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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

SantaCon Spokane a good night indeed

Darren Schurger, dressed as Gingy the gingerbread man, takes a bite of a gingerbread cookie, while Santas Dean Davis, left, and Nathan Lee, center, look on at Boots Bakery and Lounge on Saturday. “It’s kind of awkward eating myself,” Schurger said. About 30 people, dressed as Santas and other holiday characters, went on a pub crawl through downtown Spokane as part of SantaCon. (Colin Mulvany)

’Twas still long before Christmas, but all through Spokane,

Many Santas were stirring, both woman and man.

The costumes were hung from their shoulders with care,

Though some legs were a little bit bare.

The Santas were nestled all snug at the bar.

A future of shots, pints and cocktails was not very far.

Santas gathered in droves Saturday evening at bars around the globe to celebrate SantaCon 2013.

The event made its Spokane debut this year, and about 30 dressed as Santa, elves and even Gingy from “Shrek” gathered at the Red Lion pub downtown to kick off the pub crawl.

Though the Christmas events in big cities can attract thousands of Santas, drunken misbehavior has earned some of the bar crawlers coal in their stockings. Some New York bars banned the Santas on Saturday, saying the event was too rowdy.

That’s not what SantaCon Spokane is about, organizer Jon Noland said, laying out some rules at the kickoff.

“It’s all about fun and coming together,” Noland said, adding he hopes to improve Spokane by supporting local businesses.

“I really would like to revitalize downtown, so this is just one little step in helping,” he said.

Though participation in this year’s SantaCon was free, Noland said he hopes to make it a charity event next year, perhaps benefiting a local food bank or Toys for Tots.

Darren Schurger, dressed as Gingy, carefully brought his drink to his mouth through the costume’s large foam mask.

“It’s good for businesses,” Schurger said. “It’s fun. It’s festive. Who needs an excuse to drink and have fun?”

For Nathan Lee, the motivation was a little simpler.

“Any reason to dress up like Santa and get drunk,” Lee said, gripping a bag of candy canes to hand out.

Soon after they met, the Santas gave a shout.

It was time for the party to be headed out.

Passers-by honked and squealed with delight:

Happy SantaCon to all, and to all a good night.