Annual Santa Pub Crawl Returns to the Oregon District
By Matt Clevenger
Bars in Dayton’s Oregon District are getting into the holiday spirit with their annual Santa Pub Crawl, Saturday, Dec. 11, collecting donations for the Toys for Tots program and offering no cover charge to anyone wearing a holiday-themed costume.
“It gets insanely busy,” Andy Rowe, assistant manager at Blind Bob’s Tavern said last week. “Almost everybody wears costumes and every bar is just filled to capacity. It should be a real madhouse for a little while down here.”
Blind Bob’s, the Dublin Pub, the Oregon Express, the Trolley Stop, Newcom’s, Bar-Tiki and the Tumbleweed Connection are all participating in the pub crawl, offering holiday drink specials and no cover for those in holiday costumes. The event starts off at the Dublin Pub at 5:30 p.m., and there will also be a costume contest with prizes for costumes in different categories. Pub crawl participants should bring a $10 unwrapped toy or monetary donation for Toys for Tots for admission into the event.
Toys can be dropped off at Blind Bob’s before the event and crawlers will meet at the Dublin Pub from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Oregon Express is the next stop, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., followed by Blind Bob’s Tavern from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., the Tumbleweed Connection from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m., the Trolley Stop from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m. and Bar-Tiki from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The pub crawl will end with a stop at Newcom’s Tavern from 12:30 a.m. until closing time.
“Most of the bars have music and some kind of Christmas drink special,” Rowe said. “We’ll be featuring hot cider and bourbon. Wes Tirey will be playing, and the Avery Set from Nashville.”
The Santa Pub Crawl started collecting Toys for Tots donations four years ago, and gathered several hundred toys for local children last year, according to organizers Brian Young and Matt Suwalski. The two work with a group of dedicated volunteers who help make the pub crawl possible, while local bars, restaurants and hotels have donated prizes. A local printer even donated posters to help publicize the event.
“Obviously, the fundraiser’s kind of the neat part,” Suwalski said. “You bring a $10 toy to donate, and then all the bars have agreed to let you in and not charge a cover that night. The Marines come out and collect all the toys, and then all those toys are donated through their Toys for Tots program.”
“It’s definitely a good cause,” he added. “The Marines will also have a box there where you can donate cash, and all of that is used to wrap and distribute the toys.”
The Santa Pub Crawl originally started in 2001, Suwalski explained, after an Australian exchange officer stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base first suggested it.
“That’s a funny story,” he said. “He got a group of us to do it that year, then he left and he passed the e-mail list to another guy the next year. He left and passed it to another guy, then that guy left and he told me I had to carry it on.”
As for the costume contest, Suwalski said it’s evolved over time. “Way back when it started, it was just people in Santa suits. It’s not cheap to go out and buy a Santa suit for one night, so a lot of people will dress as various elves or reindeers and stuff.”
“The last couple of years, we’ve had prizes in different categories,” he added. “That’s prompted people to start dressing up a little more, and try to get creative and think outside the box a little bit.”
This year’s Santa Pub Crawl will be on Saturday, Dec. 11, starting with the Dublin Pub at 5:30 p.m. and ending at Newcom’s Tavern. Admission to most Oregon District bars is free that night for anyone wearing a Christmas-themed costume. More information can be found at any of the participating bars.
2010 Santa Pub Crawl Schedule