Hoboken, New Jersey’s SantaCon is an annual event where people in the area throw on their best Santa costume and come together with other Santas to celebrate the season crawling through the city’s best bars. A portion of the proceeds gathered by participating establishments are then donated to local families in need. It’s a way to combine all the best aspects of the season, but Saturday night’s Santacon quickly escalated from standard holiday merriment to drunken debauchery.
Mayor-elect Ravi Bhalla said this will be the last SantaCon the city will be hosting following a series of tweets from Police Chief Ken Ferrante describing the violence and the mayhem that erupted during the event. Area residents also expressed their disgust at the event as over a dozen arrests were made in bar fights throughout the city.
Ferrante writes, “The Saturday before Christmas and the Saturday of Hanukkah should be a time for families getting together at homes or restaurants and for people to shop. this day hurts most of the bars, restaurants and stores in town, except for a few.”
This year 13 bars participated in the city’s event and extra officers were assigned to patrol the scene. By noon, Ferrante says a handful of patrons were arrested, 30 were issued city summonses, and another 23 were taken to the hospital for treatment.
By the end of the event, 16 people would be placed under arrest, including one woman who punched an officer in the face. Ferrante tweeted, “How some try to paint this as a “CHARITABLE EVENT” is absolutely laughable.” It is still unclear how many donations were collected during the event for needy families.
Last year, WPIX reports that only five arrests were made throughout the annual bar crawl.