SantaCon is coming to town!
The annual pub crawl is a fundraiser and toy drive in which dozens of people dress up as Santa Claus and head out for a night on the town. This year's event will feature stops at seven Tuscaloosa bars. Event organizers say costumes are required to participate, and those taking part are strongly encouraged to bring an unwrapped and unopened toy for a toy drive.
Bo Hicks, brewmaster at Druid City Brewing Company, is one of SantaCon's founders. He says this event has come a long way from its beginnings with a small group of Santas making their way between bars:
“When we sort of grew out of it, our friends Daniel Di Bona, David Smith, and Daniel Wagner had the bright idea to, like, ‘Let’s make it a toy drive!’ So it’s not just a bunch of middling 20, 30, and 40-year-olds being debaucherous, it also brings a lot of toys to Turning Point here in Tuscaloosa, which I think is a really good thing.”
The event has since grown into a large-scale charity drive, with hundreds of toys being collected for Turning Point of West Alabama as part of their Santa's Sleigh benefit. Organizers are also collecting home and bath supplies for the mothers at Turning Point, who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
For this year's SantaCon, the costumed revelers will be leaving Downtown Pub at 9 p.m. From there, the route is as follows: The Wheelhouse Pub; Gnemi's Top Shelf Tavern; The Gray Lady; Icon; Alcove Tavern; The Houndstooth Sports Bar.
Hicks says one of those destinations occupies a special place in his heart:
"One of my favorite stops is when we stop at Icon, because they have a dance party for us, and if you’ve never seen 80 Santa Clauses get down and boogie on the dance floor under the black light, then you just haven’t lived.”
Organizers say the group will spend between 15 and 30 minutes at each location. They encourage participants to bring cash to speed up the ordering process.