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SANTACON is an annual pub crawl in which people dressed in Santa Claus costumes or as other Christmas
Christmas
characters parade in several cities around the world.

A December 2014 cover story in the Village Voice
Village Voice
recounted how SantaCon
SantaCon
had evolved from "joyful performance art" that originated in San Francisco to a "reviled bar crawl" of drunken brawling, vandalism, and disorder in New York City
New York City
and elsewhere, resulting in fierce community resistance and disavowals from the originators of the event.

CONTENTS

* 1 Origins

* 2 Current SantaCon
SantaCon
venues

* 2.1 New York City
New York City
* 2.2 Other cities

* 3 See also * 4 References * 5 External links

ORIGINS

In San Francisco, 2014

SantaCon
SantaCon
began in San Francisco in 1994, inspired by a Mother Jones article on the Danish activist theatre group Solvognen. In 1974, the group gathered dozens of "Santas" in Copenhagen to hand out items from the shelves of a department store to customers as “presents” before they were arrested. Staged by a local prankster group, the Cacophony Society , that had grown out of the earlier Suicide Club , as street theater , the aim was to make fun of Christmas
Christmas
and the rampant consumerism associated with the holiday. Originally called Santarchy and influenced by the surrealist movement, Discordianism , and other subversive art currents, it was not intended to be a recurrent event.

SantaCon
SantaCon
came to Portland in 1996 to Seattle in 1997, and to Los Angeles and New York in 1998, when a "young San Franciscan strapped on a fake white beard, donned a $12 red suit, and led 200 Santas as they went caroling up Fifth Avenue in Manhattan," to the delight of passersby. It has since evolved and spread to 44 countries around the world, with varying versions and interpretations. Events for 2013 were scheduled in 300 cities, including New York City
New York City
, London
London
, Vancouver
Vancouver
, Belfast
Belfast
, and Moscow
Moscow
. The New York SantaCon
SantaCon
is the largest, with an estimated 30,000 people participating in 2012. Other events were much smaller and more subdued, with 30 participating in Spokane, Washington .

It has been variously also known as Santarchy, Santa Rampage, the Red Menace, and Santapalooza.

CURRENT SANTACON VENUES

NEW YORK CITY

Play media In New York City, 2011. (20-second video)

In New York City, by far the largest SantaCon
SantaCon
venue, the event has been criticized for widespread drunkenness and sporadic violence. At a 2011 community board meeting in lower Manhattan
Manhattan
, residents complained that their neighborhood had been "terrorized" by SantaCon participants. In an article on the 2011 SantaCon, Gothamist called SantaCon
SantaCon
an "annual drunken shitshow" that "has steadily devolved from cleverly subversive to barely tolerable to 'time to lock yourself in your apartment for the day.' "

During the New York City
New York City
SantaCon
SantaCon
in 2012, participants "left a trail of trouble" through Hell\'s Kitchen , midtown Manhattan
Manhattan
, the East Village , and Williamsburg . Residents complained revelers vomited and urinated in the street and fought with each other. In New York City, one source of tension with residents was that most of the revelers come to the event from outside the city.

Official organizers in 2013 described it as “a nonsensical Santa Claus convention that happens once a year for absolutely no reason”, saying on their website that $60,000 was raised that year for New York charities, and that participants donated about 6,850 pounds of canned food to City Harvest. That year, The New York Times
The New York Times
described the event as "a daylong bar crawl that begins with good cheer and, for many, inevitably ends in a blurry, booze-soaked haze."

Drunken behavior in 2013 disrupted parts of Manhattan
Manhattan
and Brooklyn
Brooklyn
, and led to calls for the event to be ended and for participant misbehavior to be curbed. The event is monitored and supported by the New York City
New York City
Police Department. But community opposition has increased, as SantaCon
SantaCon
evolved into what The Village Voice
Village Voice
described as "a day-long spectacle of public inebriation somewhere between a low-rent Mardi Gras and a drunken fraternity party." Revelers in New York City
New York City
in 2008

An op-ed in The New York Times
The New York Times
on the eve of the 2013 SantaCon criticized it for "sexism, drunkenness, xenophobia, homophobia and enough incidents of public vomiting and urination to fill an infinite dunk tank," and said it "contributes absolutely zero value – cultural, artistic, aesthetic, diversionary, culinary or political – to its host neighborhood. Quite simply, SantaCon
SantaCon
is a parasite."

Business Insider called the 2013 event a "dreaded annual event where frat house expats" wreak havoc on the city "dressed as the jolly holiday icon." A NYPD lieutenant in Hell’s Kitchen sent an open letter to local taverns in 2013 which said, “Having thousands of intoxicated partygoers roam the streets urinating, littering, vomiting and vandalizing will not be tolerated in our neighborhood.” On the Lower East Side
Lower East Side
of Manhattan, residents posted notices telling SantaCon
SantaCon
participants to stay away, saying “Alcohol Soaked Father Christmas-themed flash mob not welcome here. Take your body fluids and public intoxication elsewhere.” The Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
reported that "some see as a way for people who live in the suburbs to come to the city and ruin the weekend."

Prior to the 2013 SantaCon, city authorities demanded advance notice of the route of the pub crawl. The event was diverted from the Lower East Side and Midtown Manhattan
Midtown Manhattan
because of complaints by residents, but went through East Village and parts of Brooklyn
Brooklyn
as originally planned. During the 2013 SantaCon
SantaCon
in New York City, the Long Island Rail Road , Metro-North Railroad
Metro-North Railroad
and New Jersey Transit
New Jersey Transit
banned alcohol consumption on their trains for 24 hours. The 2013 SantaCon
SantaCon
was more subdued than previous ones not only due to the alcohol ban on trains, but also an increased police presence, poor weather, and advance coordination with authorities. Merchant sign, New York's East Village, November 2015

A SantaCon
SantaCon
organizer said that the group was "very aware of the backlash" and has sought to curb participant misconduct by the use of "helper elves" along the SantaCon
SantaCon
route. There were no arrests at the 2013 SantaCon
SantaCon
in New York City, and far fewer summonses issued. A beefed-up police presence and poor weather were credited with the decrease. Complaints of crowds and public drunkenness continued, and "the Santas would more or less take over all of the East Village — visiting bars that had no affiliation with SantaCon
SantaCon
whatsoever, angering patrons of those establishments who had no interest in being caught up in the debauchery." In 2014, community leaders in Bushwick, Brooklyn
Brooklyn
banded together to block SantaCon
SantaCon
when organizers announced their intent to move the event to that neighborhood. Rafael Espinal , Jr., the city councilman representing Bushwick, urged bars to refrain from participating in the event. A "boycott SantaCon" website was launched by other opponents, and bars said that they would refuse entry to SantaCon
SantaCon
participants. The New York City
New York City
Parks Department refused to issue a permit for use of a local park, leading organizers to cancel plans to have SantaCon
SantaCon
in Bushwick.

After the withdrawal from Bushwick, and opposition from the community board representing the Lower East Side
Lower East Side
and Hell's Kitchen, the 2014 event was rescheduled for December 13 for 32 bars in Midtown Manhattan . Event organizers hired Norman Siegel , a civil rights attorney, to defend their rights to express themselves "within the parameters of the First Amendment." The 2014 SantaCon
SantaCon
coincided with demonstrations in Manhattan
Manhattan
against police brutality sparked by the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases.

Police arrested five participants and handed out 100 summonses during the 2015 Santacon, which took place on Dec. 12. The summonses were for offenses that included carrying an open container, disorderly conduct and public urination. One participant was arrested for assault, one for possession of a weapon and three with drug possession. 2016

In anticipation of the 2016 Santacon, scheduled for Dec. 10, Metro-North Railroad
Metro-North Railroad
banned alcohol on trains and stations. The event was scheduled to take place in Midtown Manhattan
Midtown Manhattan
, the East Village and Flatiron . A hundred summonses were handed out by police but there were no arrests. The New York Daily News
New York Daily News
reported that the pub crawl left "a trail of vomit and destruction throughout the East Village" and that one bar was robbed and vandalized by SantaCon participants.

OTHER CITIES

In Atlanta, 2006

In Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
, the 2014 SantaCon
SantaCon
was organized by the Cacophony Society , which had originated SantaCon
SantaCon
in the city, and sought to recapture event's roots. The Oregonian commented that "while the massively popular New York Santacon made its own bold statement about First Amendment rights Saturday, the Portland Santacon's statement went back to the charmingly subversive attitude that started it all."

SEE ALSO

* Pub crawl
Pub crawl

REFERENCES

* ^ "Santas Swarm Midtown For Annual SantaCon
SantaCon
Pub Crawl". CBSNew York. 13 December 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014. * ^ A B C "Pub-crawl Santas: Vancouver
Vancouver
joins in the Christmas spirit with SantaCon
SantaCon
2013". The Province (Canada.com). 14 December 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013. * ^ A B C D E F G Hoffman, Meredith (9 December 2014). "Ho, Ho, Bro: How SantaCon
SantaCon
Went From Joyful Performance Art to Reviled Bar Crawl". The Village Voice. Retrieved 13 December 2014. * ^ Donaldson James, Susan (December 11, 2009). "Santa Con: Kringle Chaos is Coming to Town". ABC News. Retrieved December 18, 2011. * ^ A B C D E F G Santora, Marc (13 December 2013). "Naughty or Nice? Not Everyone Is Jolly About SantaCon
SantaCon
Coming to Town". The New York Times . Retrieved 14 December 2013. * ^ A B David Freedlander (December 12, 2014). "Before the Bros, SantaCon
SantaCon
Was as an Anti-Corporate Protest". The Daily Beast. * ^ A B Hirsch, Daniel (2009-12-11). "25 Days of Weird Christmas: Santarchy". San Francisco Chronicle. * ^ A B C Gilbert, Jason O. (13 December 2013). "Bring Drunken Santas Under Control". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 December 2013.

* ^ McCabe, Lyndsay (22 November 2013). "NYPD Ask Bar Owners to Refuse to Serve Rowdy SantaCon
SantaCon
Revelers". LongIsland.com. Retrieved 14 December 2013. * ^ Gillespie, Kaitlin (15 December 2013). " SantaCon
SantaCon
Spokane a good night indeed". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 16 December 2013. * ^ Donaldson James, Susan (11 December 2009). "Santa Con: Kringle Chaos is Coming to Town". ABC News. Retrieved 18 December 2011. * ^ Shapiro, Julie (20 December 2011). "Drunken Santas Terrorized Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan
During SantaCon, Locals Say". DNAInfo New York. Retrieved 19 December 2014. * ^ A B Del Signore, John (12 December 2011). "It\'s Time For SantaCon
SantaCon
To Stop". Gothamist. Retrieved 14 December 2013. * ^ A B "Drunk Santas Terrorized City During Seasonal Rampage, Critics Say". DNAInfo New York. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2013. * ^ Tracy, Thomas (4 December 2013). " SantaCon
SantaCon
organizers working with politicians, police to turn naughty event nice". The Daily News. Retrieved 14 December 2013. * ^ Semuels, Alana (13 December 2013). "SantaCon, after last year\'s rowdy event, divides New York City". Lost Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 December 2013. * ^ A B "Naughty or Nice? SantaCon
SantaCon
2013 Storms Manhattan". TIME. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013. * ^ A B Semuels, Alana (14 December 2013). "Annual SantaCon
SantaCon
bar crawl a headache for some New Yorkers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 December 2013. * ^ WNBC-TV Segment on Lower East Side
Lower East Side
Opposition * ^ "The dark side of Father Christmas: SantaCon," The Guardian * ^ " SantaCon
SantaCon
Could Be Awesome, But Here\'s The Core Reason Why It\'s Atrocious," BusinessInsider.com * ^ Video of SantaCon
SantaCon
Brawl, 2013 * ^ Parascandola, Rocco (23 November 2013). "NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly: SantaCon
SantaCon
is a \'peaceful event\' department supports". The Daily News. Retrieved 14 December 2013. * ^ Chung, Jen (24 November 2013). "Ray Kelly Says NYPD Supports Santacon: \'It Makes New York New York\'". Gothamist. Retrieved 14 December 2013. * ^ Moss, Caroline (16 December 2013). "A Bunch Of Santas Got Into A Violent Brawl On An NYC Street Corner This Weekend". Business Insider. Retrieved 16 December 2013. * ^ Stuart, Tessa (14 December 2013). "Like it or Not, SantaCon
SantaCon
is Coming to the East Village, Lower East Side
Lower East Side
& Brooklyn". Village Voice. Retrieved 15 December 2013. * ^ " SantaCon
SantaCon
Nixes Lower East Side
Lower East Side
from Route After Complaints". Channel 4 New York. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013. * ^ Goldensohn, Rosa (14 December 2013). " SantaCon
SantaCon
Takes East Village in Flurry of Crowded Bars and Beer Lines". DNAInfo. Retrieved 15 December 2013. * ^ A B James, Will (15 December 2013). " New York City
New York City
Santas Behaved (Mostly): Snow, Slush and Efforts to Quell the Merriment of SantaCon
SantaCon
Didn\'t Stop the Annual Bar Crawl". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 December 2013. * ^ Fishbein, Rebecca (18 November 2014). " Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Councilmember Urges Bushwick Bars To Boycott SantaCon". Gothamist. Retrieved 13 December 2014. * ^ O'Neill, Natalie (19 November 2014). "5 Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Bars to Boycott \'SantaCon\'". New York Post. Retrieved 13 December 2014. * ^ A B Dai, Serena (19 November 2014). " SantaCon
SantaCon
Will No Longer Take Place in Bushwick, Organizers Say". DNAInfo. Retrieved 13 December 2014. * ^ A B Del Signore, John (10 December 2014). " SantaCon
SantaCon
Hires Famous Civil Rights Lawyer To Defend St. Nicks". Gothamist. Retrieved 13 December 2014. * ^ " New York City
New York City
SantaCon
SantaCon
Bars Revealed, Event to Have "Lowest Possible Impact": Organizers". NBCNewYork.com. WNBC-TV. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2014. * ^ Kuperinsky, Anne (13 December 2014). " SantaCon
SantaCon
2014 collides with Millions March NYC protest". NJ.com. Retrieved 14 December 2014. * ^ Annese, John (14 December 2015). "NYPD arrest 5, hand out 100 summonses during SantaCon". NY Daily News. Retrieved 15 December 2015.

* ^ Juliano, Frank (9 December 2016). "Metro North bans alcohol for SantaCon". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 9 December 2016. * ^ Pereira, Ivan. " SantaCon
SantaCon
aims to stay on nice list this year". am New York (8 December 2016). Retrieved 9 December 2016. * ^ " SantaCon
SantaCon
idiots plunder neighborhood pub during afternoon rampage". NY Daily News. 12 December 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2016.

* ^ Hale, Jamie (13 December 2014). "Finding the true meaning of Santacon: Inside Portland\'s cheeky Santa experience". The Oregonian. Retrieved 15 December 2014.

EXTERNAL LINKS