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Ocean City

Santa Who?

Legend has it, on Dec. 25, one man magically travels around the world, secretly delivering toys to good girls and boys? In Ocean City, a new tradition has a lively group of elves parading around the resort, spreading joy along the way. Cheers!

(Dec. 14, 2012) Dozens of Santas, and maybe a few Mrs. Clauses and elves, will gather in Ocean City on Saturday for the resort’s second annual SantaCon.

For the first time ever, Ocean City last year hosted SantaCon, an event during which people dress as Old St. Nick and then make their way as a group to various hot spots in town. Ocean City included, SantaCon took place in more than 225 different locations in 32 countries. Each location had its own organizer, who remains anonymous.

Friends of “Sandy Claws,” organizer of the resort event, had participated in SantaCon in different locations in the past and he thought Ocean City was an ideal place for Santas to converge. Last year, more than 100 people participated in the Ocean City activity, which kicked off with a meeting at the southern end of Boardwalk near the replica shark. The group then traveled to a number of different bars.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. Everyone I talked to had a really good time.”

This year, SantaCon is expected to take place in 272 locations in 37 countries.

The local festivities will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at JC’s Northside Pub on 127th Street. Guests are encouraged to wear Santa outfits or dress in holiday attire, and to take gifts and treats to offer to children they meet.

“Last year there were some really creative people. One group dressed like the characters in ‘A Christmas Story,’” Sandy Claws said.

Sandy Claws said the group will stay at JC’s for about an hour before visiting other local hot spots. Participants are encouraged to drink responsibly and be transported by sober reindeer to different bars.

On the SantaCon Ocean City Facebook page, more than 180 people had responded as of Monday that they plan to attend. More than 750 people have been invited. Everyone 21 and older is welcome to participate.

There is no set schedule or agenda. Sandy Claws suggests that those who cannot meet at JC’s should keep in contact with a SantaCon participant or check the event page on Face-

book for location updates. People may join in at any point.

“The goal is to spread good cheer,” Sandy Claws said.

Visit SantaCon Ocean City on Facebook for a list of “SantaCon Ocean City Guidelines.”

Some of those guidelines include: Santa does not make children cry; Santa dresses for all occasions; bring naughty gifts for grown ups and nice ones for children; pay for your beer and tip the bar staff; dress up! You don’t have to dress exactly like Santa; please remember that this is all about having fun; you must address everyone as “Santa”; and you should “ho-ho-ho” like Santa.

The first SantaCon took place in San Francisco in 1994, and was sponsored by The San Francisco Cacophony Society. Several dozen Santas participated that first year.

SantaCon 2011 participants.

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