Up on the roof top

FURRY VISITOR: First-grade students from Evart Elementary School pet Little Prancer, an eight-month-old reindeer from Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm in Clare. The reindeer visited the students on Dec. 19. (Herald Review photos/Sarah Neubecker)
FURRY VISITOR: First-grade students from Evart Elementary School pet Little Prancer, an eight-month-old reindeer from Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm in Clare. The reindeer visited the students on Dec. 19. (Herald Review photos/Sarah Neubecker)

Reindeer make a special holiday visit to Evart Elementary

EVART — With wide eyes, winter clothing and questions of Rudolph’s whereabouts, Evart Elementary students met a pair of Santa’s flying helpers last week. On Dec. 19, reindeer and their owners from Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farm in Clare visited the school to give students a glimpse into the lives of the holiday creatures. In a pen on the school’s front lawn, students could visit Holly, a four-year-old reindeer, and Little Prancer, an eight-month-old reindeer, while owner Dave Aldrich shared little-known facts about the animals with students from kindergarten through fourth grade. “They have really big feet to walk on snow and they come from places where it is 50 and 60 degrees below zero,” Aldrich told students. “Reindeer came from Scandavian countries and they’re intelligent. Like horses, they know their own name.” After petting and learning about the reindeer, students visited Santa Claus, who passed out candy and talked with students about their Christmas lists. The event was sponsored by Evart Mayor Eric Schmidt, Shakers Party Store and Deli, Affordable Prints, Unit Assistance and White Law Office. Schmidt, who was instrumental in bringing the guests to the school, first learned about the reindeer when helping plan the city’s annual Christmas in a Small Town celebration. “We were looking for some reindeer, got on the Internet and found they were right here in Clare,” Schmidt said. “So we brought them to Christmas in a Small Town.” During the Christmas season, reindeer from Rooftop Landing Reindeer make many special appearances in parades and at school and community events. This month alone, the business will showcase their reindeer at 110 different events. The business has 12 reindeer that travel, and a total of 17 on the farm. It is one of two traveling reindeer companies in the state. The summer months are spent training the animals to remain content while surrounded by large groups of people. “We go to high schools and colleges too,” Aldrich said. “We just try to give people an idea of how reindeer are different from the animals they see every day.”