SantaCon 2018

Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Revered And Reviled: Booze-Fueled SantaCon Draws Thousands To Manhattan

December 08, 2018 - 2:41 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Thousands of Santa look-alikes and other costumed characters hit the bars of Manhattan on Saturday for the annual SantaCon, but some revelers say it's about helping raise money for charity too. 

 SantaCon says it’s a charitable, non-commercial, non-political, nonsensical Santa Clause convention that happens once a year to spread absurdist joy.

“It’s just like a good experience,” one man said.

“Everyone’s happy and having fun,” said another reveler.

Don, from Pearl River, agrees with that. He said he’ll be drinking Saturday but also raising money for charities.

“A lot of needy people out there. We're lucky, you know, we got to spend silly money, go out, have fun, spend money on silly costumes, but the fact is...there's people that don't have it all, and we get to give some away. This reminds people that you should,” he said.

It snowed for last year’s SantaCon, so Don says he’ll take the subfreezing temperatures as long as it remains clear. 

“I think this is perfect. Later we won’t feel it at all,” he said.

Many business owners dread SantaCon, which has become notorious for its sloppy revelers picking fights and puking in the streets. 

NJ Transit, MetroNorth and the LIRR have banned alcohol Saturday on trains, and the NYPD has an increased presence.

A list of participating bars – to join or avoid – is here.