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SantaCon canceled in Long Beach, Rockville Centre

Event organizers complain there's no Christmas spirit in the city and village, but officials are worried about crowds and security on a busy holiday shopping weekend.

Long Beach City Hall on Dec. 17, 2014.

Long Beach City Hall on Dec. 17, 2014. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Hundreds of Santa Clauses will not be coming to Long Beach and Rockville Centre this weekend after officials gave the boot to the latest iterations of SantaCon.

Organizers, who had sold tickets and planned a bar crawl, conceded Tuesday that their pre-holiday revelry had been disinvited by officials and residents surprised by plans for SantaCon.

The Long Island-based organizer, Unique Bar Crawls, had planned a bar crawl for Saturday in Rockville Centre, but it  was scrapped under pressure from village officials and business owners and relocated to Long Beach.

The Long Island SantaCon has been held for two years in Farmingdale, where partygoers — many in Santa costume — purchase wristbands for deals on drinks and food at participating restaurants. Organizers said on their website they were expanding the event Dec. 22 to Rockville Centre, with a portion of proceeds going to charity.

Rockville Centre and Long Beach officials said they were not contacted by organizers for Long Island SantaCon, which  has not required a permit. Participating bars in both locations pulled out of the event, officials said.

“Well, there seems to be no Christmas spirit from both the village of Rockville Centre and the residents of Long Beach,” organizers said on their website.  They did not return calls for comment about the cancellation, but said online that their event was wrongly mistaken for the rowdy bar crawls in New York City and Hoboken, New Jersey.

Julie Scully, a spokeswoman for Rockville Centre, said the mayor and board members spoke with businesses  that were concerned about safety and disruption during the last weekend of the holiday shopping season.

“The bar owners had concerns,” Scully said. “To have an event where we’re going to bring hundreds or a thousand people, we need to have proper security, and you’re killing the downtown business district.”

Long Beach officials said they learned of the pivot to the city’s West End when a  flyer appeared Sunday on Facebook.

Michael Tangney, Long Beach acting city manager and police commissioner, said six Long Beach bars had signed up to participate, with about 240 people preregistered. All businesses pulled out by Tuesday afternoon after hearing from the police department and the city’s West End Neighbors Civic Association, Tangney said.

“This had the potential to have more people than we have space for,” Tangney said. “The potential of up to a thousand people would have required an additional 15 to 20 cops on overtime. It would have been a $10,000 to $20,000 operation.”

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