Lowertown SantaCon in the Press

Photo: Barbara Dodge

CITY PAGES A-LIST, 2016
The holidays are about togetherness, and that includes your drinking buddies. For the past nine years, Lowertown SantaCon has been bringing people together. Each year, revelers venture out into the cold night to spread joy and toast to good fortune. Attendees frequently include Krampus, a hooved beast who punishes bad kids while swilling Jager; Santas of all sizes and genders; jolly — and frequently tipsy — elves; and even a few turduckens, dreidels, unicorns, and snowmen. Stops along the way include Black Dog, Golden’s, and SW Craft Bar, and shenanigans can be followed live via Twitter at santacon55101. Location updates will be announced at lowertownsantacon.info.

CITY PAGES WINTER GUIDE, 2016: “THE TOP 20 EVENTS OF THE SEASON”
The holidays are about togetherness, and that includes your drinking buddies. For the past nine years, Lowertown SantaCon has been bringing people together. Each year, revelers venture out into the cold night to spread joy and toast to good fortune. Attendees frequently include Krampus, a hooved beast who punishes bad kids while swilling Jäger; Santas of all sizes and genders; jolly — and frequently tipsy — elves; and even a few turduckens, dreidels, unicorns, and snowmen. While the route has yet to be announced, stops along the way typically include Black Dog, Golden’s, and Mears Park, and shenanigans can be followed live via Twitter at santacon55101. Location updates will be announced at lowertownsantacon.info. 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Free. December 17 —Jessica Armbruster

CITY PAGES “A-LIST” REVIEW 2015
winterguide-2014-coverIt’s not hard to find a holiday-themed pub crawl this time of year, but there’s only one Lowertown SantaCon. Now in its eighth iteration, this Saturday the streets of St. Paul will run red (and green) with hundreds of yuletide revelers. With no entry fees, no wristbands, and no crappy T-shirts, the event stays true to the spirit of the season by inviting anyone who loves the holidays to drink a bit and help create a festive scene. Kicking off at 6 p.m. at Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, the epic Christmas crawl will stop at six different locations, including the grand finale at Bedlam Lowertown. And while the name “SantaCon” may imply an affinity for the big man in red, each year attendees manage to find new ways to get into the spirit, dressing up as elves, reindeer, Hanukkah chickens, Kwanzaa hams, and even Krampus. The St. Paul event is part of a global network of SantaCons taking place throughout the month of December, with 354 cities in 49 countries participating. Not even Santa himself could do a Fireball shot in that many places over the course of one night, but you can throw back a few on behalf of St. Nick this weekend. Febreze your least-stained holiday sweater and head out to experience the true meaning of Christmas this Saturday. You can follow all the action (or figure out where to find the fun) on Twitter at @santacon55101.-Patrick Strait

CITY PAGES “WINTER GUIDE” PICK 2014
There are plenty of holiday-themed bar crawls throughout the winter, but there is only one SantaCon. The seventh-annual Lowertown SantaCon, also known as “Santarchy” or “The Red Menace,” features a costumed crew of Santas (along with some of his yuletide homies and the terrifying Krampus) strolling the streets during the most epic pub crawl of the year. The happening kicks off at 6 p.m. at Golden’s Deli before making its way to various bars throughout Lowertown, including stops at Barrio, Gopher Bar, and Senior Wong. There’s also an all-ages segment at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, giving the kiddos a chance to see the army of St. Nicks in their element before things get too boozy. There are no entry fees, no wristbands, and no merchandise associated with this event. It’s just a massive community of Kris Kringles (and a few driedels and ugly sweaters) looking to usher in the holiday season in the most awesome way possible. For more info, visit lowertownsantacon.info. Free. 6 p.m. to bar close. Saturday, December 20 —Patrick Strait

VITA.MN “CAMPY HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE” 2014
vitamn-santacon-2014St. Paul hosts two Claus-themed pub crawls. At the St. Paul Santa Crawl, $20 gets you entry to eight bars, party-bus transport, drunken gift-wrapping contests, costume contests, dance parties, the Drinkin’ Spelling Bee, a pop-up pinball arcade and “live reindeer.” (5 p.m. Dec. 13. www.stpaulsantacrawl.com.) A week later, SantaCon features entertainment from the Brass Messengers and Santa’s dark companion, Krampus, and no cover. (6 p.m. Dec. 20. ww.lowertownsantacon.info.)

MINNPOST “THE PICKS” 2014
Saturday in Lowertown: SantaCon VII. If Santa is a drinking man, he’ll probably stop by SantaCon, one of the few places he can travel incognito. Because there are lots of Santas at this annual pub crawl led by the Brass Messengers, a 10-member brass band. Dixie De’Lamour is this year’s emcee; participating pubs are Golden’s Deli, the Black Dog, Señor Wong and Bedlam Lowertown. FMI. BTW this is the Black Dog’s 15th year in Lowertown. They moved in before the area was hot, weathered ups, downs and disruptions (the Green Line ends kitty-corner from their door, and the Saints stadium is being built across the street), plus they love jazz. We’ll drink to that.

HERLIFE MAGAZINE “EVENTS” 2014
Santa stays warm with a nice cup of Irish coffee! Enjoy that time of year again and get dressed in your holiday best at this festive bar crawl!

PIONEER PRESS REVIEW 2013: “SANTA CLAUSES ARE COMING TO (LOWER)TOWN”
He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice and then he’s dashing to Lowertown for a night of Christmas-themed revelry. The 6th Annual Lowertown SantaCon pub crawl will take to the streets Saturday, bringing more than 200 Santa Claus doppelgangers and others in holiday-themed costumes. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. at Golden’s Deli and wind up at 11 p.m. at Senor Wong. Families are welcome for an all-ages celebration at the Black Dog Cafe at 7 p.m., but beware: Krampus, the anti-Santa Christmas devil known for snatching naughty children, will make an appearance. Lowertown SantaCon cofounder Nigel Parry said the event is a way to spread Christmas cheer and show off the area. “There’s a lot changing in Lowertown these days. We wanted to showcase the neighborhood itself,” Parry said. “They’ll get a good intro to all sorts of places.” Pin-up model Dixie De’Lamour will be the event’s emcee. Additional stops include Barrio and the Bulldog at 8 p.m. and the Gopher Bar at 10 p.m. Fire dancers will performing at 8 p.m. in Mears Park. The crawl is led by roving band the Brass Messengers, which Parry said lends a flash-mob-like quality to the festivities. The music, paired with the hard-to-miss sight of 200 people in Santa costumes, makes for an interesting spectacle on the streets of Lowertown. “It’s pretty funny when you walk in and see people’s reactions,” Parry said. Lowertown SantaCon is free, and participants are encouraged to dress up as Santa, elves, reindeer or other holiday-themed characters. The crawl’s progress can be tracked by following @santacon55101 on Twitter or texting “follow santacon55101” to 40404. More information: lowertownsantacon.info.—Emily Mongan

CITY PAGES “A-LIST” REVIEW 2013
Some folks like to get into the holiday spirit by listening to classic Christmas tunes, baking cookies with family, and hitting the malls for deals. The folks at Lowertown SantaCon prefer to get into the mood by putting on an ugly sweater, sharing a few adult beverages with friends, and saying hello to Krampus, the cruel Christmas demon who enjoys eating children (when not taking Jager shots). This Saturday marks the return of Lowertown SantaCon, a raucous pub crawl that’s both naughty and nice. Bars and restaurants getting festive for the happening include Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Bulldog Lowertown, and Barrio. Along the way, Dixie De’Lamour will play MC, while the Brass Messengers will put on their elfin best and serenade revelers. Holiday get-ups are encouraged, and mash-ups are even better. So if you’ve been dying to go out dressed like a dino-dreidel or Jesus-turkey, now’s your chance. You can follow the party and its shenanigans on Twitter at @santacon55101. For more info, visit lowertownsantacon.info (Photo by James Ramsay Photography)

VITA.MN 2013: 14 QUIRKY HOLIDAY EVENTS
St. Paul is playing host to not one but two Santa-themed pub crawls on the same day (Dec. 14). Dedicated to the spirit of St. Nick and flash mobs alike, the crawls encourage revelers to dress as Santa Claus–or a reindeer or gingerbread man or elf (you get the idea).The free, sixth annual [Lowertown] SantaCon gets the edge for sheer spectacle, with traveling entertainment from Foxy Tann, the Brass Messengers and Santa’s dark companion, Krampus. From the brains behind the Zombie Pub Crawl comes the newer St. Paul Santa Crawl, which is certainly a contender. A wristband gains you entry to 14 bars, with drink specials and free party-bus transport between stops, plus drunken gift-wrapping contests, costume contests, photo booths, dance parties, Blingo, retro video game tournaments and “live reindeer.” ([Lowertown] SantaCon: 6 p.m. Dec. 14, free, www.lowertownsantacon.info. St. Paul Santa Crawl: 5 p.m. Dec. 14, $20, [URL redacted as a favor to you])

CITY PAGES 2013: “50 REASONS WE LOVE WINTER IN MINNESOTA”
Each year, the Lowertown SantaCon invites folks to celebrate the best part of the holidays — booze — with a lively bar crawl through St. Paul. Revelers are encouraged to wear their seasonal best, so expect to see elves, Santas, dreidels, and a maybe even a Turducken wandering the streets and ordering drinks from the bar. Outside, the frightful weather becomes delightful, as the party often features live music from the Brass Messengers, fire performances in Mears Park, and sightings of Krampus, the demonic Christmas creature who likes to taunt children (and do Jager bombs). The sixth annual crawl will be on Saturday, December 14.

SAINT PAUL ALMANAC, “THIS WEEK IN SAINT PAUL”, DECEMBER 2013
After the kids have gone to bed, the most hearty will want to check out the 6th Annual Lowertown SantaCon starting on Saturday, Dec. 14. The Capital City of St. Paul, Minnesota is once again hosting this event that will take the sting out of the weather and curb the holiday vexing, with emcee Dixie De’Lamour and the Brass Messengers leading the costumed parade from bar to bar.

CITY PAGES “A-LIST” REVIEW 2012
This Saturday, Lowertown St. Paul will get into the holiday spirit with Lowertown SantaCon V. The yearly pub crawl encourages folks to dress in their seasonal best, be it a classic look (elves, Santa, reindeer), ironic (Christmas work party wear, ugly sweaters), or something truly creative (Turducken, Dreidel monsters, and SantaChrist, anyone?). Along the crawl, revelers will be able to enjoy roving musical sets from from the Brass Messengers, performances from fire dancers (check Mears Park), and visits from Krampus, a beast who appreciates his Jager bombs as much as he enjoys punishing naughty children. Foxy Tann will MC. The party starts at Kelly’s Depot, with stops along the way including the Black Dog, Bulldog, Station 4, and Senor Wong. For updates on where things are happening as they happen, follow the event live on Twitter via @santacon55101. Visit www.LowertownSantacon.info for more.—By Jessica Armbruster

CITY PAGES “FREELOADER FRIDAY” BLOG 2012
The weekend is almost upon us. Free stuff to do includes a bar crawl/street celebration in Lowertown where you can party with Krampus, a binge-drinking beast who likes to torture naughty children. There’s also free theater in the Gonzo Group’s new space, lots of holiday dance parties (including one with a duo who call themselves Sex Burger), and a three-day reception and open house featuring new work by Wing Young Huie. Lowertown SantaCon V (Various locations, but the event officially starts at Kelly’s Depot, 241 E. Kellogg, St. Paul or check Mears Park for performances). Bar crawl featuring roving musicians, fire dancers, Krampus, Brass Messengers, Foxy Tann, and fun shenanigans. More info at www.LowertownSantacon.info or follow the event live on Twitter via @santacon55101. 5:30 p.m.-2 a.m.

VITA.MN “NEWS & REVIEWS” 2012
One part bar crawl, one part costume party and one part spectacle, the five-years-strong Lowertown SantaCon features roving musicians and festivities at various stops throughout the day. Emceed by burlesque diva Foxy Tann, the night includes performances by the Brass Messengers and the Mears Park Fire Demons as well as appearances by Christmas beast-devil Krampus. Stops include Kelly’s Depot Bar, the Bulldog, Barrio, Station 4 and Señor Wong, plus the all-ages Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar. (5:30 p.m. Sat. Free. Lowertown, St. Paul. www.lowertownsantacon.info.) JAHNA PELOQUIN

L’ÉTOILE MAGAZINE “WEEKEND WHAT’S WHAT” 2012
Lowertown SantaCon V @ Various Locations, St. Paul. 5:30 pm-midnight / All ages at Black Dog at 6:30 pm / 21+ other locations / FREE. What could be better than a free pub crawl with a bevy of Santa Clauses, ugly sweaters, live brass music, and the foxiest of drag queen hosts, MC Foxy Tann? If you answered: nothing could possibly be better, then you are in luck! The historic Lowertown district of Saint Paul will play host to its fifth annual SantaCon this year. You will have the option to bring your tiny tots to the kid-friendly portion of the evening at Black Dog Café at 6:30 pm. Afterwards, it will be a combination of a messy Halloween bash and a holiday party gone wild, with live music from the Brass Messengers and more. -Chloe Nelson

CITY PAGES “BEST TWIN CITIES PUB CRAWL” 2011
If there’s any surefire trick to making a successful pub crawl, it’s getting dressed up in ridiculous costumes. And what better time for a crawl than right before Christmas? That spirit-crushing phenomenon known as winter in Minnesota is just settling in, and drinking for the next four to six months will be confined to indoors. Might as well get it out of your system beforehand. St. Paul’s Santacon Crawl has the predictable array of jolly, beer-guzzling Kris Kringles, but also a slew of surly elves, drunken reindeer, and even the odd Jäger-slamming Baphomet. Last year’s show was presided over by Foxy Tann, with live music by the Brass Messengers, as the costumed crowd trekked to such popular Lowertown watering holes as Barrio and the Bulldog. The payoff? Meeting up with the Minnesota RollerGirls at Senor Wong. Now there’s some holiday spirit!

CITY PAGES “A-LIST” REVIEW 2011
‘Twas the weekend before Christmas and all through St. Paul, all the creatures were stirring in a drunken free-for-all. This Saturday, festive anarchy will ensue at the fourth annual Lowertown SantaCon. Part bar crawl, part holiday spectacle, this event features folks dressed like Santa, elves, reindeer, and Krampus, a devilish Christmas demon of sorts. As usual, the happening will change bars approximately every hour, with the Brass Messengers serenading revelers on their way to the next location. Stops are planned for Heartland, Kelly’s Depot Bar, Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar (where the hop will take a moment to be all-ages and family-friendly), Barrio, Bulldog, Senor Wong, and Station 4. Come in costume for drinks specials, and check @santacon55101 on Twitter or text “follow santacon55101” to 40404 for updates on where the party’s headed should you be joining a little late.—By Jessica Armbruster

CITY PAGES “A-LIST” REVIEW 2010
Now in its third year, the Lowertown SantaCon is your chance to party it up holiday-style, without the awkward moments of a holiday office party or family gathering. And while Santa’s big belly and rosy cheeks can probably be attributed to a hard life running an elf-driven sweatshop in a land of frozen tundra, the guy probably knows how to party too. If you can pull off the Kris Kringle look, you certainly should, but if you can’t don’t fret: Just pop on some fake reindeer antlers, come as a kinky leather elf, or simply dress in your ugliest holiday sweater and jingling accessories. The key is to come in costume for the drink specials. The barhop begins at the Hat Trick Lounge, then stumbles along to Trattoria da Vinci, Barrio, Bulldog, Black Dog, Station 4, and, finally, Senor Wong. The Brass Messengers will be serenading sugarplum drunks along the way, while Foxy Tann plays MC. Looking to come a little late but not sure where the party’s at? You can check in with @santacon55101 on Twitter or text “follow santacon55101” to 40404.

365 TWIN CITIES, 2010
“Day 237: Lowertown SantaCon”: Ah, the pub crawl! It has become quite an art form. Or at least an act of solidarity built around two main purposes: the pursuit of malty adult beverages and a common wardrobe element. Back in October we had the Zombie Pub Crawl (Day 187). Then there’s the Snuggie Pub Crawl, the Ugly Christmas Sweater Pub Crawl, and others. This Saturday, another pub crawl hits St. Paul’s Lowertown district starting at 5pm. SantaCon will be recognizable by the hoards of Santas, elves and reindeer mozying from pub to pub in pursuit of the frosty adult beverage and the fellowship of other beer-drinking Santas, elves and reindeer. Catch live music at various stops and get drink specials if you’re dressed in your Santa/elf/hoofed mammal getup. On the route: Barrio, Bulldog, Innuendo, Station 4, and The Blag Dog Cafe. Get creative with your costume. Seen previously at SantaCon were Santasaurus Rex, Zombie Santa, Bad Santa, Santa Jesus, Single Ladies Santa, Grinch Santa…whatever your twisted mind can dream up, make it into a Christmas outfit and you’ll win the admiration and respect of your fellow SantaCon-ers. Leave the tiny tots at home, folks. This is for the big kids, 21+. Toss back a few Candy Cane Martinis or some wine as well. There’s no rule saying you have to drink beer! Christmas carols will abound and drinks will flow. But whatever your poison, you’re sure to finish the evening with some rosy Santa cheeks! For more information, visit the SantaCon homepage.

CITY PAGES “A-LIST” REVIEW 2009
This will be the second year for the Santa-themed barhop in Lowertown, St. Paul. And while milk and cookies add to that big Santa belly, it’s the nightcaps that help make his cheeks rosy and his laugh grand. So throw on that Santa costume (and perhaps some long underwear as well if it’s a chilly night) and hit the streets with like-minded Kris Kringles. Though the event is named after the jolliest man of them all, partiers can also come as elves, reindeer, Hanukkah items, or other holiday-themed characters. The more creative the costume, the better (zombie reindeer or space-age dreidels from the future, anyone?). The barhop begins at 5 p.m. at Señor Wong, but moves to a new location approximately every hour on the hour, with street music provided by Brass Messengers. Participating locations include the Black Dog Café, the Bulldog, Barrio, Rumors and Innuendo, and Station 4, where the Prize Fighters are scheduled to perform and Minnesota Rollergirl fans will also be partying. Drink specials will be offered throughout the night to those in costume making spirits bright, and food donations to Second Harvest Heartland will be accepted at designated bars and clubs along the way.

PIONEER PRESS “BEST OF THE WEEK” REVIEW 2009
Don’t be fooled by the name, SantaCon is not for the tots. It’s an international pub crawl where folks dress up in Santa suits (or another holiday-ish costume of their choice) and go drinking. For the second year in a row, the local SantaCon will take place in St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood. Starting at 5 p.m., Santas, along with all their helpers, will gather at Senor Wong and throughout the night visit the Black Dog Café, Bulldog, Barrio and Innuendo before finally ending up at Station 4, where there will be live music and RollerGirls on hand. So whether you choose to be Old St. Nick, Rudolph or Mrs. Claus, everyone wearing a costume qualifies for drink discounts.

L’ÉTOILE MAGAZINE “WEEKEND WHAT’S WHAT” 2009
…it would be a shame to miss the Lowertown SantaCon. From 5pm on, strange Santas and Christmas creatures descend on the capital city to crawl the pubs, led by the wild Brass Messengers street band. We doubt you’ll be able to miss this spectacle!

CITY PAGES CALENDAR REVIEW 2008
This Saturday Lowertown St. Paul will come alive with the spirit of Christmas. Or, more accurately, spirits will be consumed by people in Christmas costumes. Whether you work at the mall as Santa Claus, have reindeer ears that you secretly wish you could wear year round, or happen to have an elf costume just in case, all our welcome to partake in this spirited pub crawl. Arrive in your classiest, trashiest, funniest costumes at th Black Down Wine Bar around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, December 20. The hopping will run to about 10 p.m. with each bar offering specials for those donning festive threads. Can’t make it that early? Here’s the list of bars participating, crawlers will attempt to hit up each bar in the following order, with pauses to sing drunkenly in the park: Black Dog Cafe and Wine Bar; Kelly’s Depot Bar; Gopher Bar; Loto Cafe; Hat Trick Lounge; Senor Wong; Station 4; Innuendo; Drunken Holiday Singing in Mears Park; The Bulldog.—By Jessica Armbruster.

About Lowertown SantaCon

Lowertown SantaCon is half spectacle, half pub crawl and half flash mob—that’s one and a half things!—in the chill Lowertown historic and arts district of Saint Paul, MN. Saturday, December 16th, 2017 will mark the tenth year of the annual event.

The 2016 Lowertown SantaCon IX was generously sponsored by SantaLawyer.com: Your Lawyer for the Holidays.

SantaCon (aka “Santarchy” aka “The Red Menace”) is an annual worldwide Santa Claus convention occurring in cities around the globe. People dress as Santa, other associated characters, and variations on the theme—and embark on an epic pub crawl around their city.

Come as Santa, come as an elf or reindeer or get creative and come as a Santasaurus, a Hanukkah Chicken, a Kwanza Ham…you get the picture! No wristbands, no tickets, this sleigh ride is free!