Stumptown SantaCon: 'Getting random people together and being ridiculous'

PORTLAND, Ore. - Passengers on all the eastbound MAX lines had a big colorful surprise waiting just past Pioneer Place Mall on Saturday afternoon.

A cozy Christmas scene awaited them, innocently set up on the sidewalk, complete with a Santa disc jockey in his "chimney," a flaming hearth, Christmas tree, sleigh, and a grinning shirtless Santa perched on an armchair.

An array of Santas and Santa's helpers danced their way around the scene, paying homage to both the endless numbers of amazed pedestrians and the bustling bar behind them.

Stumptown's SantaCon left an impression on downtown Portland.

"This gives us the opportunity to showcase what is best about Portland, which is getting random people together and being ridiculous," Winnie Kane, a Stumptown Events board member, said with a grin.

"This is our first big event as an incorporated non-profit," Sean Batson, another board member, said. "We are hosting a pub crawl today to raise money for Family Dogs New Life Shelter, a no-kill pet shelter here in Portland."

All the bars along their route also donated a portion of their income from the event to local charities.

With more than nine stops in the heart of downtown, including Kells Irish Pub, The Barrel Room and four other bars, the "Keep Portland Weird" sign, and reindeer games in the Park blocks, the bar crawl was fun-packed with events from beginning to end. All the bars knew they were coming, as well as the police.

According to the event page on Facebook, the police were called while the group was at the second bar but the officers couldn't read through the short list of complaints without laughing. They wished the group a happy holiday and moved on to more important things.

"Everybody's been really great along our tour as far as supporting it," Kane said. "We're just really excited to get out here and put out some Portland Christmas spirit."

"And to keep Portland weird," Batson chimed in.

The non-profit event group will also be hosting a variety of bar crawls in the coming year. "You name it, we'll Con it," Kane said.

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