WALLINGFORD — The streets downtown are expected to fill with dozens of residents dressed as Santa Claus Saturday as they visit bars and restaurants around town during the 5th annual SantaCon event.
The Spanish Community of Wallingford will host the event, slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. and run into the night. Participants can arrive dressed as Santa or another holiday character and are welcome to begin the route at any of the stops. Registration fee is $5 and guests must be 21 years old to participate.
SantaCon Coordinator Carol Switzer-Sadlowski said the locations were chosen because they are within walking distance of one another. When she started the event five years ago, Switzer-Sadlowski said she wanted to model it after similar Santa Cons in Hartford and New Haven, but with a charity aspect.
“We thought why can’t we do this in Wallingford,” Switzer-Sadlowski said. “We raise money and give back to the community in Wallingford,”
Last year, SantaCon Wallingford raised over $1,200 for SCOW.
After paying the registration fee and receiving a wristband, participants can walk to any of the six bars and restaurants participating to enjoy specialty drinks and enter a raffle. There will be featured raffle prizes and games at every stop. Prizes for Best Dressed and Most Creative will also be awarded.
Santa’s Route begins at Gaetanos’s at 1:30 p.m. and complimentary food will be provided. The route continues to Los Mariachi’s at 3:15 p.m., Tap and Vine at 4:30 p.m., Chris’s at 5:20 p.m., which will provide Stella’s Pizza for a $2 fee per person. The route ends at Grand Central at 7:30 p.m. then Lenny’s at 8:30 p.m.
Games will include a rubber duck scavenger hunt, in which rubber ducks dressed in holiday style are hidden throughout different stops. For a $1 registration, participants can go on the duck hunt and either turn them in right away for a prize or save the collected ducks until the end.
Participants are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items at any stop. Proceeds of the event will go to SCOW and Holiday for the Giving, a local nonprofit that provides families facing hardships with food and supplies during the holiday season. Holiday for the Giving Chairperson Jenn Lavoy said the donations made will go solely to families in town.
“We are specific to Wallingford families,” Lavoy said. “We collect toys for children 7 and under, toiletry items and non-perishables like pasta, rice canned fruits, and coffee.”
Next week the group will open out of the Parks and Recreation office to give away the donated items. Families that have children can visit and will receive a bag full of food and the children will get to look through toys available.
“It is amazing to me how the people in our community in Wallingford come out and support programs,” Lavoy said. “The more donations, the more we can serve families in need this time of year.”