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...but who checks to see if Santa has been naughty or nice? The Return of Santarchy

Post by Jesse Russell on 11/20/2007 10:36am

santarchy_logo.jpgThis will be the third year dane101 has been a willing participant in the annual Santarchy event (a.k.a. Santacon - see international website) that has grabbed Madison by the antlers the first weekend of every December since 2003 (this year it will be held on a Friday - December 7). The first year dane101 hopped on the bus the Santas wound up at the Chazem (then known as the Elvehjum) and Doctor Evermore's Sculpture Garden before arriving downtown. Last year the Santas went straight to the bars - Mickey's to the Come Back then crashing Cafe Montmartre's annual Upsidedown Christmas Tree Party then caroling at the Overture Center for the hoity-toities and finally ending up at the Pub (with a handful of Santas catching a cab out to the Inferno to end the night).

The 2007 Santarchy event kicks-off at the High Noon this year as Gomeroke turns into Santa-oke. The event starts at 5 p.m. Friday. Costumes are strongly encouraged by Santa. Where will the Santas go from there? Unknown. As usual the majority of the Santarchy itinerary for 2007 is under tight wraps until the day of the event because, much like the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expects Santarchy. In fact, if one is to take Monty Python seriously Santarchy also employs many of the same tools "...such diverse elements as fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms!" (minus the Pope...and only an element of fear in the sense that a childhood icon has been turned inside out...okay, and if by "ruthless efficiency" one means "drunken efficiency"...then you're spot on).

Previous write-ups on Santarchy for dane101:

2005 Preview: Close up your chimney - Santarchy is coming
2005 Aftermath: Tonight on FOX: When Santas Attack
2006 Preview: Duck and Cover, Santarchy Returns to Madison

A message from Madison's Santarchy founder:

Hello everyone - I wanted to let you know that our annual Santa party is happening again this year on Friday December 7th & will start off with "Santa-oke" (i.e. karaoke with The Gomers) at the High Noon Saloon from 5p-8p. We'll have copies of the song book full of carols that are naughty & nice, and want you to come out and show your red & white colors. After starting/gathering at the High Noon Saloon we'll go to other spots around Madison after the Santa-oke stops around 8p.

Please extend this information other Santa's you know - the more Santa's the merrier!

Some of you may be wondering what I'm talking about...this is the 5th annual SantaCon event in Madison, and Santarchy-based events have been happening across the US (& across the world) for the last 14 years. It's an opportunity to dress up like Santa, get together with other Santa's and have fun. Sometimes it's a bar crawl, sometimes it's like a flash mob. Every city's event is different. There's a more in-depth history available at if you're interested.. Santa suits are available at several stores around town, or via mail order (see for links). Don't want to buy a Santa Suit? Make your own! Go to St. Vinny's for costume items (or anything red). Or be an elf. Or an Xmas tree. But get into the spirit and come and have fun with us - it's always a very good time.

Other tips: some folks like to have small gifts to hand out when they're dressed as Santa - which can be lumps of charcoal for bad boys & girls, or very cheap toys for those that are good. This part is up to you - thrift stores are great places to find inexpensive tokes that you can give out, and some people just grab stuff at home that they want to get rid of (for example - I once gift wrapped up a can of Ensure and a can of Tuna that had been in my cupboards for years).

The main thing about this event is that it is fun - and anything you can think of (costumes, accessories, gifts, etc.) within that guiding principle is fine with us. Some folks like to be a "character" Claus - like CEO Santa Claus, or Santa Monica (a bum), or Kiss Kringle (with makeup ala Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley) - there are no restrictions, so be whatever type of Santa (or Elf) you want to be. Looking through the pictures on the website can be good fodder for inspiration.

Ho Ho Oh Oh,

Santa Vogt
santa on rooftop smoking  203.jpg

Jesse Russell


Jesse was born and raised in Connecticut, began blogging in 1997, and moved to Madison in 2003. In 2005, he co-founded dane101 along with Kristian Knutson and Shane Wealti. In addition to helping nearly a dozen contributors run this website he's helped launch various events in the city including What's Your Damage?!, the MadPubQuiz of Awesomeness, the Fire Ball Masquerade, Dane101's Freakin' Halloweekend, and more.