SantaCon made its return to Manhattan on Saturday after the annual holiday bar crawl was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
“I do feel safe and as someone who is vaccinated and I got the booster as well, I feel less anxious about contracting COVID-19,” New Jersey resident Bernadette Fausto said.
Organizers urged participants to obey the city’s vaccine requirements.
The event began at 10 a.m. at the Christmas Spectacular on 40th Street and Broadway.
Eyewitness News spoke to a mom and daughter duo from Buffalo heading into Yard House Bar.
“It’s amazing. I never went to a SantaCon but it’s amazing,” mother Arlene Reusch said.
“I went to Buffalo last week but I’m excited for this one,” daughter Rachel Reusch said.
While some more seasoned revelers brought their own entertainment, others like a group of interns from Munich, Germany experienced SantaCon for the first time. Here’s what they were excited about the most.
“Probably having a couple of drinks and getting into the Christmas spirit I guess,” Thomas Quach said.
“I have no idea about this event. He invited me and I have my costume on so let’s see,” Jannik Heinleinn said.
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Meanwhile, the MTA is doing its part to make sure things don’t get too “festive.”
“There may be riders coming back to the train for the first time since the start of the pandemic,” MTA Police Chief Joseph McGrann said. “It is important we do everything we can to maintain orderly travel so that everyone can enjoy their holiday plans by getting to their destinations smoothly and on time.”
The agency banned alcohol on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains and platforms until noon on Sunday.
Extra MTA officers will be out in force confiscating alcohol and giving out tickets to any naughty Santas who break the rules.
Partying aside, donations have poured in. Over the last decade, more than $750,000 have been raised for multiple charities.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.