While Stormpocalypse continues to flood the the Bay Area, another impending disaster looms: SantaCon. The raucous annual event is scheduled for tomorrow, and inebriated youngsters dressed as Saint Nick will be hopping from bar to bar, causing mayhem along the way in the form of trash, vomit and brawls.
SantaCon actually originated in San Francisco in 1994, as performance art piece dreamt up by John Law (one of the co-founders of Burning Man and a member of the Cacophony Society). Also known as Santarchy, it was a small, spontaneous event designed to poke fun at the consumerism of Christmas, and to "shock people and put them into a different reality." 20 years on, the horde of sexy Santas, drunken elves and jolly old jerks has become an uncomfortable mixture of fraternity party and riot, getting ostracized and even banned from many parts of New York, among other cities.
Its inventors would now prefer that this year's SantaCon become the swan song for drunk Santas everywhere. The Cacophony Society, the original inventors, are staging a funeral for SantaCon at the same time as the event. Their procession will begin Saturday at noon in the Stockton Garage, making its way towards SantaCon ground zero, beginning at the same hour in Union Square. If you want to participate, coal-darkened, or outright black, Santa attire is encouraged.
To be fair, SantaCon has been attempting to clean up its image in recent years: attendees are now encouraged to bring a donation for the SFFD's Toy Program for disadvantaged children, as a bit of penance for their long day of wet, intoxicated rampaging. If you're trying to avoid the madness, follow #SFSanta on Twitter to track the Con's movements, and check out the official SF SantaCon website for a complete look at SantaCon's path of destruction. And for bar or restaurant owners (or even garden-variety irritated citizens) who want to keep the Santas out, Eater has also created three handy signs like the one below; print and post to your liking.