Santa as an athlete is a hard sell, but the Running of the Santas Festival and Pub Crawl on Dec. 15 in New Orleans is shaping up to be a good time whether you’re into physical fitness or not.
While it’s not promoted as a race, organizer Bob Dauterive finds it funny that some folks think it’s a hard-core competition.
“I’ve had people contact me to ask, ‘How should I train for this?’ I said, ‘Train? We only go three blocks!’ The goal is to finish, not your run time,” Dauterive said, “You’re not only having fun, but you’re helping a worthwhile cause at the same time, especially at the Christmas season.”
The cause for the New Orleans Running of the Santas event is to benefit the That Others May Live Foundation, which is a group that Dauterive said helps provide educational scholarships and other assistance to families of U.S. Air Force search and rescue personnel who are killed on duty.
“I know there are a lot of worthwhile causes in New Orleans, but this particular charity is close to me because my son-in-law was an Air Force search and rescue pilot. So it’s important because I hope they never have to raise money for my family,” he said.
Although it raises funds for a serious purpose, Dauterive thinks this second New Orleans Running of the Santas will be twice as much fun as the first year, which had an impressive turnout of party goers.
“Last year, we had approximately 900 people participate in the event as the first year in New Orleans, and this year we’re looking at doubling that number, somewhere between 1,800 to 2,000 people,” Dautrieve said.
Dautrieve knew that NOLA crowds would love it when he saw Philadelphia’s Running of the Santas three years ago.
“The whole time I was there, I was thinking, this is a natural for New Orleans. It contained what I refer to as the holy trinity – music, booze and costumes. In New Orleans when you put those three together – it’s a party,” he said.
The festivities officially kick off at the South Pole, which is Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar, at 3 p.m., building up to the 6 p.m. three block race to Generations Hall for a North Pole party and costume contest.
“We had reindeer, we had a couple dressed as Christmas trees, we had elves – you name it,” Dautrieve said. “You know the variety of costumes is wide open, but the more folks in costumes, the more fun it is.”
Besides costumes, the North Pole party at Generations has live music by the Category 6 band, which never disappoints anyone wanting to get wild as they keep the generous spirit of the holidays alive.
While the charitable cause certainly makes the Running of the Santas event special, Category 6 singer Kris LaCoste also loves giving a crowd an unforgettable night to get them away from their everyday lives.
“It’s important for people who are going through hard times in their lives to get away from the norm and have a fun night out,” LaCoste said, “The crowd can expect a high energy, party rock show that ‘them Santas’ won’t forget.”
Running of the Santas event is Saturday, Dec. 15 in the New Orleans warehouse district. For tickets or more info go to RunningoftheSantas.com/new-orleans/