San Francisco is a city with a penchant for public nudity. So, with the holidays coming up, what could be truer to its culture than to make history counting Santas decked out in only their candy canes and jingle bells?
With the 10th annual San Francisco SantaCon, a city-wide gathering of individuals in Santa suits taking the city by storm, a Guinness world record was attempted in Washington Square Park Dec. 10 to gather the most naked Santas in one spot. With the entire park filled with Santas, the moment seemed like history in the making.
Some onlookers already knew of SantaCon, but a few were surprised when they found out what was being prepared in the park.
“This is all kind of weird. It’s just gonna be a bunch of dudes getting naked,” said Sam K., a San Francisco resident.
On the other hand some spectators were thrilled for the opportunity to see such a unique event. Local Rick Hayes said the event was actually normal, or at least normal for the city.
“I heard of this and I thought to myself, ‘Awesome! There can never be enough Guinness records about naked people,’” Hayes said.
Tex Allen, celebrating his seventh year of SantaCon, said he decided to organize the naked Santa Guinness record attempt when he visited the bar one night and thought, “What good-natured and wide-scale prank can I do to add to SantaCon?”
“What else can we do better at in SF?” Allen said. “San Francisco is where culture like this – setting restraints aside and making your own fun – happens; it’s natural here.”
The park was a sea of red and white, undulating with Christmas spirit. Santas of all sizes, shapes and backgrounds made friends and signed release forms to later be counted in the naked Santa record. Sprinkled throughout the crowd were various other Christmas caricatures such as polar bears, elves, reindeer and even the ever-elusive Waldo.
The whole park was one big Christmas party for the gaggle of Santas. Events that popped up here and there involved Santa twister, Santa chicken fights and even a Santa piñata hung from a tree. Although counting every Santa was unrealistic, the whole park was full of Santas partying.
Nicoletta Yeutter, a San Francisco resident, said that this sort of event really brought everyone together and was natural for the city’s energy.
“We like to dress up, or down, for any reason no matter what the cost,” Yeutter said. “I’ve lived her for three years and I’ve never done anything like this.”
Allen wanted to give the residents of San Francisco a new experience, something even more outrageous than SantaCon itself. Allen said that he saw the record as not only a national challenge, but a challenge to the Santas of the world.
“I want to see Russia, New York and London vie for this record because they have way more Santas at their disposal,” Allen said. “I have thrown down the gauntlet, the black and white glove, because I want this to be a competition, although I don’t think anyone can beat San Francisco.”
Sadly, not all went as Allen had originally planned. With a rowdy crowd of Santas, and without a sufficient stereo system, announcements and rules were lost on the masses and at most approximately a dozen straggling nude Santas were gathered.
Allen said that there was no viable way to count with the chaotic way that the event had turned out and therefore no record would be made that day, but that this was a learning year and next year organization would prevail.
“This is where you set the script for the future, and that script goes and out and mutates; the event multiplies, and that’s how magic happens,” Allen said.