(2007 Santacon images taken by this Flickr photographer)
Just as the Portland Police pledge
to be better prepared to handle several thousand stinko paralytico Kris Kringles marching through downtown, the Portland Cacophony Society has apparently pulled the rug out from under them: WW
and other local media outlets (or at least the Merc)
have received notice that Santacon is moving to suburbia.
You'd better watch out, Hillsboro.
The Cacophony Society's web site has announced
for several weeks that the annual Red Horde march through Portland—which last year attracted more than 1,000 Santas, peaked with a few hundred of them looking like this
by 7 pm, and culminated with the WW
Screen Editor sitting on a bench on NW Fourth Avenue and trying not to vomit—will be held on Saturday, Dec. 6, starting at the MAX platform at the far west end of the Hillsboro line.
While it is entirely possible that this declaration is a ruse (the Cacophony kids are clever that way), an e-mail from "Christopher Kringle" today suggests the bearded men and women are actually headed for the 'burbs.
The justifications for the move are various, and it's hinted that the migration will eventually lead back to Jamison Square, but a major motivation is simple: Santa don't trust downtown cops.
Ok, we have only four rules at Santacon. Just four. Four tiny rules, and last year a few hundred Santas broke them. The thing is, our following those four tiny rules is what kept the cops off our backs the last decade or so, and this year they are pissed. As in "riot patrol, taser-to-the-nutsack" pissed. On top of that, Zombiewalk just sort of pissed them off more a couple weeks ago and they have not had time to cool off yet. Would they arrest us for being rowdy this year?
Unlikely. Would they shoot us in the kneecaps for giving them backtalk? Well, just a few of us. But the main issue is that they can simply stop us from having fun. Make us stand around sober a while. Ticket us for minor stuff like drinking in public or jaywalking. Make it, in other words, suck. The burbs are no where near as seasoned at buzzkilling huge groups as downtown PDX cops.
Oh, poor Hillsboro policemen. Dec. 6 is going to be a long day
The full text of the email below:
From: "Christopher Kringle"
Date: November 19, 2008 11:10:15 AM PST
Subject: santacon 2008 - Theme: Explore the Unknown!
Yes, we really actually are doing it! At long last, the poor wretches from the outer unexplored wastelands of Suburbia are going to get Xmas cheer! And Xmas presents! And Xmas hangovers! And Xmas we-had-to-call-a-divorce-lawyer-on-Monday!
Why, oh mighty Flying Spaghetti Monster, WHY? Simple: We want to.
There are many reasons to start (we never said that was where we planned to remain. Trust Santa) at the place we have scheduled, despite the fact that we may not speak the language, our shots may not be up to date and our passports will be likely eaten by goats when we try to return to civilization. What are these reasons, you may ask?
1) Strip clubs. Have you been to one downtown lately? The only clubs remaining have a capacity under 75 people (which means 175 Santas, naturally, as Santa can be stacked on top of Santa). Even if we fill every single actual booze-serving strip club in downtown, we can only put at the most, 1/3 of Santa in them at once. Suburban strip clubs are huge! We can settle in and make our own nations in them. Hail, Boobtopia! Secession from the oppressive homeland!
2) Cops. Ok, we have only four rules at Santacon. Just four. Four tiny rules, and last year a few hundred Santas broke them. The thing is, our following those four tiny rules is what kept the cops off our backs the last decade or so, and this year they are pissed. As in "riot patrol, taser-to-the-nutsack" pissed. On top of that, Zombiewalk just sort of pissed them off more a couple weeks ago and they have not had time to cool off yet. Would they arrest us for being rowdy this
year? Unlikely. Would they shoot us in the kneecaps for giving them backtalk? Well, just a few of us. But the main issue is that they can simply stop us from having fun. Make us stand around sober a while. Ticket us for minor stuff like drinking in public or jaywalking. Make it, in other words, suck. The burbs are no where near as seasoned at buzzkilling huge groups as downtown PDX cops.
3) Freakouts! Face it, Santa shocked the HELL out of people downtown in 1996. And really weirded them out in 2000. And sort of made them ponder in 2004. Now? Santa is as common a sight downtown as homeless guys peeing through open car windows. The burbs, however, are chock-full of people who only interact with the outside world through television and trolling for pedophiles on AOL. These fragile minds are ripe for the twisting. They may even bake us cookies if we sing carols!
4) Cars! Burbs have less traffic, should we want to close off a side street and set up a Slip -N- Slide. Or walk down the street without being squished. Or park cars even (and as an added bonus, cars can be parked in the burbs for many days without being ticketed, towed or having homeless guys pee through the window. Downtown? Move it or lose it, and a tow can cost $400!) Carpool with a sober person, arrange for a pick up later, or carry a bus ticket stapled to your nipple. Santa promises that at the end of the night, wherever it winds up, you will be within the Tri-Met service area and at least two bus lines back toward civilization (or at least a transit center).
5) Lastly, lots of people are worried about a lack of a bar twenty feet or less from the gathering point. Santa says don't be such a pussy. Trust Santa.
Old-school Santas may want to start at the small splinter groups (NONE WILL START DOWNTOWN, so please stop asking) in the SE area, far east area, north Portland area, Mostly South and slightly Westerly area and potentially one more. These splinters will be small (20-30 Santii) but will join back up with the horde in short order. You should know fellow Cacos in those areas so we won't put up contact info. Call around until you hit paydirt. Each small starting splinter will have a phone number that we will give out a few days ahead of time to the local coordinator to pass out to you. That number will be a recording with the start point (and probably the second or even third stops) for that particular splinter. It will go live no earlier than 10am on the 6th. It's not us trying to be snobs, just trying to keep the main group's numbers managable for the first chunk of the day. We promise the splinters will not miss out on much, and will make up for it through some strange planned activity. But when you meet back up with the horde, feel free to lie your ass off about all the amazing things you splinters got to do, like fly a fighter jet and see an identical twin sex show and learn to speak Gaelic.
Everyone else should plan to meet up with the wranglers at the spot we have been announcing all over the web for a month. If you value massive over silly, start here. If you can't find it yourself, tough. With the old-schoolers meeting up somewhat later, we should be able to handle the needs of 400-600 Santas for a few hours. No, you will not remain at the same place you will be starting. No, we will not rely on TriMet to move the entire horde en masse. No, we will not tell you the schedule so you can catch up later (get a Santa's cell phone number or something). Yes, there will be the Three Bs (Booze, Boobs and B. . . B. . . um, Breindeer Games). Wear comfy shoes, bring SMALL BILLS to pay for drinks at bars ('cause credit cards piss everyone off, and $20s just mean an $15 tip if you buy a $5 drink with them) and have your emergency contact phone number written on your arm. Then follow the red blur in front of you.
(a note on the comfy shoes: we still somehow managed to keep it Deathmarch-free this year, but there is still a bunch of walking over the 12 hours. No way around that. Since we won't be downtown, the wussy "hop a bus home for an hour to change shoes" concept won't work as well.)
(ANOTHER note: if you bring a sleigh, plan to move it yourlself. People we can handle, shopping carts you are on your own. And if you try to push it the entire way you will last . . . about 20 minutes. Best to leave it home this year.)