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Santacon Portland Business Report


According to the first bartender at the Spirit of 77, the only thing to do in the swarm of Santacon is serve everyone.

Really fast.

“It doesn’t show well if you can’t handle the surge.”

He said it with a confident edge, like it wasn’t his first Santacon. And he was up for the challenge.

Every Santa in the house looked happy. A rowdy howling happy with joyful overtones. The red suits kept it jolly. The mood never wavered from one venue to the next, but it did swerve.

Jolly also colored the instructions on dealing with policemen.

Police? Not a precaution for most events, but still a good idea.


Big Red crossing I-84 with Big Pink on the right.

Without reindeer it’s hard for Santa to stay on one side of the street or the other. The remedy? Crossing MLK, one of the busiest streets in the state, parade-style.

No crossing light? No problem. Drivers stopped to take pictures of Portland’s red suited ambassadors all day.

The Halloween/Christmas/Mardi Gras of Santacon changes the city every December.

That happens in a crowd of red. From eastside to west it was a crimson reflection of cheer.

The police advisory started sounding better.

For economic development Santacon cruised the craft fair inside the convention center. It was packed when they showed up. Handmade gifts are thriving.


More than a bar crawl, Santacon revives a chilly, gray, day.

And there’s always the kid-question. It happens every year.

“Are you really Santa?”

You hear it and hope Santa has the right answer.

The right answer is, “I’m one of Santa’s helpers,” and keep moving. You don’t want to complicate things.

If you stay with the Santacon crowd, you’re swept along in the current. Turn the corner toward Produce Row Cafe on foot and the climb back to the party gets harder.

Whether they rock all day and all of the night, or hit early bird baby boomer 12 pm-5 pm shift, Santacon gives Christmas great Santas and helpers.

All they do is give Portland their best.

And clean up afterward. That’s always good for business.




About David Gillaspie
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