Downtown pub crawl all about the man in the red suit

SantaCon is coming to town.

Participation in the Santa-themed pub crawl is free. But there are a few rules.

Attendees must be 21 and over, dress like – and refer to one another as – Santa, be jolly, and stick together. (Read: No Santa left behind!)

They also are expected to pay for their own food or beverages. Bringing candy canes or other sweets for the children they encounter along the way is encouraged.

And, the answer is always Santa.

Let’s practice: Who’s in charge? Santa. Who organized this event? Santa. What’s this all about? Santa. What are you doing here? Santa.

The idea is to eat, drink and be merry while wearing a Santa suit – and also drum up a bit of business.

“It’s to try to get more stuff downtown, to try to get more people down here,” said Jon Noland, 47, of Spokane.

He was one of the half-dozen or so people who took part in last year’s local SantaCon. And he’s hoping for a larger turnout this year. So he’s helping advertise the event by word-of-moth, fliers and Facebook: www.facebook.com/ santaconspokane.

The phenomenon originated in San Francisco in 1994 and now takes place in cities around the world during the holidays. It’s not a protest against Christmas or commercialization – or anything. SantaCon is simply about having a good time.

Spokane’s SantaCon starts at 4 p.m. Saturday at Red Lion BBQ & Pub, 126 N. Division St., then makes it way to Zola, 22 W. Main Ave., Fast Eddies, 1 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., and more.

SantaCon celebrations will be taking place on the same day in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, London, Beijing and other cities worldwide.

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