Local bars and restaurants came together to raise money for New Beginnings Community Center for The Brendan House Project with a holiday-themed pub crawl dubbed SantaCon on December 6.
Nine bars and restaurants participated, and the expected attendance was between 200 and 400. The actual attendance was well over 800 people.
Participants dressed as a variety of characters from Buddy The Elf to the Grinch to Santa Claus. Each pub crawler purchased bracelets from local vendors that entitled them to special promotions.
“No one could have predicted there would be 800 people dressed as Santa Claus on a rainy evening on Main Street,” said Dianne Castaldi of The Suffolk Theater. “It was incredible.”
A check presentation was held December 12 at Suffolk Theater.
“We’re still collecting and tallying, but so far we’ve collected over $8,400,” said Nicole Evers. “I think we’ll break $9,000.”
Evers was the point person for the event, coordinating with all nine participating businesses.
“Downtown Riverhead is really an amazing place and it was really great to see all these businesses full of people having fun,” Evers said. “The fact that we got to raise money for good cause makes it all the better!”
All net proceeds from SantaCon will be going to New Beginnings to support their project, The Brendan House, a home for people with long
term cognitive issues due to traumatic brain injury. New Beginnings Community Center is committed to an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of traumatic brain injury and other physical and cognitive disabilities, and to help develop rehabilitation and management resources currently lacking in these areas.
Next year’s SantaCon is expected to be twice as big. “We were dipping our toes in the water with this one,” said Bunnii Buglione who headed up marketing for the event. “Now we know there’s a crowd for it, and it’s a big one. This introduced a whole new demographic to our community, SantaCon showed us that Main Street Riverhead isn’t just a charming safe place to be, but also trendy and fun.”