PHOTOS: Thousands Have Fun in the Sun at SantaCon 2017

Alice Halbert dressed up as Harley Quinn and Wendy Hershey at SantaCon 2017 at San Francisco's Union Square. Halbert has been going for years, but 2017 was Hershey's first time.

Alice Halbert dressed up as Harley Quinn and Wendy Hershey at SantaCon 2017 at San Francisco's Union Square. Halbert has been going for years, but 2017 was Hershey's first time. (Ryan Levi/KQED)

Christmas is still weeks away, and the weather in San Francisco is beautiful. But that didn’t stop thousands of people from converging on San Francisco’s Union Square on Saturday dressed for the North Pole.

It’s the annual SantaCon, where thousands show up dressed in their holiday best — usually as Santa Claus or an elf. San Francisco’s SantaCon combines a toy drive through the Marine Toys for Tots program and a pub crawl around the city. More than people 2,500 RSVP’d for the event on Facebook.

The sea of red outfits was a diverse mix of people of different ages, races, ethnicities and even religions.

“You’re with a bunch of strangers, but you’re also in a group,” said Alice Halbert, who dressed as a Harley Quinn-inspired Santa.

SantaCons will be held in more than 150 cities across the world this year, according to its website, including 22 California cities.

Thousands of people converged on San Francisco's Union Square on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 for SantaCon 2017. The daylong event is part-toy drive and part pub crawl.
Thousands of people converged on San Francisco’s Union Square on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 for SantaCon 2017. The daylong event is part toy drive and part pub crawl. (Ryan Levi/KQED)
Three-year-old Ocean Connelly meets a fellow fan of the film, "Nightmare Before Christmas" at SantaCon 2017 in San Francisco. Connelly's mom says he loves his Jack Skellington outfit and even wore it on Thanksgiving Day in 90 degree heat at Disneyland.
Three-year-old Ocean Connelly meets a fellow fan of the film, “Nightmare Before Christmas” at SantaCon 2017 in San Francisco. Connelly’s mom says he loves his Jack Skellington outfit and even wore it on Thanksgiving Day in 90 degree heat at Disneyland. (Ryan Levi/KQED)
Neil Macapagal at SantaCon 2017 at Union Square in San Francisco. He says it took "a day or two" to build his ride-along Santa.
Neil Macapagal at SantaCon 2017 at Union Square in San Francisco. He says it took “a day or two” to build his ride-along Santa. (Ryan Levi/KQED)
Philip Jang (center with beard), Jenny Jang (to his left) and their daughters Jasmine and Tiffany Jang (in the cart) celebrate SantaCon 2017 with friends at San Francisco's Union Square. Philip says the girls already had their Santa outfits but he and Jenny had to buy new ones for the event.
Philip Jang (center with beard), Jenny Jang (to his left) and their daughters Jasmine and Tiffany Jang (in the cart) celebrate SantaCon 2017 with friends at San Francisco’s Union Square. Philip says the girls already had their Santa outfits, but he and Jenny had to buy new ones for the event. (Ryan Levi/KQED)
Mattia Edwards and Jessica Gaines show off the toys they plan to donate at San Francisco's Union Square for SantaCon 2017. Edwards called the event, "Christmas for adults."
Mattia Edwards and Jessica Gaines show off the toys they plan to donate at San Francisco’s Union Square for SantaCon 2017. Edwards called the event, “Christmas for adults.” (Ryan Levi/KQED)
Andrew and Jennifer Fischer bring their mixed-religion marriage to SantaCon 2017 at San Francisco's Union Square. The Fischers say they've been going to the event on and off for years and love seeing the creativity of San Francisco on display. Andrew hands out dreidels and chocolate Hanukkah gelt while Jennifer hands out Christmas treats.
Andrew and Jennifer Fischer bring their mixed-religion marriage to SantaCon 2017 at San Francisco’s Union Square. The Fischers say they’ve been going to the event on and off for years and love seeing the creativity of San Francisco on display. Andrew hands out dreidels and chocolate Hanukkah gelt while Jennifer hands out Christmas treats. (Ryan Levi/KQED)
Dan Beckmann and Chris Lynch wear their special Christmas suits for SantaCon 2017 at San Francisco's Union Square.
Dan Beckmann and Chris Lynch wear their special Christmas suits for SantaCon 2017 at San Francisco’s Union Square. (Ryan Levi/KQED)
Sam and Francisco Presley just after changing into their high heels for SantaCon 2017 at San Francisco's Union Square. They said they wanted to come out to see the creativity because they didn't have Christmas in their home country of Iran.
Sam and Francisco Presley just after changing into their high heels for SantaCon 2017 at San Francisco’s Union Square. They said they wanted to come out to see the creativity because they didn’t have Christmas in their home country of Iran. (Ryan Levi/KQED)
Eve Sotomayor and Scott Merrick dress as elves at SantaCon 2017 in San Francisco's Union Square. Sotomayor and Merrick know each other from South Carolina and both recently moved to the city. Merrick said when they heard about SantaCon, they decided, "We'll do that instead of going on a hike."
Eve Sotomayor and Scott Merrick dress as elves at SantaCon 2017 in San Francisco’s Union Square. Sotomayor and Merrick know each other from San Francisco and both recently moved to the city. Merrick said when they heard about SantaCon, they decided, “We’ll do that instead of going on a hike.” (Ryan Levi/KQED)
Chico Cronin, Amanda Pizzimenti and Kat Langer wait outside a bar near Union Square during SantaCon 2017.
Chico Cronin, Amanda Pizzimenti and Kat Langer wait outside a bar near Union Square during SantaCon 2017. (Ryan Levi/KQED)
PHOTOS: Thousands Have Fun in the Sun at SantaCon 2017 9 December,2017Ryan Levi

Author

Ryan Levi

Ryan Levi is a reporter and producer at KQED News and the host of the weekly Q’ed Up podcast. Ryan started at KQED as an intern where he reported on-air and online for The California Report, The California Report Magazine and KQED’s daily newscasts. Prior to joining KQED in 2016, Ryan was a general assignment reporter and producer at KBIA-FM, the NPR member station in Columbia, Missouri. Ryan reported on Columbia’s renewed fight against homelessness as well as coordinating the station’s coverage of the annual True/False Film Fest, one of the top documentary film festivals in the country. Ryan has also written about film, food, books, religion, theater and other topics for various publications. You can find Ryan on Twitter @ryan_levi.

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