Merry Christmas to all! Today we're off to visit North Pole
Those of you who thought there's only one North Pole were mistaken. Besides the North Pole at the top of our globe, where Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves and reindeer live, there's a second North Pole -- a small community not far from Fairbanks. So this North Pole is a little south of the Arctic Circle.
The name "North Pole" was picked by residents of the Alaska community in 1953. They hoped a toy company might built a factory in town such that they could label their toys as being made at the "North Pole". That dream never materialized, but their town developed a interesting Christmas-related character.
The biggest tourist attraction in North Pole is "Santa Claus House", a large gift shop just off the Richardson Highway which started as a simple trading post. There's a huge 42 ft tall fiberglass statue of St Nick outside of Santa Claus House, so it's not a hard stop to spot.
Since it's inception, the shop has relocated and enlarged and today is sells Christmas related things year round. A sampling of their merchandise and displays is posted at the end of this blog.
The store has a thriving business in dealing with mail to and from the "North Pole". Many people like to have mail sent to their children with a postal mark from "North Pole".
At Christmas there are live reindeer at the store and Santa hangs out there.
Beyond the store, the North Pole community is big into celebrating Christmas. Many of the town's street names have Christmas-themed names (e.g. Santa Claus Lane, Kris Kringle Drive), and the city lights up during the holidays. The town has a Winter Festival including fireworks, a candle lighting ceremony, an ice carving festival and a community tree lighting.
Finally,a quick walk around the inside of Santa Claus House: