FLATIRON, Manhattan — Ho ho ho, we won't go!
Hundreds of Santas gathered in the Flatiron district Saturday to kick off SantaCon 2016 — and the jolly mirth makers soldiered on despite an attempt by two protesters to shut it down.
Cheerful drinkers and Santa clones met up at the Flatiron Building plaza in Manhattan about 10 a.m. for the kickoff event. Organizers assured SantaCon participants that the event was happening after fake fliers began circulating in the area the day before saying the event was canceled. The annual holiday has become unpopular among some residents and businesses, who are turned off by rowdy and boozy crowds and the occasional flareup of violence.
"We have the right to come together and celebrate as Santa, whenever we want, wherever we want," a SantaCon organizer said to a sea of people donning red Santa hats.
The organizers listed a set of "rules" for participants to follow, including respecting the police, city and venue and, "always tip your bartenders."
Not everyone was happy about SantaCon. As people continued to show off their best holiday-themed costumes, two protesters stood up on benches and screamed "SantaCon is canceled!"
The protesters, who were responsible for posting the fake signs on Friday, spoke out against the event one last time in an attempt to get the city and organizers to call it off before the merry crowd heads out to the bars.
"It's a really bad thing you guys are doing and it makes everyone sad," one of the protesters said.
Revelers booed the two demonstrators as officers took them away.
Thousands of people are partaking in SantaCon. The bar crawl begins in East Village and moves to midtown venues by the late afternoon.