They come from the North Pole, a fat and jolly mass of red creeping ever closer from beyond the horizon with only the distant sound of tiny jingle bells signaling their arrival. They are Santa, and they’re here to party.
On Saturday, Red Bank is hosting its first ever iteration of SantaCon, the hugely popular dress up as Santa and hit every bar along the way – all while maintaining a feeling of good cheer – day of celebration and Santa unification recognized the world over.
Developed locally by Alex Federico and Dan Campbell who, according to their eventbrite profile, strive to have a good time in all aspects of life, the Red Bank SantaCon is not just an excuse to dress up like Chris Cringle and pound beers, but to help support a worthwhile cause in the process. In exchange for drink specials at bars and restaurants throughout town, the cost of entry, Federico said during a short conversation Saturday, will benefit the Red Bank Middle School Athletics Foundation.
The event is scheduled for this Saturday, Dec. 17, from 12:30 to 8 p.m. and starts at the where bracelets are being sold for $20. If you purchase your bracelet in advance the cost is just $15.
Though a Santa outfit is not a requirement for SantaCon, participants are asked to wear their most imaginative Christmas outfits – though really, who’s cooler than Santa Claus?
Federico said Red Bank SantaCon is part of the larger, though loosely organized, SantaCon social network, which lists 226 separate conventions in 32 countries this year alone. The affiliation lets Red Bank share in the SantaCon rules of, um, SantaConning, which includes calling everyone else “Santa,” Ho-Ho-Hoing as much as possible, being responsible, and having as much fun as possible.
According to the unofficial SantaCon website – there’s no official SantaCon website, sorry that's just not how they roll – the first SantaCon took place in San Francisco in 1994 and was sponsored by the San Francisco Cacophony Society. Since then its spread to major cities throughout the world from New York City to Moscow, where an estimated 7,000 Santas showed up to party last year.
How many Santas show up in Red Bank Saturday remains to be seen, though as of press time early Monday morning the Red Bank SantaCon event listing at 69 “likes” on Facebook. So, if you’re looking to spread some holiday cheer, dress up as Santa Claus and come on down.