By CBSNewYork Team

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)SantaCon is back in New York City this year.

Santa Clauses flocked to Times Square on Saturday morning to kick off the event.

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From a Santa giving out free hugs and elbow bumps to the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who, people with all kinds of costumes were in the crowd to welcome back the annual bar crawl.

“After such a year inside, I’m going to every crawl, every event, I don’t care. I’m getting dressed up for everything,” said a woman dressed up as Cindy Lou Who.

The New York holiday staple is making its comeback with COVID cases in the city on the rise.

“At this point, I mean, what can we do? We’re going to enjoy ourselves. Some people might get sick, but we got vaccinated. If you didn’t, you’re taking your chances,” said “Cindy Lou Who.”

A SantaCon map online lists 50-plus venues from Midtown to the East Village.

“Everybody has to have their vax card. We’re totally friendly with the police and all the rules of New York City, so venues are allowing people to come in if they’re vaccinated,” one organizer said.

One venue told CBS2’s Leah Mishkin this is a big financial boost after a tough lockdown. Long lines could be seen outside many of the spots on the bar crawl.

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“I think it’s a bad idea because we saw with the anime con, like, Omicron got spread,” a woman named Peggy said.

Some New Yorkers find SantaCon as appealing as a cockroach in your apartment.

A SantaCon attendee dressed in a cockroach costume told CBS2, “I’m just here to spread the word you can’t kill SantaCon, just like me.”

“I’m not a fan because I worked in the restaurants and they like to get drunk and just kind of a nuisance,” Peggy said.

There was even a change.org petition with more than 800 signatures to cancel SantaCon, saying it leaves behind a “trail of fistfights, vomit, urine and garbage.”

“A few years ago, as a New Yorker, I thought it was absolutely annoying because it would just be packed up in the subway, but today, I’m actually happy they’re back,” New York City resident Renee Cummings said. “SantaCon being back says New York City is back for good.”

So far, there have not been reports of any arrests, unlike in previous years.

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CBS2’s Leah Mishkin contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team