San Francisco Attempts to Shut Down SantaCon
Santacon. What was once a counterculture performance against consumerism and holiday tradition in San Francisco (scroll to bottom for history), has now turned into more of a St Patrick’s Day in red velvet, taking place in cities all over the world. But in modern-day San Francisco, anything that involves big crowds, alcohol, costumes, and young people having fun, eventually comes under attack by officials. Just like when City Hall castrated Bay to Breakers by taking away its floats, park access, and general creativity, they have now begun to directly attack the massive city-wide ‘santarchy’, known commonly as SantaCon.
According to an email and FB post from Santa Tom (a Santa who helps organize SantaCon’s toy drive each year):
“The City and County of San Francisco have decreed that in their view, SantaCon has no place in San Francisco and the gathering should be shut down.” According to them, “there is a safety issue and Union Square cannot hold the people”.
SF Parks & Rec apparently also, “has decreed that there will be no amplified sound so there will be no Best Dressed Contests and no Singalong” at Union Square this year. Furthermore, Tom was informed that “the event is not, and will not be, sanctioned by the City and that if you do show up you will be asked to leave.” (see his complete FB post here.)
Ironically, Santacon was always meant to be a counterculture, unpermitted, protest against the establishment. So…
Therefore! We would like to inform you that the City’s attempts to cancel Santacon are so far, ho-ho-hopeless. Santacon will go on, Saturday December 8th from 12pm -6pm at Union Square (and all over the city). SantaCon would like to remind you to “Please bring a new, unwrapped toy that can be donated to the Toys for Tots program. Last year we had well over 10,000 folks and collected 764 toys. This year we want to beat that number! Looking forward to seeing all of you there!!!”
Saturday, Dec 8th
12pm – 6pm
Union Square, SF
More Santacon info here
(*Disclaimer: If you are annoyed by crowds, costumes, Krampus, elves, reindeer and/or drunkenness, don’t go.)
Santacon started in San Francisco back in 1994 as a counterculture prank by the loveable pranksters known as the SF Cacophony Society. It was meant to be a day of performance art/social activism, that would get people to stop and think about the holidays, and maybe look at how ridiculous their traditions and consumer programming is around Christmas. SF Santacon was inspired by a group of Danish social activists and performance artists who first marched and demonstrated in Copenhagen dressed as Santa to protest the “bourgeois consumer terror of Christmas” in the late 1970’s. The Danish Santas created really progressive demonstrations, they roller skated down mainstreet with a massive goose float, went into a bank and demanded millions of dollars for public housing, they stormed the Labor Department and staged its destruction with pitchforks, smoke bombs, and pickaxes. Of course the government freaked out, but unemployment was really high across Europe in the late 1970’s, the oil crisis was on, there were power and supply shortages, and these Santas wanted to say something about it.
Happy Holidays San Francisco…