For the past five years, crowds of Santa-clad revelers have taken to the streets in Poughkeepsie to let their beards down before the Big Night – you know the one: the worldwide toy delivery by reindeer and sleigh culminating from weeks, maybe months, of busyness in the workshop at the North Pole, not to mention keeping track of the behavior of billions of expectant children. Santa needs to let off a little steam!
Santacon was devised for just this purpose. Santacon is a non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and nonsensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year for absolutely no reason, except for the abovementioned falalalala. This Saturday, December 19, up to 150 people will come out in costume to kick off the season in various venues in Po-town. An evening of Santamonium is guaranteed.
Organized each year by an anonymous group of helpers, Santacon is conducted with a loose-but-commonsense set of guidelines, the first being: “Wear a costume.” If you don’t already have one, make one. Or buy one. Or borrow one. Get creative. You can be an elf, a holiday ninja, Santasaurus, a reindeer, a Christmas tree, Ralphie from A Christmas Story. Just don’t wear your jeans and a Santa hat! That won’t do.
Start on time, because this is a moving party. And the elves report that studies done by the North Pole Institute of Yuletide Studies indicate a 97.2 percent better event when you start on time. Bring gifts: a reindeer game, a song, a dance or a joke to entertain Santa and spectators alike. And bring two non-perishable food items, which will be collected at the first stop to fill pantries at the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.
Bring your id. This is an adult party. Santa doesn’t discriminate, but the establishments that he visits require you to be 21. The elves recommend eating something before you join the fun. It’s going to be a long night, so put some fuel in your sleigh. And most importantly, have a sober Santa ready to drive you home if necessary. Too many dips into the eggnog can ruin a sleighride.
The starting point of the movable party will be announced the night of the 18th on the Santacon Facebook page. The remaining stops are announced right before the crowd moves locations. To keep up with the shenanigans, check your apparatus on Twitter or Facebook. And remember:
Santacon is not just a big pub crawl or bar hop. Every time you call it that, a sugarplum fairy dies. One of the helpers clears up this misconception when she says, “This is our sixth year, and we’ve always had a great time. It’s a nice way for people to meet new people and help out local businesses during the holidays. One of the reason we started it in Poughkeepsie was to show that it can be a positive event. I think the craziness that occurs in other cities is due to the sheer size and the number of participants. The Santacon down in the City has over 20,000 people who participate, so that could lead to some individuals spoiling it for the rest. Knock on wood, we have never had any problems with individuals engaging in brash behavior. The holidays can be a stressful time, so this is a good way to relax and get back to enjoying the time with friends and family.”
Poughkeepsie Santacon, Saturday, December 19, 5 p.m., location T/B/A, www.facebook.com/events/849170931865523.