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SantaCon comes to Long Island

A group of Santas poses at the inaugural

A group of Santas poses at the inaugural Long Island SantaCon in Bayville. (Dec. 17, 2011) Credit: Mike Cusanelli

Two Santas walked into a Bayville bar.

No, it’s not the start of a bad joke.

The nationwide phenomenon that has people dressing up as Santa while bar-hopping made its way to Long Island Saturday, as Bayville’s Winter Wonderland Amusement Park and the ShipWreck Tavern sponsored the inaugural SantaCon.

Dressed from head to toe in their Santa garb, brothers Michael and James Horan were among those taking part in Long Island’s version of SantaCon.

“I was at SantaCon in New York City, and it was insane,” said James Horan, of Bayside, Queens. “I heard they were starting it up out here, so I decided to pop on over and see what it’s like. You know, have some fun, spread some Christmas cheer.”

Those participating in SantaCon were asked to donate non-perishable food and new toys to the Glen Cove Boys and Girls Club and Christ Church in Oyster Bay.

“SantaCon is about all Santas getting together for a convention. Everybody sticks together and has some drinks and food – it’s like a Santa party,” said Michael DiFelippo, the manager of the Bayville Winter Wonderland. “We’re expecting a good turnout.”

DiFelippo hopes that this will be the first of many SantaCons on the island.

“I’m out here to enjoy myself and to watch others have fun with us,” said Bobby Singh, of Queens.

The Guinness Book of World Records recorded the largest SantaCon at 13,000 people in Ireland during December 2006. While the turnout at Long Island’s SantaCon wasn’t record-breaking, the Santas in attendance did their best to get in the spirit of the season.

The Winter Wonderland Amusement Park also agreed to match all donations from attendees.

“I love coming here because they do a lot of beautiful things for the holidays,” said Nikolett Winter, 21, of Glen Cove, who was dressed as a reindeer. “It’s a great place to take your kids.”

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