Every year I’m caught off guard. Right after work, on a Saturday in December when more often than not the weather seems seasonal and unChristmasy I catch glimpses of people dressed in Santa outfits. Then it dawns on me: It’s the first Saturday in December, the day of the SantaCon Pub Crawl which has these Santa look-a-likes straggling, wandering, stumbling, and marching all over North Portland. Numerous Claus clones gathered outside the Nite Hawk Cafe and Lounge. As I rode by I was caught unprepared with a dead camera phone battery so I couldn’t take a photo. I’ve always enjoyed what to me ends up being a random gathering of St. Nicks including grunge Santas, pimp hat wearing Santas–yes red velvet, Santas with beards askew and all kinds of lady Santas–innumerable variations on the theme. I quick charged my phone when I got home and hit Denver Ave in Kenton only to find the street devoid of the Claus crowd. I missed them.
Years ago I had enjoyed a Santa street party with crazed chants and Santas dragging around blasting boom boxes. At the time I had my video camera. The Santas assembled and marched up to then Mayor Sam Adam’s porch. The Mayor mixed and mingled with this Claus conglomerate. It felt historic, a little levity in the life of our embattled Mayor. It seemed important enough to pitch to one of our local news affiliates. I wasn’t smart enough to start a bidding war. No promises were made when I dropped off a DVD of the footage but I was convinced images of the Mayor almost crowd surfing in a sea of Santas had the makings of a short blurb that was can’t miss TV or even not quite breaking news. I watched the next morning’s broadcast to no avail. I told a friend about it later who said the local news was a bit too vanilla for something out of the ordinary.
The Santa Con remains my number one Portland Christmas event. It’s not the singing Christmas tree, a trip to the Grotto, the Cinnamon Bear Cruise or the tree lighting; it’s catching sight of a trashy troop of sad, bad Santas on a pub crawl through North Portland that lifts my holiday spirits every year. Thanks again!
So was it newsworthy? Decide for yourself:
For more coverage of this year’s SantaCon see: