NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — SantaCon, New York City’s annual bar crawl featuring thousands of Santas, will be toning things down this year.
The event is scheduled to be held Saturday, the same day as the “Millions March” — which is expected to draw thousands to the city as protesters demand the Justice Department file charges in the apparent police chokehold death of Eric Garner.READ MORE: Kids Enjoy Nature, Create Works Of Art At Paterson's 10th Annual Art In The Park Event
“Due to the planned protests this Saturday, SantaCon is scaling back this weekend’s festivities in order to create the lowest possible impact on the city we love while still maintaining our glorious traditions this holiday season,” organizers said in a statement on the SantaCon website.
“SantaCon has respect and compassion for the hard-working municipal organizations of NYC, as well as for the important civil rights demonstrations currently shaping our city’s future. Thus, we are changing the format of this year’s SantaCon,” the statement continued.
Organizers are expected to announce the bar and venues participating in this year’s event Thursday evening.
They are asking those attending the event to patronize those establishments only.
“If a venue isn’t on the list, it’s because they don’t want you there,” organizers said. “Please move around throughout the day from venue to venue to spend most of your time inside, not on the streets.”
For now it remains unclear where the event will be held.
SantaCon has been criticized by some for being too rowdy for several years.READ MORE: Thousands Participate In Return Of Valerie Fund Walk And 5K
In November, when local leaders in Bushwick got wind that the Santas wanted to drop in there, they said no way.
“There have been some negative activities in the past, the organizers tell me they don’t condone that, I don’t condone that,” Siegel told WCBS 880 on Wednesday.
In a message to all Santas, organizers said, “It’s more important this year than ever to pace yourself, watch out for your elves and stay safe. Fighting, public urination and vandalism are unacceptable and a great way to ensure that there will be no SantaCon in 2015.”
The event’s organizers have also said that they’ve raised tens of thousands for good causes over the year, saying, “SantaCon’s charity component is not just white bearded lip service.”
Meanwhile, Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road will be banning alcohol for most of the weekend “to maintain orderly travel and safe station and terminal operations” during SantaCon.MORE NEWS: Feast Of San Gennaro Parade Returns To Little Italy
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