Fate of Hoboken SantaCon uncertain after wild weekend

Posted: Updated:
HOBOKEN -

The fate of the Hoboken SantaCon pub crawl is now up in the air after a weekend full of arrests, violence and medical calls.

Hoboken police say that 17 people were arrested and 55 were sent to the hospital for severe intoxication last Saturday during the annual event.

Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante says that several bars marketed the event online targeting customers in their 20s for an afternoon of drinking in Santa suits. The partying stretched into the early hours of Sunday. Ferrante says that police received 289 calls for assistance during that time.

Charges ranged from aggravated assault to disorderly conduct. One police officer was punched and another was spat on, according to officials.

“The temperament of the people that were arrested, to see their violent streak when they were already arrested in headquarters, was just startling to see,” the chief says.

Many of the worst incidents happened on the 200 block of Washington Street. Residents in the area told News 12 New Jersey that they stayed away during that time.

“We knew we shouldn’t hang out over there,” one mother says. “It would be nice if we could walk here when we felt like it.”

Ferrante and Mayor-elect Ravi Bhalla say that Saturday was the last straw and that they do not want another SantaCon in Hoboken.

“They don't have a right to break the law. They don't have a right to engage in this type of disorderly conduct that is a public safety threat,” Bhalla says.

Authorities are looking into new rules and penalties for next year to keep the event out of the city.

Hoboken canceled its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2012 after similar incidents with drunken pub crawls. But bar owners started the Hoboken LepreCon event as a replacement despite the cancellation.

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