NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Santa Claus is coming to town, thousands of Santas actually.

Swarms of festive drinkers – all sporting long, white beards, boots, and jolly red suits – are hitting the streets for SantaCon Saturday.

The annual pub crawl kicked off at 10 a.m.

More than 60 bars are officially participating in the event and plan to donate part of their sales to charity.

While it might be fun to see hordes of jolly St. Nicks and scantily clad elves rolling down the streets of Manhattan, some locals call the holiday extravaganza a nuisance.

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“They’re running around, partying, half of them are naked, out of control,” Jeff Marcus argued.

At the base of the Flatiron Building in Manhattan, more than 1,000 people kicked off the annual SantaCon holiday bar crawl in 2016. (Credit: CBS2)

Local watering holes defended their festive customers’ right to party.

“It’s always been a good crowd that comes in dressed up having a good time,” bar manager Ashlee Rogers told CBS2.

Despite the good intentions, local officials are taking steps to make sure New York streets don’t get overrun with intoxicated and over-served Santas. Police are even making a list (and checking it twice) detailing how pub crawlers can end up on the NYPD’s naughty list this year.

Last year the NYPD issued 150 summonses, mostly for drinking in public.

Both Metro North and the LIRR will have a 24-hour alcohol ban starting at noon on Saturday.

NJ TRANSIT won’t allow any beverages on its trains or buses for the day.


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