Annual SantaCon bar crawl draws criticism: ‘Just an excuse to get drunk!’

EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan —Hundreds of Santas gathered as the snowflakes just began to fall on the steps of the Farley post office at 34th Street and Eighth Avenue Saturday morning.

And as the snow fall increased, so did the number of Santas, elf impersonators, reindeer and even an abominable snowman or two.

It is the annual pub crawl called SantaCon. More than 50 bars are participating, mostly in Midtown and the East Village.

These revelers come from all over.

“It’s my first SantaCon and I am having a great time,” Lauren Seike from Baltimore said.

A portion of the money from this pub crawl goes to charity. But it’s never enough to stop the naysayers, and there are so many.

This year an ad agency even started a campaign #SitOutSantaCon.

“They are doing things they shouldn’t be doing in a Santa costume,” the creator of the campaign Mark deMassimo said.

PIX11 spotted some rowdy, perhaps inebriated, Santas on the corner of 41st Street and Second Avenue, scaring mothers and their young children.

“It’s very upsetting to see these Santas,” one mother said.

It was so packed inside Crocodile Lounge, it was all about crowd control. Outside there were both pro and anti-SantaCon comments.

“It’s just all about getting drunk,” one woman passing by said.

Another passerby describes SantaCon as “just an excuse to get drunk.”

Since 2012, the first year of SantaCon, organizers say the event has raised more than $200,000 for local charities.