Santa’s workshop isn’t actually in the North Pole—it’s in Yiwu, China, where 60 percent of the world’s Christmas items are produced. As The Guardianreports, the city just outside of Shanghai is home to 600 factories, which assemble mass quantities of festive baubles, fuzzy Santa hats, and every other imaginable Yuletide decoration or accessory.
The items are sold in the local Yiwu International Trade Market, which is the “world’s largest small commodity wholesale market,” and the market exports the holiday goods across the world. Eventually, some of them land on the shelves of local retailers near you.
Over the past few years, Yiwu International Trade Market has faced competition from online retailers like Alibaba and Made In China, and the e-commerce giants now have the upper hand. Still, the demand for Yiwu’s Christmas merchandise remains high domestically. According to TheGuardian, Chinese residents are starting to celebrate the holiday.
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and gave a speech for the ages, delivering the oratorical masterpiece "I Have a Dream" to nearly 250,000 people.
When he was done, King stepped away from the podium, folded his speech, and found himself standing in front of George Raveling, a former Villanova basketball player who, along with his friend Warren Wilson, had been asked to provide extra security around Dr. King while he was speaking. "We were both tall, gangly guys," Raveling toldTIME in 2003. "We didn't know what we were doing but we certainly made for a good appearance."
Moved by the speech, Raveling saw the folded papers in King’s hands and asked if he could have them. King gave the young volunteer the speech without hesitation, and that was that.
“At no time do I remember thinking, ‘Wow, we got this historic document,’” Raveling toldSports Illustrated in 2015. Not realizing he was holding what would become an important piece of history in his hands, Raveling went home and stuck the three sheets of paper into a Harry Truman biography for safekeeping. They sat there for nearly two decades while Raveling developed an impressive career coaching NCAA men’s basketball.
In 1984, he had recently taken over as the head coach at the University of Iowa and was chatting with Bob Denney of the Cedar Rapids Gazette when Denney brought up the March on Washington. That's when Raveling dropped the bomb: “You know, I’ve got a copy of that speech," he said, and dug it out of the Truman book. After writing an article about Raveling's connection, the reporter had the speech professionally framed for the coach.
Though he displayed the framed speech in his house for a few years, Raveling began to realize the value of the piece and moved it to a bank vault in Los Angeles. Though he has received offers for King’s speech—one collector wanted to purchase the speech for $3 million in 2014—Raveling has turned them all down. He has been in talks with various museums and universities and hopes to put the speech on display in the future, but for now, he cherishes having it in his possession.
“That to me is something I’ll always be able to look back and say I was there,” Raveling said in the original Cedar Rapids Gazette article. “And not only out there in that arena of people, but to be within touching distance of him. That’s like when you’re 80 or 90 years old you can look back and say ‘I was in touching distance of Abraham Lincoln when he made the Gettysburg Address.’"
“I have no idea why I even asked him for the speech,” Raveling, now CEO of Coaching for Success, has said. “But I’m sure glad that I did.”
Each year, Blue Bell Creamery celebrates Mardi Gras with a limited-edition ice cream that captures the spirit of the festival. Now, for the first time, the once-regional flavor will be available wherever Blue Bell ice cream is sold, KXXV reports.
Blue Bell debuted Mardi Gras King Cake in 2012, and for years it could only be found in places like Louisiana and Alabama. Exclusively available in the months leading up to Mardi Gras, or Shrove Tuesday, the ice cream has become a seasonal favorite in that part of the country. Blue Bell recently announced it's expanding the flavor in response to nationwide interest to cover its entire distribution area in the southern U.S.
Mardi Gras King Cake combines two old Blue Bell flavors: Mardi Gras, which came out in 2004, and King Cake, which launched in 2006. It features pastry pieces, cream cheese swirls, and colorful sprinkles in cinnamon cake-flavored ice cream. (The traditional plastic baby is missing from this version).
Half-gallons of Blue Bell's Mardi Gras King Cake ice cream can be found in stores starting the first week of 2019.