Santa Claus convention saves animals

December 4, 2014

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Santacon is a night where everyone goes out dressed up as Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus to a list of venues that are considered, “santa stops.” This year marks the 20th anniversary of Santacon, since it started in San Francisco in 1994. Hayward has been doing it for the last two years as a benefit for the Hayward Animal Shelter, which makes this Saturday their third annual Santacon event.

This Saturday’s list of santa stops include The World Famous Turf Club on Main Street at 6:00 pm, Bijou Restaurant & Bar at 7:00 pm, Metro Taquero at 8:00 pm, and The Bistro at 9:00 pm. Every venue except for The World Famous Turf Club is located on B Street. These venues paid to be included in this list of Santa Stops and their contributions go straight to the Hayward Animal Shelter. This community effort has already raised over $2,000.00.

Owner of the Bistro Victor Kralj has been a contributor to this event since it began in 2012. “It’s a great way to raise funds for the shelter and bring people together for a good cause,” Kralj said. Bartender of the Bistro, Terrin Williamson was there last year and she said it’s wildly entertaining.

With a Santa Claus costume contest hosted at every one of these venues that participants of Santacon have to pay their way into, Hayward Santacon’s Facebook Page Administrator Anna May is guessing that they’ll make around another $1,000.00 on the night of the event. These proceeds then go towards the sponsorship of so many animals from the shelter, which basically covers their adoption fees. According to May, funds accumulated by these contests are going to go towards saving as many of these animals as they can.

“It’s our way of raising awareness of homeless animals,” said May. “I mean we always talk about how we rescue animals from the animal shelter but the reality is, if you look at it from a different perspective this is a humanitarian effort because animals bring so much peace and comfort into our lives as well.”

The Hayward Animal Shelter is located on 16 Barnes Ct. and its business hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm. It provides animal field and sheltering services to the City of Hayward and their services include adoptions, stray animals, recovering lost animals, and more. Adoption fees for dogs are around $150.00 and $100.00 for cats. Hayward Santacon’s cause for this shelter has always been what differentiates it from more widely criticized Santacons across the country.

Animal Services Manager Jennie Comstock has always seen Hayward Santacon as a positive thing.

“It not only brings awareness to our shelter and the animals that are in need of homes,” said Comstock. “It brings our community together to support our local downtown Hayward businesses.”

The F.U.N. Rotary Club will be in attendance as one of Hayward Santacon’s sponsors to collect all incoming donations. Everything besides the cost of a costume and the costume contest, and whatever you purchase at every venue is free. People interested in participating can get 15 percent off their costume by printing out the coupon provided by Santacon’s homepage.

“Last year we had around 150 Santas and the first year we had around 40 so this year I am hoping that we hit around 300,” said May.

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