AP file photoPass the punch: Santacon

Naked Santas to deck SF with red hats, smiles

From Big Wheel races down Vermont Street on Easter to costumes and floats during the famous Bay to Breakers foot race, San Franciscans can add another unique event to the list: naked Santas.

As part of this year’s Santacon, one longtime participant is attempting to set a world record by gathering the most naked Santas in one place during the annual ritual of a day of drinking.

Event organizer Tex Allen said the goal, though unorthodox, is meant to be a way of mixing up the almost two-decade-old San Francisco tradition.

“It’s a lark,” Allen said. “It’s really about creating your own fun, and that’s what Santacon is all about.”

Santacon began in 1994 in San Francisco and grew over the years to include festivals in 28 countries.

Now in its 17th year, the Santa-themed pub crawl is taking on North Beach on Dec. 10.

Around 3 p.m. at the final gathering, Allen aims to get most of the participants to strip off their festive attire — though hats, boots and gloves are allowed.

“Hopefully everyone will already be warm after a few hours of drinking,” he said. “We do a lot of ridiculous things in The City already; this is just one more thing.”

For those worried about stripping down, being naked in San Francisco is not unprecedented — or illegal. Nude men and women roam the streets during parades and protests, and one group often frequents the Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro.

The only rules that apply are for nudists who go inside a business, such as a restaurant.

They must place a towel on a seat under the bare bum, per a recent resolution from Supervisor Scott Wiener.

The gathering also will be an attempt to create a new mark in the Guinness World Records. Allen said he has already created an account, though Guinness officials said they are not aware of an application.

A Guinness representative said one is still possible and can be expedited, although she wasn’t certain if a nude Santa photo was too specific for a new category. But the group could go after existing ones.

The record for the world’s largest nude photo was set May 6, 2007, in Mexico City with 18,000 people, according to Guinness. A gathering of 13,000 (clothed) Santas set a record Dec. 9, 2007, in Ireland.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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