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edge staff writer


SantaCon is coming to town and Yule love it

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BANGOR - On Friday, December 15, downtown Bangor will be populated with a plethora of Santas and a coterie of festively-dressed elves and reindeer when SantaCon comes to town.

What is SantaCon? It’s a roving congregation of holiday revelers dressed as Santa or one of his assistants, all taking part in a pub-crawl. The event is principally designed for fun, but participants are asked to contribute an unwrapped toy or make a cash donation to purchase a toy to benefit Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine.

“This will be a lot of fun,” said Melissa Smith, owner of Happy Endings martini bar and Penobscot Pour House,and a SantaCon organizer. “We expect a lot of people dressed as Santa, Mrs. Claus, an elf or whatever festive costume you want. This will be a pub crawl-style event where people go from place to place.”

Smith says she had wanted to put together a pub crawl tied in with a toy drive for some time.

“I was brainstorming with Rich Murphy, a business acquaintance, and I said ‘What if we did something with ugly Christmas sweaters or something fun like that?’ He said, ‘Why not do a SantaCon?’”

The first SantaCon event took place in San Francisco in 1994. This year, there are more than 150 registered events scheduled for various locations around the world, according to official event website

Since this will be the first SantaCon event for Bangor, Smith says she has no idea what to expect in terms of the number of participants.

“We have a Facebook event page (SantaCon Downtown Bangor 2017) and it’s nice to have some interaction on there so we have some kind of idea of how many people plan to take part,” Smith said. “We’re almost ready to release a comprehensive list of businesses that plan to take part.”

 There will be one central location to drop off toys on the evening of December 15, according to Smith.

“Happy Endings (Martini, Tapas & Dessert Bar at 32 Main St.) will be the drop-off point for toys,” she said. “Representatives from AFFM will be there to collect the toys. We’ll have rubber Santa bracelets for all toy donors to signify that they are part of the pub crawl. We’ll also give them a map of participating locations at that time. Even if dressing up like Santa is not your thing, you can still take part in the event when you drop off a toy with a value of at least $10.00.” 

Participating downtown establishments have their own SantaCon events planned, according to Smith.

“For example, The Tavern [152 Main St.] is going to donate $1.00 to the charity for every karaoke song sung that night. Penobscot Pour House [14 Larkin St.] will have a costume contest with a cash prize for the best costume. We’ll have all of that information on the Facebook page as it becomes available.”

In addition, an all-inclusive SantaCon Bangor photo shoot is planned for 9:30 p.m. on December 15 in West Market Square, according to Smith.

“Everyone who would like to be included in the picture should plan to be in West Market Square at that time,” said Smith. 


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