This weekend was the annual Drunken Santa Rampage (aka SantaCon). It is put on by the Portland Cacophony society (who also do a city-wide pillow fights, bridezilla rampages, mad-hatter croquet parties with bowling balls in the park, etc). SantaCon is performed in other cities (I think SF was first), but Portland’s has been going strong for at least 10 years now. SantaCon is hundreds of folks that dress in Santa costumes then go on a 12-14 hour bender. They wander around town hitting dive bars around downtown. Yes – that’s right 12-14 straight HOURS. They start on Saturday at noon and go all afternoon/night/next morning.
It is decidedly not kid-friendly. Oh boy is it not kid friendly. I caught sight of the revelers around 9pm in my neighborhood (image 100’s of people dressed like Santa – both men and women) staggering down the streets and bouncing off street signs and newspaper vending boxes. Many folks carrying the requisite bad-Santa ‘brown paper bag with unknown bottle inside’ while singing modified versions of your favorite camp songs with key phrases interchanged with anatomical and reproductive references. There is even a printable PDF songbook on the site with such hits as “I’m dreaming of a White Russian” and that’s about the only one I could put on a public website (they are not safe for work reading).
Most of them seemed to be out for a night of some genuine fun, but there were some seriously sloshed folks in the crowd and debauchery of about every nature was definitely encouraged. Another friend of mine saw them later that night in the seedy part of town and mentioned that he saw Santas everywhere and in the worse possible shapes: passed out in alleyways, barfing in streets, and staggering in/out of bars and, shall we say, visiting “clothing optional dancers” clubs as far as the eye could see. I was hoping to get some pictures of this sad street parade but my 5D is in the shop getting a tune-up and cleaning after the fall shooting binge. It’s probably better I didn’t in hind-sight.
Ah Portland, you do keep the festive spirits bright.
More Santa references:
On the bright note, I-5 got opened up again this weekend. Now we can get between Seattle and Portland again without an extra 2-3 hour detour. Lots of truck drivers got hosed as their companies wouldn’t pay the extra mileage, so they were stuck waiting till it opened. Coast is still a bit of a mess, but cleanup is coming along and all the roads are open – and most utilities are all back. It was dubbed the “HoHo Blow” of 07 by one local radio station.