50 Kris Kringles Crawl Through Town

by Thomas MacMillan | December 22, 2008 8:18 AM | | Comments (10)

122008_0096.jpgA phalanx of Santa Clauses assembled by one “Santa Glo” descended on New Haven, unleashing a barrage of holiday cheer on an unsuspecting populace.

The bearded posse took part Saturday in New Haven’s first “Santacon,” an event held annually in cities across the country and abroad. It is essentially a Santa-themed pub crawl (more info here and here). Participants don St. Nick’s traditional red and white suit and march from bar to bar, drinking and dancing and singing carols with reckless abandon.

This is Santacon’s first year in New Haven. The event inspired some of the revelers to do more than just dress up like Santa. The pub crawl turned into an impromptu fundraiser to make holiday wishes come true for a class of lucky first-graders.

122008_0062.jpgThe Santas began their jolly rampage at the Diesel coffee shop at 10 a.m. After fortifying themselves with egg sandwiches, the nearly 50 Kris Kringles began their march through town. They stopped for drinks and carols at Christopher Martin’s and Anna Liffey’s, then danced and sang in a circle around the tree on the Green. From there, they stumbled over to Richter’s, then the Anchor, and found themselves dancing and eating pizza at BAR by 5 p.m.

Gloria Wang, a.k.a. Santa Glo (pictured at the top of the story), was the driving force behind New Haven’s inaugural Santacon celebration. “I did it in New York City a year ago,” she explained, “and I thought, ‘I need to bring this to New Haven.’”

Santa Glo got her santa suit at Party City for $45. (She made her “Santa Glo” sash herself.) The New Haven Santacon website had a list of places to pick up Santa suits. “You wanna look like a mass of clones,” Santa Glo said, explaining the dress code.

Santa Glo was pleased with the reception that her Santa army was receiving as they marched through town. “People are so excited, they honk and wave. The kids get really excited.”

“It’s great, I’ll do it again next year,” Santa Glo promised, before making her way to the pool table to dance with the rest of the Santas to P-Funk and Kool and the Gang.

Tabitha Tibault, seating patrons in the restaurant portion of BAR, said that she had not been expecting to host dozens of Santa Clauses at work that day.

“It’s entertaining,” she said, with some hesitation. Asked if the Santas were well-behaved, Tibault reported that the jolly old elves had shattered a couple of glasses, and then cheered, but that they were otherwise holding themselves together.

122008_0104.jpgEarlier in the day, on their way through the New Haven Green, the Santas had happened upon the giant mailbox of letters to Santa on the corner of College and Chapel Streets (pictured). Seized by inspiration, they opened the back hatch (marked “To be opened by Santa Claus only”) and pulled out a manila envelope full of Christmas wish lists penned by a first-grade class at a local elementary school. They immediately began soliciting donations to buy presents for all the little boys and girls, stuffing the manila envelope with dollar bills, even tens and twenties.

“We’re fucking Santa Claus!” exclaimed one Santa Claus, describing the group’s plan.

122008_0076.jpgSanta Chris Laconte (pictured showing off his North Pole dancing), who had powdered his beard white for Santacon, said that the goup would contact the first-grade class teacher and buy something for her classroom.

“We’re calling her in Monday and saying ‘Whaddaya need?’A new chalkboard, a whiteboard, some chairs…?’” Laconte said. He predicted that the Santas would be able to raise $500 to $1,000 “at a minimum.”

Inspired by Santacon, Laconte was filled with the spirit of giving. Before the event, he bought a sackful of dollar-store toys that he had been giving out to kids he came across as the Santas rolled through town. He dispensed Barbies and matchbox cars and jump ropes.

“This whole experience has made me want to volunteer at an orphanage, or a shelter,” he said, overwhelmed by the delight of generosity. “I think it’s pretty awesome.”

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Posted by: Ellis Copleland | December 22, 2008 2:35 PM

I encountered the Santas as they made their trek. I was a wonderful sight. We need more of this-- I only wish I had known it was happening so I could have joined.

Posted by: Santaglo | December 22, 2008 3:34 PM

Hi Ellis and anyone else - We've tentatively scheduled next year's Santacon for Dec. 19. We'll be updating our website every so often: http://sites.google.com/site/newhavensantacon/. Please help us spread the word!

-New Haven Santas

Posted by: junior | December 22, 2008 5:45 PM

Hey , how is everyone , i miss u all my friend`s

Posted by: Kellie Griffin | December 23, 2008 6:45 AM

Thank you to everyone from santacon who contributed to the (unexpected) gift box for my classroom. The kids were thrilled!
Ms. Griffin

Posted by: dw [TypeKey Profile Page] | December 23, 2008 8:31 AM

This is a great idea, and I encourage organizers to continue next season. Unfortunately, I encountered the Santas as they crossed Chapel at Temple. Several walked unsafely in front of moving vehicles assuming their outfits excluded them from acting in a safe and responsible manner. I was idling at the corner with my 12 year-old daughter, and her comment was "Dad- half the Santas look drunk"! Maybe yes, maybe no...but I doubt that is the image you would want moving forward.

Posted by: robn | December 23, 2008 12:47 PM

Hey Santa,

How about if you give that sailor talk the heave-ho.

Posted by: james | December 23, 2008 4:30 PM

DW, you are absolutely right! If only half the Santas looked drunk than clearly we didn't do a good job! I mean, afterall it was designed to be a pubcrawl for Santa's bringing in some holiday cheer.

Posted by: a grateful mom | December 23, 2008 6:10 PM

I wished I had known about this event. I hope all the Santas had a great time. I also want to say no matter what happens on the 25th I know my Christmas will not be quite the same - my little one's letter was answered and there will be something for Christmas she would not have recieved- giving her and I a very special Christmas! THANKS SO MUCH

Posted by: Miles | December 24, 2008 10:14 PM

Grateful Mom, I'd love to hear more about your story. What did you get for Christmas and when did it arrive? I'm glad that you got what your little one asked for - I think it would be great to share the story so that more people could be motivated to make Christmas wishes come true. Thank you!

Posted by: laststraw | December 25, 2008 5:08 PM

"assuming their outfits excluded them from acting in a safe and responsible manner"

Dude! It's Santa! That excludes them from everything!!!

And if my kid said, "Dad- half the Santas look drunk"!, my response would've been, what do you expect from a guy who works once a year?! Cheer up! From one afternoon of Xmas debauchery, you got a classroom full of goodies, some good ol' Christmas cheer, and plenty of happy downtown establishments, already suffering from a poor economy.
OMG! Santers izz crunk!

--dude who moonlights as skinny Santa

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