Hundreds of Santas to spread cheer in Asbury Park
The global Santacon Convention returns to Asbury Park for a third year on Dec. 13. Countless merry-makers dressed as Saint Nicholas will gather at noon at the Asbury Park Train Station to spread holiday cheer.
The event came to the city in the winter of 2012, as a way of infusing some fun into the beach community following the destruction left by Super Storm Sandy.
"A couple of us local residents decided to put one together in the area just to lift everyone's spirits and at that time the food bank was really struggling for donations, so we thought it would be a good way to bring some in and also raise the spirits of the local community," said Swayze Claus, one of the organizers.
Anyone who would like to participate in the free event is urged to bring at least two cans of food or non-perishable food items for the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. A donation table will be set up in front of Johnny Mac House of Spirits until at least 3 p.m.
"We're fortunate enough to have Asbury's own Jersey Shore Roller Girls this year as 'Santa's Little Helpers.' They'll be collecting the donations and guiding attendees between locations," Claus said.
He said a Coat and Toy Drive also will be taking place at Convention Hall.
"Over the course of the last two years we have collected almost 1,000 pounds of food. The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties really appreciated the donations," Claus said. "They didn't know about Santacon before we started bringing the food, but now they're well aware of the event and they're looking forward to more donations this year."
At least 500 people have confirmed that they plan to attend Santacon. Swayze Claus also advises participants of one more absolutely necessary requirement involving costumes.
"Just a Santa hat is not enough," he said. "You have to be in full costume. We do want everybody to really get in the spirit and participate and be creative, and be fun and festive."