Monday, December 14, 2009
It was red Santas as far as the eye could see, and fair to say that this was not a typical sight at Christmas time. This was the 2009 annual SantaCon in New York City, and some say this humongous gathering of Santas in Washington Square Park may be the event's largest. See my gallery of photos here.
If you were in the city on Sunday, December 12, you may have run across groups of Santas roaming the streets. Washington Square Park was one of the stops on the convention - a flash mob of sorts which includes meandering the streets and spreading yuletime cheer. Creative costuming is encouraged, as well as gift giving.
There is a debaucherous tone to the event, through intent and their own admission. There are naughty Christmas carols and other mischievousness. However, four rules are to be observed:
Don't mess with kids.
Don't mess with cops.
Don't mess with security.
Don't mess with Santa.
There are no organizers, and revelers need to be connected for the whereabouts. The NYC SantaCon website does give starting locations and times.
The event started in 1994, sponsored by The San Francisco Cacophony Society, which held the first Santarchy. The original inspiration came from an earlier SF adventure club called the Suicide Club. The Founder and Avatar of the Suicide Club, Gary Warne, decided to organize a non-political, purely surreal Santa prank event after reading a Mother Jones article about a Danish political group dressing as Santas and mobbing a Copenhagen department store just before Christmas. Read the history here. The event is celebrated in cities worldwide - New York City has been involved since 1998.
According to the SantaCon website, the event is a convention, not a bar crawl. There is a lot of non-alcoholic celebratory activity. But libations are encouraged, and by late evening, the streets of the Village start looking more like a Santarchy :)