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By Carmen Ensinger
Christmas just isn’t Christmas in Greene County if one doesn’t get their picture taken in a sleigh with one of Ed Nolen’s reindeer at the helm.
But this year things might be a little different as Nolen has decided to hang up his reindeer reins and retire from the reindeer business. He made the announcement on social media, announcing that he would be selling his business to friends in Kampsville, Mike and Tammy Herren, who will continue to do a great job.
“After 30 years in the reindeer business and hundreds of great customers, friends and Santa’s we have met over these many years, we have decided to retire from the reindeer business,” Nolan said. “This was not an easy decision to make. My mother, Shirley, has helped me with all of the bookings and everything else and is now in her 80’s and needs time off and she definitely deserves it. I never would have made it without her help and the help of many others along the way.”
Nolan said contrary to popular belief, having a reindeer business is not an easy job.
“Everyone wants the reindeer on the same weekend and there just isn’t enough weekends to get them all in,” he said. “We did keep one reindeer, our old white girl, to stay at Haypress Falls. She is in her 20’s and has been a part of our family for all of those years and will live out the rest of her life there. She has put a smile on a lot of faces during her many years with us and will continue to do so at Haypress Falls.”
Haypress Falls, owned by Denny and Sherry Vetter, is also home to the rest of the animals which can be seen wherever Nolan’s Petting Zoo is set up. Don’t worry, Nolan said he isn’t giving up the petting zoo.
“We are still accepting bookings for the petting zoo,” he said. “I can’t retire completely. I do, however, want to take this opportunity to thank two very special people in my life who have helped make this all happen – Denny and Sherry Vetter. They are two really great people.”
Nolan said the reindeer’s new owners are friends of his and that they will do a great job, just as he hopes he has done for the past 30 years.
“Please give them a call to book the reindeer for your event at 573-406-8206,” he said. “We will still be accepting bookings for the petting zoo at 217-370-5602. We just want to thank everyone that have been in it for the long run with us in any way with the reindeer. We have made lots of great memories.”