The Iditarod started because of the diphtheria epidemic that was going around in the town of Nome, Alaska in 1925. So they organized dog teams to race to Nenana to get the medicine-serum so lives could be saved. Once they got the medicine 20 teams passed the medicine from dog team to dog team to get the medicine back to Nome. The medicine was relayed 674 miles in 127.5 hours. The last dog to mush into Nome was Balto and he became the most famous dog in Nome. In New York City there is a statue of Balto in his honor.
Today the event is celebrated with the world famous Iditarod Sled Dog Race. The race starts on the first Saturday of March from Anchorage, Alaska. It is about 1,049 miles from Anchorage to Nome. The first place musher usually arrives in Nome 10-12 days later.
In Nome the event is celebrated with arts and crafts, a reindeer potluck, the Iditarod awards banquet, a chance to meet the mushers, the world's largest basketball tournament, and the Ice Golf Classic.