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Santas converge on Hollywood bar scene for SantaCon 2011

As part of a worldwide event, a local St. Nick's contingent joins the holiday pub crawl in full regalia.

December 18, 2011|By Mike Anton, Los Angeles Times
  • A man dressed as Spider-Man seems a bit out of place in a sea of Santas at the Hollywood and Highland complex.
A man dressed as Spider-Man seems a bit out of place in a sea of Santas at the… (Robert Gauthier, Los Angeles…)

He would be making a list and checking it twice, with the intention of finding out who's been naughty and nice.

But first Santa needed a drink. All the Santas did.

On Saturday, several hundred St. Nicks gathered in Hollywood for SantaCon 2011, a Twitter-driven all-day-and-into-the-night bar crawl that took place in more than 200 locations worldwide.

PHOTOS: SantaCon 2011

People who signed up weren't told until Friday night where the party would begin.

"Are we meeting at the North Pole?" asked one Santa as his group bought Metro rail passes for the event's main mode of transportation.

"No, Hooters," his friend said.

The rules of SantaCon are simple: Wear a full costume, not just a hat. Be nice to children. Hand out gifts. Tip your servers generously.

And, as one website devoted to the event advised: "Watching Santa get drunk and rowdy is fun. Baby-sitting Santa while he vomits in an alley is not. Don't be that Santa."

Oh, and one more thing: Address everyone as Santa. No real names.

"Last year, we went to 9 a.m. Sunday morning," Santa said. "The red tide just kept on crawling."

"It's not a drunk-fest," another Santa added. "It's just the awesomeness of having so many Santas coming together in the holiday spirit."

Few knew who was in charge or where they would be going next.

Shortly after noon, a sea of red with white trim headed toward the Hollywood and Highland shopping center, stealing attention from Spider-Man, the Hulk and competing Captain Jack Sparrows.

There were Elvis Santas. Naughty Santas. Rasta Santas. A corporate Santa wearing a suit and an Occupy Santa wearing the now-familiar mask.

They gathered in the courtyard and sang a Christmas carol.

We wish you a merry Christmas

We wish you a merry Christmas

Now bring us some beer.

And then the crowd headed east on Hollywood Boulevard, a trail of Santas three blocks long.

They knew not where they were going. But they were certain where they would arrive.

PHOTOS: SantaCon 2011

mike.anton@latimes.com

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