LEAVENWORTH — “Up on the the housetop, click on, click on, click on,” goes a basic Christmas track, written by Benjamin Hanby.
However that wasn’t Saint Nick making the click noises, mentioned Erika Bowie, common supervisor of the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, to a bunch of fifty on Christmas Eve. It was a reindeer alerting the remainder of the herd to their location.
Locals and vacationers from Washington and throughout the nation have been shopping for up tickets for the reindeer attraction. The recognition of the family-owned reindeer farm in Leavenworth has elevated exponentially since opening in 2016.
“Once we received reindeer, we thought we’d simply take them to retirement houses for Christmas or to varsities for training. We didn’t know we’d open our farm to the general public,” Bowie mentioned.
In 2014, Bowie’s mother and father Kari and Hans Andersen established the reindeer farm. Now it’s operated by three generations of their household. Bowie’s three siblings and her personal kids work on the farm, too.
Sooner or later in 2016, when visitors to get into Leavenworth was backed up, Bowie mentioned her household put an indication studying “Meet our reindeer” subsequent to the visitors. She mentioned round 300 folks confirmed up on the farm that day, which made them consider that the farm may very well be a profitable enterprise.
“We name it an journey of a lifetime, as a result of we get to hang around with the animals we love each day and share them with folks from all around the world,” Bowie mentioned.
Bowie estimated that they had round 10,000 guests that first Christmas season. The farm will get about 1,500 guests a day and he or she expects they may attain 100,000 by the tip of this Christmas season.
Bowie recommends guests make reservations at the least two months prematurely, year-round.
On the Christmas Eve farm tour Saturday have been Erich and Kerry Jurges from Wenatchee, with their kids Ben, 5, and Cora, 3. They mentioned that visiting the farm yearly has turn out to be a brand new household custom. The Jurgeses mentioned they bought their reservation in the summertime once they noticed a sale.
Michael and Emily Bingham got here from Lynchburg, Virginia, to spend Christmas with their prolonged household in Leavenworth. Of their group of 19 have been relations from Washington and Montana.
The Binghams mentioned visiting the farm on Christmas Eve felt particular. Their group was capable of make reservations in October.
Visiting from Minnesota have been Chris Czech and his household of 4, who have been in Leavenworth for the primary time for a Christmas trip. They researched Christmas cities all around the nation and selected Leavenworth. They have been excited to go to the reindeer farm after studying about it, however tickets have been bought out. Czech mentioned he saved checking the web site for any final minute availability, then noticed his household’s probability to get on the farm when reservations opened.
“We’re actually honored to be a part of folks’s vacation traditions,” Bowie mentioned. She added the farm is year-round and within the spring they’re anticipating new child reindeer.
To draw extra folks from all around the nation, Bowie mentioned the farm is on the brink of construct a dome to play a 360-degree projection present that offers guests an expertise with reindeer within the animals’ native Nordic homeland.
“When you search for on-line, the most well-liked reindeer expertise on this planet is to go to Tromso, Norway, and consider the northern lights and meet reindeer herds and meet conventional Sami households that also herd reindeer like they’ve for hundreds of years,” Bowie mentioned .
Bowie mentioned she received the dome thought when visiting The Maui Ocean Middle and went to a 360-degree present about whales. She mentioned she began doing analysis about firms that make projection domes and has been working with engineers to develop a dome on the farm. She’s additionally renting digital camera gear from Disney Pixar to movie reindeer herds in Norway and the northern lights, to be projected contained in the dome.
Bowie is anticipating the dome to be in-built summer season 2023. She’s going to meet with Chelan County Neighborhood Improvement in January to acquire permits.
“We will have northern lights, individuals are going to have reindeer herds run round them in 360, particular results with snow coming down and the scent of pine bushes and extra, it’ll be epic,” Bowie mentioned.