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Ocean City

Fourth annual SantaCon takes over OC, Saturday

(Dec. 12, 2014) The fourth annual SantaCon, a Christmas celebration and festive bar crawl in Ocean City will kick off Saturday at 3 p.m. on the Boardwalk in front of the replica shark near the Life-Saving Station Museum and the inlet parking lot.Participants will meet organizer, “Sandy Claws” and the group will head to Wicomico Street and party at the Cork Bar, Bearded Clam and Pour House for a few hours.

The exact route and time spent at each bar will be posted on SantaCon’s Facebook page today, Friday, the eve of the event. Expect SantaCon to end on 28th Street with at least one stop being at de Lazy Lizard on First Street, bayside.

“We liked to be coy in the past, but we want everyone to know where we will be throughout the night because it is easier for friends and the Santas involved,” Claws said.

Santas have been known to choose their own route, which is fine with event organizers.

“You will see Santas all over the town that night,” Claws said.

Participants are required to come in costume, but are encouraged to be unique and not necessarily dress up as Santa. Claws urged people to “not just go buy a Santa hat at the drugstore, be creative.”

Since the event’s inception in Ocean City, people have dressed up as holiday movie characters ranging from “A Christmas Story” to “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Even the abominable snowman showed up at SantaCon last year.

There will be some walking between bars and Santas are advised to come dressed for the weather. Cabs will be available for longer journeys.

“Have a sober Santa or get a cab,” Claws said.

Santas should come with cash and pay as they receive each drink to make it easier for bartenders. Also, organizers will not have to wait for patrons to settle their tabs when they want to move onto the next destination.

In the spirit of giving, Santas are asked to bring gifts for the Worcester County Humane Society such as dog food, cleaning supplies and blankets. Last year, participants filled an entire truck of supplies for cats and dogs in need. In addition, Claws will be collecting money for a 50/50 raffle that will benefit Assateague Coastal Trust.

The number of participants has grown every year with about 100 Santas showing up in 2011, the first year of the event. About 170 Santas participated in SantaCon last year.

“I am seeing the same names of people on Facebook who attended last year, we have a decent following,” Claws said. “It’s a highlight for a certain crowd of people who live in Ocean City and we are seeing out of towner’s joining in as well.”

Among those was a Lancaster, Pa. man, who stumbled upon SantaCon last year and had enjoyed his time so much he plans to make a weekend of the event with his family.

SantaCon started in 2011 when a group of friends, led by the mysterious Sandy Claws, decided Ocean City was a good place to establish another holiday tradition.

“There was a couple of my friends the first year and next thing you know, 50 to 100 Santas pull up in taxis,” Claws said. “It has become an all ages crowd because it’s fun to watch. We see happy, jolly faces everywhere and have not had a bad Santa yet.”

The event was started to be a fun time with friends, in addition to supporting the community. The presence of Santas help strengthen the local economy during a time when local businesses are missing the profits of tourism. They look forward to the business and the fun in seeing everyone dressed up, Claws said.

“Stop by and hang out for a while. It will guarantee to put a smile on your face,” Claws said. “If you’re not in the Christmas spirit by SantaCon, you will be afterward.”

Party City is offering a 15 percent discount for SantaCon participants and the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel on 101st Street will have reduced room rates for the event. The Clarion is the official hotel of SantaCon. Call 410-524-3535 and mention SantaCon.

The event is an international extravaganza with 327 locations across 45 countries hosting annual SantaCon celebrations where people dress up as Santa and congregate at bars.

Search for “SantaCon 4 OCMD 12.13.14” on Facebook for the route, more information and to RSVP to the event.

A slew of Santas, from left, Patrick Sommer, Mario Ramirez,
Michael Malpezzi and Dave Wilson, celebrate with Christmas
tree Therese Powell and “Lumpy d’Coal” at Ocean City’s third
annual SantaCon. The group stopped for a photo at the Purple
Moose Saloon on Talbot Street before heading over to Cork Bar,
on Wicomico Street, with fellow Santas.



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