Park City Santa Pub Crawl celebrates fifth anniversary
Five years ago, Hilary Reiter and Rachel Sharwell co-founded the annual Park City Santa Pub Crawl.
The idea was to provide a fun, creative way for Park City residents to celebrate the holiday season and enjoy a night on Main Street before the winter tourists arrive, according to Reiter.
This year’s event will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5, and what started with 40 crawlers has blossomed into something more, she said.
"It has grown exponentially," Reiter told The Park Record. "Last year, we had around 150 and this year the RSVP count is more than 800. It will take over the entire street."
There are five official venues that will participate in the crawl, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. and run until last call, Reiter said.
"However, given the numbers of people we are anticipating, each of the bars will not be able to accommodate everyone," she said. "So, we have come up with a couple of solutions and we are planning for some overflow into bars that aren’t officially Santa Pub Crawl venues."
Reiter and Sharwell notified as many bars as they could on Main Street and asked that they be fully stocked and prepared for several hundred revelers that night.
"We also notified all the taxi companies in Heber and Park City and asked them to have a lot of drivers on hand, because we strongly discourage people from drinking and driving," Reiter said. "Also, many hotels are offering deals for the night. So, there are a lot of affordable ways to stay overnight or to get a ride home. These are all cheaper than a DUI and they don’t put lives at risk."
The crawl will officially begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be shared by Butchers Chop House and Bar, 751 Main Street, and Handle Restaurant, 136 Heber Ave.
"That early time frame is when many of our crawlers want to have some food to gear up for the festivities that lie ahead," Reiter said. "Butchers has always been our first stop traditionally, and Handle has come on board this year to help with the crowds."
From there, the next official stop will be at 8 p.m. at Downstairs, 625 Main St.
"They will actually open their doors early at 7 p.m., which will also help with the overflow," Reiter said. "They are also doing a toy drive for the Christian Center of Park City’s Operation Hope program. All participants are encouraged to bring in an unwrapped new toy."
At 9:30 p.m., crawlers will meet at No Name Saloon, 447 Main St.
"We’ll be there until 11 p.m., when we head to O.P. Rockwell, which is a new venue for us this year," Reiter said. "O.P. Rockwell has a large space and should be able to accommodate everyone."
Even though Reiter expects large numbers, the crawl has no occupancy limits and everyone (aged 21 and older of course) is welcome to participate.
"People can show up at Butchers or Handle and start the night with us, but people can also join the crawl at any of the designated stops throughout the night," she said. "We also ask people to bring cash to expedite the closing of tabs at each bar. Cash is easier because closing a couple of hundred tabs on credit cards will take a long time."
Costumes, while not required, are "highly encouraged," Reiter said.
"We want everyone to get creative and have a great time," she said. "In fact, O.P. Rockwell will waive the cover charge for anyone wearing a costume."
Reiter still marvels at how large the event has become.
"For the first few years, Rachel and I knew all the participants," she said. "This year, out of the 800 people, I think I know maybe 35."
Many of the newcomers are from Salt Lake City and Heber.
"Thanks to Facebook, the pub crawl has become viral, and word has spread like wildfire," she said.
The 2015 Park City Santa Pub Crawl will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/events/890294044373234.
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