NEW YORK (PIX11) — NYC Santa has had enough of the “North Pole-sized avalanche of media outlets” badmouthing Santacon, the pre-Christmas event where people dressed as Santa perform a massive pub crawl through the streets of Manhattan.
Santacon has become a rather notorious made-up holiday according to some — the NYPD being perhaps the most vocal in its criticism. Last year police warned citizens and merry-makers that Santa disguises could easily be used for evil in such numbers where everyone looks alike.
The manager of Manhattan bar Traffic told PIX11 News that his bar depends on the day for revenue.
Bars would take a hit but so would costume shops like Abracadabra — after Halloween, this is their main event.
We reached out to SantaCon. A spokesperson sent us a response that read in part quote, “SantaCon is largely a collection of diverse social communities who come together in a festive culture jam that not only pokes fun at America’s consumerist holiday, but raises money and donations, in the true spirit of holiday giving.”
The NYPD said the letter was a good faith effort to notify tavern owners of an upcoming event.
This year, they even asked bar owners not to participate in the event.
“Santa agrees that there is no excuse for inappropriate behavior,” Santa responded. “Public drunkenness, urination or rude behavior is not only prohibited by the stated rules of the event, but actively discouraged by the crowds of Santas themselves, who are, for the most part, responsible, creative community-minded New Yorkers.”
The organizers claim Santacon was born in San Francisco as Santarchy, and called it a “culture-jamming” event originally created to “point out the absurdity of America’s consumerist holiday traditions.”
See the entire statement from Santa below:
Santa doesn’t normally respond to press inquiries (even if they come from very good little girls and boys), but Santa wants to address some issues generated in a recent press story, now being picked up by a North Pole sized avalanche of media outlets.
Santacon is largely a collection of diverse social communities who come together in a festive culture jam that not only pokes fun at America’s consumerist holiday but raises money and donations, in the true spirit of holiday giving.
Santacon also brings considerable economic activity to restaurants, bars, delis and
many other local businesses, small and large. Santacon’s charity component is not just white-bearded lip service. Last year, the event raised over $45,000 for
Toys for Tots and donated 10,000 lbs of canned food to the Food Bank for New York City Santa’s elves worked hand-in-hand with these organizations to benefit those in need.
This information can be confirmed by last year’s
Toys for Tots Coordinator Staff Sergeant Lebron from the Brooklyn Marines 7187571041.
This year, Santa is, asking all participants to donate $10, which will be distributed between the Food Bank for New York City, FIGMENT Arts Festival (a free, family-friendly arts festival that takes place annually on Governor’s
Island), World Hoops (which donates toys to children in need worldwide), and local charities along the Santacon route.
Santa agrees that there is no excuse for inappropriate behavior. Public drunkenness, urination or rude behavior is not only prohibited by the stated rules of the event, but actively discouraged by the crowds of Santas themselves,
who are, for the most part, responsible, creative community-minded New Yorkers.
NYC Santa realizes that he has a responsibility to New York City and its citizens.
This year, Santa is working even more closely with local community leaders and organizations to ensure that the event remains enjoyable for locals and Santas alike.
Santacon has grown faster than Santa ever could have imagined: from a couple of hundred participants to its current size in under ten years. Like other events, including the treasured West Village Halloween Parade, Santacon has had growing pains.
But Santa hopes that with a little elbow grease from the elves, a little patience from the community, and just a pinch of holiday magic, Santacon can spread joy and generate money for local businesses and charities wherever it goes.
Santacon began in 1994 as San Francisco’s Santarchy, a culture-jamming
event created by the Cacaphony society to point out the absurdity of America’s consumerist holiday traditions. Over the past 19 years, it’s grown to an
annual tradition in its own right. You can learn the full history, the ethos, the list of rules and see stories and pictures at santarchy.com. You can also find video responses from Santa’s more techsavvy elves at http://j.mp/SantaCon2011TorF & http://j.mp/2o11SantaConBB
Although NYC hosts the largest existing Santacon, it is one of 303 similar events that will take place in 41countries around the world this holiday season. The volunteer Santas and elves who organize NYC Santacon promote creative culture-jamming by administering a website and Twitter feed, organizing a route, and encouraging participants to come fully costumed and bring gifts and games to share.
Its enormous popularity shows that it is responding to a strong cultural desire to poke fun of traditional holiday tropes, as well as get together with friends, dress creatively, and interact participate and celebrate with friends and strangers alike. This, above all, is the purpose of the holidays and the purpose of Santacon.
Mistletoe & Merriment,