Better Watch Out: Thousands of naughty Santas headed for NYC on Saturday

December 13, 2012 Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Brace yourself: Santacon – an event where thousands of tipsy, fully-costumed Santas throng the streets – is hitting the city this Saturday, December 15.

Part pub crawl, part charity event and all nonsense, Santacon (also spelled SantaCon) originated in Brooklyn in 1998 and has grown since then to epic proportions.

Santacon 2012’s organizers say that last year’s crowds were so frightfully huge– roughly 20,00 Santas, sugar plum fairies and assorted reindeer– that Santacon 2011 “resulted in overcrowding, traffic problems, trash problems, and traumatized New Yorkers.”

This year things are going to be different, according to the group’s spokesperson “Blitzen,” who promises (on the group’s PG-13 website) to make things easier for people who live in Santa-bombed neighborhoods.

In the past, the bar-studded route was a closely held secret. This year, Santacon has posted the route in advance so participants can enjoy the day without having to travel en masse.

The event will start off at Pier 84 in Manhattan, then flow through vast swaths of midtown bowling alleys, gentlemen’s clubs and drinking establishments. Following that, the Santas head to various sites in the East Village, and then over the bridge to Williamsburg.

Arielle, a bartender at the Tempest Bar at 407 8th Avenue in Manhattan, an official Santacon destination this year, told the Brooklyn Eagle she was “really excited” about the happening.

“It’s loads of fun. There’s going to be lots of candy canes and lots of costumes. Last year we weren’t even on the trail and we got around 200 Santas,” she said.

Arielle said she wasn’t worried about being inundated with Santas. “I can handle a full bar – I’m more than prepared,” she said. “I hope they bring some Christmas cheer.”

In spite of innkeepers’ high hopes, there are some who say that the popularity of Santacon marks the beginning of its demise.

After hearing stories about inebriated Santas vomiting on bystanders and a coworker being kissed against her will by a drunk man dressed as a Christmas tree, John Del Signore at the Gothamist blog just wants Santacon to go away already.

“That’s it, we’ve had it with SantaCon,” he wrote after last year’s debauch. “Over the years, this annual drunken sh**show has steadily devolved from cleverly subversive to barely tolerable to “time to lock yourself in your apartment for the day.”

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