SantaCon Comes To Peekskill For Second Straight Year

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Bartenders Laura Hinkley, left,  Shay Kilby, right, joined Division Street Grill owner Arne Paglia at the bar before SantaCon crawlers arrived.
Bartenders Laura Hinkley, left, Shay Kilby, right, joined Division Street Grill owner Arne Paglia at the bar before SantaCon crawlers arrived. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – It’s hard to imagine a better way to get into the holiday spirit than parading around pubs and bars dressed like Santa Claus, elves and reindeer.

Enter SantaCon.

SantaCon is a pub-crawl where participants dressed as Santa—or other creative holiday-inspired attire—receive special discounts in participating bars. These events have become a global phenomenon and are done in 271 locations in 37 countries, including unlikely destinations such as Da Nang, Vietnam, Busan, South Korea, Dubai and China.

As part of the “Peekskill Makes Me Merry” campaign, the Peekskill Business Improvement District (BID) found it imperative to bring back SantaCon for a second straight year.

“It’s a great way to pull people downtown and explore the things we believe make Peekskill a unique destination,” said Peekskill BID Executive Director Jason Angell. “Peekskill is becoming known for its restaurants and pubs. We want to promote the ‘foodie’ aspect of Peekskill as much as possible.”

This year’s Peekskill SantaCon started the night on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. at Division Street Grill—the second year in a row the restaurant was held as the event’s first stop. The next stops were 12 Grapes Music & Wine Bar, Bean Runner Café, Birdsall House, Ruben’s Mexican Café, Quiet Man Public House and, to end the night, Gleason’s.

“We weren’t ready for it last year,” said Division Street Grill owner Arne Paglia. “We underestimated how many people would come out for it. This year, we’re ready.”

Paglia even brought in an extra bartender for the expected 45 minutes of heavy bar traffic.

“I’m sort of a special SantaCon guest bartender,” said Shay Kilby, who was dressed in a Santa outfit. “I’m very excited to be here. You get to dress up and act silly. It’s a great way to relax and remove yourself from the stress holidays often bring.”

The first two crawlers to arrive were Peekskill residents Lisa Travis and Maureen LaFountain. Both were first-time SantaCon crawlers.

“We are ready to make it through the whole thing,” said Travis. “I think it will be a ton of fun to see everyone’s costumes and meet new people at different bars.”

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This is what Peeskill has become: a place to eat, drink and be merry all night long. I sure hope those Santas had designated reindeer drivers to take them home that night. City officials and the BID encourage this type of transient business. They much prefer bars, restaurants and tattoo parlors to any kind of legitimate retail which accounts for the fact that there's virtually no place to shop in the Downtown area. Foster & Co. refuse to listen to the consultants they paid for with taxpayer money who are telling them how important it is to retain and recruit retail businesses within the BID.