ANCHORAGE, Alaska – In an homage to the running of the bulls in Spain, visitors to an Alaska winter festival will get the chance to run shoulder-to-shoulder with reindeer.
For the inaugural Running of the Reindeer, about a dozen of the animals will be set loose Feb. 24 in downtown Anchorage and joined by people who will pay $20 to run along.
"I think we'll have to turn people away," Bob Lester, a local radio host who came up the idea, told the Anchorage Daily News.
Officials at the festival, called the Fur Rendezvous, are limiting participation at 500 men and 500 women, who will run with the reindeer separately. So far, about 40 people have signed up.
The man supplying the reindeer said he is more worried about the runners' effect on the reindeer than the other way around.
"The reindeer give me no pause," Tom Williams said. "The people give me pause. If the people start acting subhuman, they might cause the deer to act subhuman," he said.
But his biggest fear is that the reindeer will just be docile.
"I'm afraid the deer are just gonna stand there. It may be a very slow walk, with the animals sticking their noses in people's pockets, looking for something to eat," Williams said.
Reindeer antlers are soft and they cannot gore because they curl inward, Williams said.
He said event organizers should handicap the humans so they are less likely to provoke the animals.
"I think we should make them wear fur bikinis and fur Speedos to even things out," he said.