Saturday marked the 25th iteration of SantaCon, an event that began in San Francisco as an anti-comsumerism homage to Danish performance art and has since (to its founders’ dismay) turned into a sloppy, day-drunk mess. This year’s event was further complicated by one of the nastiest rain storms of the year, but that didn’t appear to matter to the reported “thousands” of attendees, who (per the Chron) packed Union Square, then set out to bars and restaurants across the city — those that would allow them, at least.
According to the SF Examiner, Santa-clad folks were involved in at least two brawls during the event: one inside a Polk Street bar Playland, the other inside the Civic Center BART and Muni station. More common were reports of staggering, alcohol-induced illness, and poor decision making. Here’s what folks on the front lines had to say about the event.
- “Once a Santa threw up on a 5-year-old, we said we’d had enough of the Santas,” Tony’s Pizza server Epi Novak told SF Gate regarding the restaurant’s ban on SantaCon attendees.
- “I want to make good choices,” SantaCon participant Brittany Quinonez told the SF Chronicle. “I will stick with vodka. At least six. Maybe 10. OK, Fifteen.”
is today santacon or was that just an everyday st nick i saw puking outside starbucks— rat king (@MikeIsaac) December 7, 2019
- “You see it on the street, people stumbling over. It’s an atmosphere that we don’t really want to foster here,” Comstock Saloon bartender Ashley Kotowske told SF Gate regarding the event.
- “This is a time to get drunk off of my friends — and yeah, a little ‘real’ drunk too. This is by far my favorite college reunion,” University of California Santa Barbara alumnus and SantaCon participant Stephanie Foster told the SF Examiner.
wow. #SantaCon just started, and just saw a girl fall over into a pile of garbage bags. this will not end well. PolkSt is already messy.— Oscar (@oscarjr) December 7, 2019
- “SantaCon is bullshit,” said Steve Kahler, a cashier at a pizza restaurant at Polk and Broadway, told the Examiner. “It’s an excuse for techies that aren’t from the city to get drunk at 10 a.m. and treat people in the service industry (poorly).”
- “You’re a fucking present! I want you under my tree!” SF Gate reports an attendee shouting at fellow SantaCon-er “dressed in an impeccable Christmas present outfit.”
- “The problem with the Santas is that they’re all young, they’re all drinking heavily, and they’re wearing masks,” Maggie McGarry’s bartender JJ Bishop told SF Gate. “That combination is the perfect storm for belligerent behavior.”
- “People think SantaCon is all about getting drunk and throwing up and making a mess,” SantaCon attendee JJ Dillon told the Chron. “It’s all that. I’m not against getting drunk, but I don’t like all the rookies. People should get drunk responsibly.”