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Audio: Annual 'Running of the Santas' growing by leaps and bounds

Though it originated in Philadelphia, the annual ‘Running of the Santas’ fits perfectly into the New Orleans holiday season.

To start, you’ve got “animated, amazing, fanciful costumes of all sorts,” says Steve Schulkens, a spokesman for the event. “There are Santas, Mrs. Clause’s, elves, candy canes, Scrooge, jingle bells, Jack Frost, Old Man Winter…one year a guy even came dressed up as a Christmas tree, complete with a battery pack that operated all the lights and the ornaments. It was truly amazing.”

There’s also great food, drinks and music, with things kicking off at Manning’s on Fulton Street at 11:00 a.m. Local favorites Flo-Tribe and Category 6 will perform some original holiday songs, says Schulkens.

The actual ‘run’ starts at 6:00 p.m., and it’s not one of those big 10-k runs, Schulkens says. “It’s a fun run. It’s basically about a five or six block sprint. Some of them take it seriously and do it quickly, some of them crawl.”

The run starts at Manning’s, dubbed ‘the South Pole’ for the event, and goes down Tchoupitoulas to Generations Hall (aka The ‘North Pole’).

Following the run, at 8:00 p.m., is possibly the highlight of the entire day, Schulkens says – the costume contest. “People work on them for months and months, and we pick the top ten, and then from those we award three prizes - first second and third. But you should see some of these elaborate costumes.”

All of the fun is also for a very good cause. All of the proceeds from The Running of the Santas go the So Others May Live Foundation, a non-profit that seeks to ensure that every child of a fallen military personnel receives an opportunity for success, through education (scholarships), counseling, or personal guidance, Schulkens says.

With those ingredients, it’s no wonder the Running of the Santas started with just about a hundred people and has now grown to four or five thousand.

For more information or to buy advanced tickets, go to www.runningofthesantas.com.



Brian Friedman writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.