Whether it’s an annual tradition or a rite of passage for you, SantaCon is almost here again.
This Saturday at 10 a.m., the festive mob will begin their journey at McCarren Park’s Aphalt Football Fields 1 and 2. From Greenpoint, the day-long march of Santas, elves and (more than) a few reindeer will eventually cross the river to the event’s old home turf, the East Village.
The NYTimes got a preview of the route:
“Beginning at 11, they will host parties at the nearby clubs Verboten and the Hall. Midday, they will go to The Delancey and the DL on the Lower East Side. In the late afternoon, they will travel to the East Village, where there will be events at Solas, Bar 13 and at 230 Fifth, near Madison Square Park. For a $10 donation, participants can get into all the SantaCon-sponsored parties, where they pay for their drinks.”
Besides having a full costume (just a hat is just not enough), here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
Make the night last
Organizers are working to change the event’s image from the drunken siege of a neighborhood that SantaCon has been in years past, in an effort to return to its “participatory art” roots rather than a straight-up pub crawl.
They’ve once again partnered with bars that know what they’re signing up for, and the city’s Department of Parks & Rec said its staff and the NYPD were involved in planning the route as well. Expect police presence at each location to keep things orderly (including jaywalking), and if it needs to be said, this is not a BYOB event.
The warmer weather this year is great for the elves who would normally risk frostbite for their costume choices, but it means the party could keep going well past the official last call of 7 p.m., so pace your jolly self.
Share the joy
SantaCon isn’t doing a canned food drive this year, but every merry North Poler is asked to donate $10 to support charities dealing with hunger relief, sheltering LGBTQ youth and providing fitness equipment to schools.
In return, you’ll get not just a warm, fuzzy feeling but early heads up on where the roving party is headed and priority access to a new party this year, Rudolph’s Red Rager at Villain from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Speaking of money, SantaCon bars only accept cash; stuff your stockings before you set out.)
Santa is not just a theme
By putting on the Santa suit, you’re treated, and expected to treat, everyone in the spirit of Father Christmas — that means living up to the big man’s responsible reputation, from being cool to kids to not blocking streets to knowing your Christmas cheer tolerance. Don’t get on the naughty list — the big man’s or the NYPD’s.