Lee Cannon, one of several hundred people dressed as Santa, elves, reindeer and assorted Christmas characters roaming the streets of Portland's Old Port Saturday night, dances at the Oasis on Wharf Street during an bar-crawl event called Santacon. Buy Photo
Benjamin Noiles checks I.D.s at the door of the Oasis on Wharf Street in Portland Saturday night during Santacon. The event is a mass gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes parading publicly on streets and in bars in cities around the world. Buy Photo
Bryan Connelly, dressed as Yukon Cornelius, AdriAnne Curtis, wearing a Krampus mask and Katy Nicketakis, wearing a Santa hat, enjoy Santacon at the Oasis in Portland Saturday night. Krampus is a character from Germanic folklore who punishes bad children at Christmastime. Buy Photo
PORTLAND, Maine — The music thumped upstairs at the Oasis on Wharf Street in Portland. Young people, clutching drinks, twirled and danced to the beat under the black lights and lasers. A line snaked away from the front door where a red-bearded bouncer checked I.D.s.
It was a typical Saturday night in the Old Port, except for one thing. Everyone was dressed as Santa, or elves, or reindeer or some other Christmas character. It was the sixth annual Santacon bar crawl through the city, where folks got to blow off a little holiday steam.
“I think people in their 20s and in their 30s feel a lot of pressure for Christmas,” said Santacon organizer Sam Cousins as he walked away from a group photo op in Monument Square. “And it’s not what Christmas is about.”
Cousins estimated this year’s event drew upwards of 300 costumed participants. Their schedule took them to several Portland bars and restaurants, where food and drink specials awaited those in costume.
With a turnout that was roughly double of last year, Cousin’s predicted a seventh annual Santacon in 2014.