By Rande Archer
It’s time to bust out your elf ears, Santa hats, pointed boots and red Santa coats because the Running of the Santas is coming to the Red Stick on Saturday, Dec. 5. Running from the “South Pole” of the Draft House to the “North Pole” of The Roux House, the Santas will have to traverse in their festive garb during the inaugural Baton Rouge Running of the Santas.
“The Draft House and Roux House are some of the most popular entertainment hotspots in downtown Baton Rouge,” said spokesperson Stephen Schulkens. “They were gracious enough to partner with the Running of the Santas to host the event’s inaugural event in Baton Rouge.”
Kicking off with an outdoor party and music spun by DJ Jeff Johnson from Classic Hits 103.3 at 2 p.m. at the Draft House with special festive drinks and music acting as a sampler until the running starts. Heating up when the sun goes down, the “running” will begin at 5:45 p.m. starting at the Draft House and ending at the Roux House, where revelers will be host to even more festive drinks as well as live and funky jams by Flow Tribe.
“The terms ‘South Pole’ and ‘North Pole’ are just symbolic in each city that the Running of the Santas are held,” said Schulkens. “Everyone starts at the South Pole and then we party our way to the North Pole where the big holiday celebration takes place with the costume contest and Louisiana’s own Flow Tribe rocking in the Christmas spirit.”
The costume contest will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will bring out the most creative and festive costumes of the evening. Although its namesake invokes images of legions of Santas running down 3rd Street, the festive get up for the evening is all up to the reveler.
“Imagination is the only limit for the costume contest participants,” said Schulkens. “In the past we have seen Santas, Mrs. Clauses, Reindeer, Elves, Christmas presents and even a human Christmas tree with battery-packed charged lights and ornaments.”
Originally started in 1998 in Philadelphia as a small gathering of a mere 40 jolly pub crawlers, this festive phenomenon has grown and spread nationwide with over 10,000 participants expected to run with jolly festivities in Philly this year. Although this is the first Running of the Santas in Baton Rouge, this isn’t the first time Running with The Santas has been in Louisiana. The Running has been held in New Orleans since 2010 with their Running bringing in as much as 3,000 running Santas, expecting to garner more this year. New Orleans’ Running this year however will be held the following week on the 12th after the Baton Rouge run.
Tickets for the Running went on sale this past Monday, which can be purchased online at runningofthesantas.com/santas/baton-rouge/ or in person at The Roux House. The early general admission ticket price right now is $20, which will end on the 4th, and the day of the event the general admission price will become $30. VIP tickets are available too at the price of $75, which entails general admission as well as access to The Roux House’s top-shelf open bar which will be open from 6-10 p.m. Since alcohol is involved the age for the event is restricted to 21 years and older.
In addition to spreading holiday cheer dressed in festive garb and reveling in the holiday special drinks at the event, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the That Others May Live Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships, support and tragedy assistance to the families of United States Air Force rescue personnel who are killed or wounded during operational and training missions.
“The organizer of the event, Bob Dautrieve (aka Mayor of the North Pole) has a lot of family in the service,” said Schulkens. “And they have worked with this organization for years and it is a cause close to their hearts.”