On the Eighth Day of December.
And from all cross the State,
We invite people to the City.
To come celebrate.
To dress up, to meet up.
To party, to dine.
To drink up, to make out.
Its SantaCon Time.
MANCHESTER, NH – Santa has made a bar list, and he’s checking it twice – just to make sure everyone knows what’s on tap for Santacon 2018 – set this year for Dec. 8.
It’s a festive tradition that began five years ago when a group of friends decided it was time to celebrate the season with a good old-fashioned pub crawl.
Neal Brown, co-owner of The Shaskeen, qualifies as ringleader of this seasonal trend, and does not deny being the mastermind behind ramping up the joy of donning your holiday best for a bar-centric crawl – be it a Santa suit or something more creative.
“It started out with myself and a few of my Irish friends, just for laughs,” Brown says, unable to disguise his own native Irish brogue.
This year’s Santacon begins at The Shaskeen at 4 p.m. before the party moves on to six more designated stops. Revelers get a wristband which entitles them to special Santacon deals at each stop. You can sign up via Facebook and still have plenty of time to put together your outfit. Or, just come as you are, says Brown. It’s all about community – competitive Santa suits are optional.
This year’s pub crawl benefits the Manchester Animal Shelter. Participants are asked to make a donation to the cause, or bring something from the shelter’s Wish List, which is available on Amazon.com.
Last year Santacon MHT raised $300 in cash and 50 bags of donated clothes for Liberty House.
“I’ve heard from other bar owners that it’s a good return, and we try to keep the bars close together just in case of snow,” Brown says. He notes that despite a Santacon snowstorm last year, 150 people showed up for the pub crawl.
“I was surprised by the turnout in the storm,” Brown says.
“We attract a wide range of Santas, there’s lots of creativity. One of my favorites was a vintage Mr. and Mrs. Claus – they were dressed in black-and-white,” he says.
The crawl begins just around dinner time and wraps up well before last call.
“That way there’s still time for people to go home and get some sleep before they get up for church in the morning,” says Brown, with a straight face, although his Irish eyes are totally smiling.
4 p.m. – The Shaskeen Pub and Restaurant
5:30 p.m. – The FARM Bar & Grille, Manchester NH
6:30 p.m. – The Pint Publik House
7:30 p.m. – Bonfire Country Bar Manchester
8:30 p.m. – Strange Brew Tavern
9:30 p.m. – Penuche’s Music Hall
10-30 p.m. – The Wild Rover
*Please note: in the event of a massive turnout, we are establishing plans to break the crawl into groups, and pairing up the bars on our nice list.