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Greetings from Leavenworth, Washington

Residents of Leavenworth, Washington, share what’s special about their hometown and why it attracts many thousands of visitors each year who are drawn to its Alpine atmosphere during the Christmas season.


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Rob: Hi Guideposts. I’m Rob.

Nancy: And I’m Nancy.

Rob: We’re the Johnsons in Leavenworth, Washington at the Enzian Inn.

Arlene: Hello, Guideposts. My name is Arlene Wagner and I’m here at the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum.

Rob: So the town became a Christmas theme town partly because it looks like a Norman Rockwell town inside of a snow globe. People just love to come here and enjoy the snow. And we usually do have snow on Christmas Lighting.

Nancy: We’re not too far from Seattle or Spokane. It’s a quick beautiful drive, but you feel like your worlds away.

Arlene: The Nutcracker Museum opened its doors in 1995. And I have been in charge of it ever since then. It started with a collection that my husband and I had, and it was so popular with the visitors that we thought we would like to have it as a museum so that everyone could enjoy it.

Nancy: My faith has had a part in building the Christmas theme in Leavenworth in that the church that we go to has had a living Nativity going on for at least 20 years. People dressed up like Joseph and Mary, shepherds, animals. We had a baby Jesus, and actually we use a real live baby every year. So each Christmas lighting then we have a living Nativity downtown. And so tens of thousands of people get to see that during the Christmas season.

Arlene: We have over 7,000 nutcrackers in the museum. People are always asking me which is my favorite. There is no way I could pick out just one.

Rob: So the Alphorn which we see behind me here, actually it started as a way of communication in the Alps. And because the mountains are so echoe-y and this was centuries ago, if they were being attacked, a small village was attacked or there was a fire. They had certain tones and little rhythms that they would play, given what was happening. We have people that are part of the Enzian family here, and they blow a horn every morning. It will vary, but usually 8:15 to 9:15 every day. And you can hear it throughout the whole town.

Arlene: Let me introduce you to Karl. This is the museum mascot that was carved by Karl Rappl of Oberammergau, Germany. This nutcracker was carved in Norway about 1700. It has a delightful crown that came unbroken. However, he lost his feet a long time ago.

Nancy: It’s kind of funny when you walk downtown and you see people in town that are visiting, probably 70% of them are holding hands. So I think it kind of brings families together and people together. And I kind of think that’s the atmosphere that we have here in town.

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