A homecoming, Alaska style
March 10, 2011
- Alaska sappers run with reindeer
- City welcomes troops home from Afghanistan
ANCHORAGE -- Soldiers from the 23rd Engineer Company (Sapper), 6th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, just back from Afghanistan, got an Alaskan welcome home March 5 during the city's three-day Fur Rendezvous festival.
The troops, who returned from a yearlong deployment Feb. 25, took part in the Running of the Reindeer. The run is an annual highlight of the Fur Rondy, as the festival is more commonly known here.
The event also served as a backdrop for 3rd MEB Commander Col. Barry K. Williams to enlist 20 new Soldiers into the Army and re-enlist 10 U.S. Army Alaska Soldiers from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
The annual winter festival started here in 1935 to coincide with the time miners and trappers came to town with their winter's yield.
Called the "largest winter festival in North America", it now attracts visitors from around the world to participate in activities such as snow sculpting, sled dog racing, a carnival, a parade, the Miners and Trappers Ball, car racing and the Running of the Reindeer, an arctic variant of Pamplona, Spain's Running of the Bulls, with domesticated caribou in place of bovines.