Reining in the holidays in Ridgefield

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People lined the sides of Pioneer Street in Ridgefield for the 20th Anniversary of Hometown Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 7. An Ugly Sweater Fun Run kicked off the day of festivities at 9 a.m.

Following an award for “Ugliest Sweater,” community members could walk the booths of the Ridgefield Farmers Market, listen to the Ridgefield High School band and choir perform their favorite Christmas songs and see some live reindeer.

“I just think reindeer are so magical,” said Sophia McKee, of Reindeer Express. “They’re super friendly and kind of like a dog.”

McKee has been with Reindeer Express for a little over two years and got into the business because she was curious about raising her own reindeer. 

“I told the owner, Ed (Benhardt), that I was interested in getting more involved with the reindeer,” she said, explaining how Benhardt let her travel around with the reindeer to “get her feet wet” in the reindeer industry. 

Now, McKee finds herself loving reindeer more and more every day. 

“They’ve been domesticated nearly as long as dogs have so they’re really a lot like a dog,” she said. “Victor here (the smaller of the two reindeer) was raised in a living room so he loves people.” 

McKee said Benhardt has been raising reindeer for over 20 years and his business, Reindeer Express, supplies a lot of the reindeer for Washington state. Families gathered around as 7-year-old reindeer Bunny showed off her antlers and 7-month-old Victor asked for pets all afternoon long. 

After looking at the reindeer, families took a stroll over to the Ridgefield Community Library for a used book sale, hot cider and cookies. Santa arrived at the Old Liberty Theater at noon for photos, a meet and greet and list sharing. 

The community Christmas Tree at Overlook Park was lit around 4:30 p.m.

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