A bunch of adventure-seeking - some might say crazy - men and women decide to race across Alaska in the winter by dog sled, and at the end of the 1,163-mile trail, Nome, Alaska, goes wild.
"Iditarod can be equated to our Mardi Gras," Nome Mayor John Handeland said.Bars stay open until 5 a.m., golfers play on the Bering Sea ice; swimmers swim one lap - inside - for every mile of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race trail; there's a big reindeer meat potluck, and general carousing, much of it outside - all designed to treat the cabin fever that sets in after six months of winter cold and darkness.
Some of the things they do in Nome in March, as Iditarod mushers struggle and straggle toward the Front Street finish line, are anything but normal, everyday activities in this Gold Rush town of 4,400 people.
Add a wind chill down to 70 below zero and some of what
Nomeites did to celebrate the end of Iditarod is downright absurd, even chilling.
Take the Bering Sea Ice Golf Classic, a six-hole tournament played right on the frozen sea behind the bars that line Front Street, the main drag where the mushers finish the sled dog marathon. Sunday, 45 golfers did their best to hit bright orange golf balls into flagged coffee cans stuck into the ice.
Nome also stages a "Meet the Mushers" gathering for regular folks to ask the sled dog drivers how they do what they do - or why - and get autographs.