RUDOLPH, Ohio — The little town of Rudolph is basking in the glow of red-nosed reindeer again this year.
For the past 26 years the tiny village south of Bowling Green in Wood County pays homage to the most famous reindeer of all, little Rudolph, as the two room post office cancels and postmarks thousands of letters and cards from all over the country with the special "Rudolph" postmark.
This year, it's estimated that the volunteers who handle the crush of mail will hand stamp about 75,000 pieces of mail. Many are destined for locations around the world, and many are sent to the post office from around the nation to get the coveted postmark. In fact, Kate Kamphuis, the Bowling Green regional Postmaster who is in charge of the Rudolph P.O. says they get people who drive to Wood County from as far away as Utah this year. One family drove from Atlanta just last week.
Charlotte Lamb who has been stationed at the rural post office says it's not unusual to get people making the pilgrimage from Michigan or Columbus or Cleveland just to make sure they get their holiday mail emblazoned with the special stamp.
The practice started back in 1993 and now this small town on a rural crossroads has become world famous.
"It gets really busy around here this time of year," said Lamb, who has been the familiar and friendly clerk at the window for 17 years.
She keeps cookies for customers and a pot of coffee for those who stop by with their bags and boxes of letters.
She says her favorite part of this holiday ritual is getting to meet so many people who tell her how far they have driven, or how much the postmarks mean to them. "It's a tradition now for many families".