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Reindeer Raise Holiday Spirits

Forks Township farm features five reindeer as a holiday tourist attraction.

You know Donner and Blitzen...

Well how about Ginger, Clarise and Gus?

They may not be in Santa's sled, but on a farm in Forks Township, five reindeer have become one of the Christmas holiday's hottest attractions.

At the Z Arch Barn Farm, an upstart Christmas tree farm, the reindeer are just as popular as the pre-cut Fraiser and Douglas fir Christmas trees that owner Vince Zarate has on display on Klein Road.

He built a barn over the past year and turned it into a place to sell Christmas trees in late November, opening for business on Black Friday.

But the reindeer are the stars of this show.

Zarate said he acquired three of them from a breeder in New York and the other two from another one in Wisconsin.

The reindeer are very friendly for the most part, running up to the fence as they see people.

Zarate said the adult females can weigh between 150 and 350 pounds while the males can near 500 pounds.

That would be close to Gus, who pops out of his own cage, not too thrilled to be getting a visitor on this weekday afternoon.

Zarate said you can see it in the reindeer's eyes, and Gus suddenly starts thrashing his antlers against the fence wiring.

Usually, most visitors come on the weekend where they get to see the reindeer, check out the trees and go into the barn, which is decorated for Christmas and offers professional photos of Santa on his sleigh.

The farm on 10 Klein Road is open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk until Dec. 24. For more information, call 610-253-4405.

"People enjoy themselves," Zarate said. "I like to see the happiness on their faces around Christmas. They're having fun."

Reindeer were imported to Alaska from Russia in the 1800s.

They have very broad hooves, designed for walking on snow and stomachs similar to cows. Both males and females have antlers. And each reindeer can pull twice their weight, making them ideal for Santa's sleigh.

Yvonne Osmun December 10, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I've been there. Love the reindeer, got my wreath. Great place to visit.
rick troxell December 10, 2012 at 09:15 PM
This is really nice. had the grand-daughter there. The Santa Clause and the sleigh he is in for pictures are really beautiful and the trees and gifts for sale are nice as well. There is no entrance charge and the reindeer really capture the kids attention. This gentleman farmer has done an excellent job for the season.
Veronica Charles December 11, 2012 at 02:17 PM
This place is beautiful! It will definitely be a new family tradition to visit each year. We went on a weekend when Santa was there, they were selling trees, hot dogs-cocoa-cupcakes. Santa had a looooong conversation with high fives with my kids. I loved every minute. You kids cant be loud or out of control wild near the reindeer, i think its mating season and they are cranky but "nice list" kids love seeing the reindeer and i loved the christmas magic there !

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