A new Star prepares for Christmas in downtown Anchorage
Just weeks away from 2019, an Anchorage tradition that dates back to the 1950s is going on strong — "Star the Reindeer."
The first reindeer to live in downtown Anchorage had an all white coat, and was named Snowball, but Star became the traditional name in the 1960s. Seven reindeer have carried on the 'Star' name since the original, but the latest incarnation is the first male reindeer to assume the moniker.
"All of the other deer since the 1950s and 1960s have been female," said Star's owner, Albert Whitehead. "With males, they tend to be a little more rowdy, but I have been pleasantly surprised with this guy. He is so gentle. There's been no change in personality."
Star lives in a secure, covered cage at the corner of I street and West 10th Ave., where he receives visits from curious tourists and community members often.
"A lot of people love to come by and visit, so Star's area is totally secured for his protection. The enclosure is covered and there are security cameras running," Whitehead said.
The newest Star is almost two years old, and came from a reindeer farm in Palmer after losing his mom six weeks after he was born.
"He's been so calm, and he's one of the smarter reindeer I've had. I think he really loves going out and being with people," Whitehead said.
You'll have a chance to meet Star in person during Fur Rondy, the annual 4th of July Parade, or out and about on his regular walks through the neighborhood.