It gets hard to control your inner Santa around the holidays.
Sure, things start off harmlessly with a few batches of sugar cookies for the office or some altruistic shoveling of the neighbor’s driveway.
Soon you’re spending nights pouring homemade mint chocolate into Christmas-tree-shaped candy molds and carving individualized elf ornaments for every member of your family — including the eight cousins in Ireland — out of a felled tree in the backyard.
Santa worship quickly dips into the extremes.
But there is a time to let the Claus out. During Portland Santacon, no one will scoff at your oversized red suit, overgrowth of facial hair, or penchant for door-to-door singing. In fact, they’ll love you better for it.
Saturday marks the fifth Santacon in Portland. The “Santa convention” gathers fans of Father Christmas to celebrate the season and the man who makes it happen by collectively raising their glasses in no less than six local bars.
The parade of Santas overtaking the sidewalks when walking from one bar to the next is also a solid Kris Kringle way to spread good cheer — and a bit of confusion — to passers-by.
The key is, dress up in something. As the Santacon tips say, “Don’t be ‘that guy’ who shows up with only a Santa hat on. Be creative.” And also, “pace yourself – it’s going to be hard not to get a little too jolly, but don’t be ‘that Santa.’ ”
Santacon starts at 4 p.m. at Empire Dine and Dance in Portland, and will travel to Monument Square around 5:30 p.m. for the annual “photo of many Santas, elves, advent calendars and reindeer in front of the Christmas tree.”
After that, it’s Three Dollar Deweys, Gritty McDuff’s, Bull Feeney’s and Brian Boru, and yes, attendees can expect to belt out a few carols during the trek from one bar to the next. Keep track of where they are and where to meet them:
This year, Portland Santacon is also collecting donations for Family Crisis Services, a domestic violence shelter in Portland. Some of the shelter’s most-needed items include: Shampoo, conditioner, body wash (no bar soap), canned goods, pasta, mac and cheese, spaghetti sauce, dried goods (rice, cereal, oatmeal, etc.), snacks (granola bars, pre-packaged cookies/crackers, boxed raisins), and ground coffee/tea
4 pm-5:30 pm: Empire Dine and Dance
View Portland Santacon 2012 in a larger map
‘Twas three weeks before Christmas, and all through the Old Port
Some creatures were stirring – a fat, jolly sort.
The brewpubs and bars had been opened with care,
In the hopes that kind drinkers soon would be there.
A lone Santa appeared on Congress Street,
Headed toward town, with more Santas to meet.
Then a clatter arose in Monument Square,
Twenty or more Santas had congregated there!
Reindeer and elves and an advent calendar, too,
The poor onlookers knew not what to do.
Cars honked from the street and Santas gathered ’round.
And I knew in a moment: Santacon was in town.
But there were no toys to be found, no sleigh to be seen.
Santa without presents? That’s downright mean.
But these Santas aren’t real – not even near it,
But they’ll drink all day to spread holiday spirit.
And off they go down the street! A whole Santa troop!
And look! There’s Rudolph leading the group!
Into Empire they shuffle, still sober and clear,
And hail to the bartender to get their first beers.
“On Guinness! On Geary’s! On Allagash White!
On Prelude! On Pabst! We’re drinking all night!”
From bar to brewpub, they dashed through downtown,
And drew laughs (and confusion) from the people around.
And I heard one explain (’twas the elf with the tights):
Happy Santacon to all, and a debaucherous night!