time Photography.
According to Dinesen the animals are very gentle but at least one of the reindeer on site, Yukon, “has huge antlers” that she thinks will be sure to impress audiences.