The Santa Pub Crawl held at the weekend has been hailed as one of the best.
Police reported no arrests or incidents relating to reindeer, Santa and elf attendees while paramedics said they were impressed by how little their services were required.
‘‘This is the best crowd we’ve ever had,’’ said event founder and organiser Neil Webster.
‘‘We drove around the venues last night and even the bar staff thanked me because the crowd had been so nice and tipped well; it’s a good sign when the people who have to work had a good time.’’
After 20 years of running the costumed pub crawl, Mr Webster attributed the success of this year’s event to the logistics formula of transport and food.
‘‘This year we added more busses, so we had six going between venues in the CBD and two going north and south so you don’t have people out on the streets which is where fights tend to happen,’’ he said.
‘‘The big thing being the southern bus to Unanderra and Dapto, so you don’t have people fighting over cabs, trying to get home.’’
Venues were encouraged to offer food to provide festive revellers with sustenance.
‘‘We put a focus on food so we had North Gong putting on food stalls and Rotary Caravans lining the route selling food to fundraise for themselves,’’ he said.
Police stationed along the route were joined by Roads and Maritime Services staff who guided pedestrians across roads and offered breath tests to those driving home.
Aside from contributing to sales of Santa beards and reindeer ears, this year’s Santa Pub Crawl raised $103,585 for the Salvation Army’s children programs in the Illawarra.
‘‘This is a great vehicle for fundraising and one for change,’’ said Mr Webster.
After being assaulted on Christmas Eve in 1997 by a group of intoxicated men in Hurstville, Mr Webster is particulary proud of creating a non-violent party atmosphere.
‘‘After what happened to me, I like to think we change how people socialise, especially around this time,’’ he said
‘‘The fact we can have over 10,000 people in the CBD and have less incidents then a normal night show’s that this is working and that people can drink with friends, they don’t need to fight; if that filters throughout the year then that’s the biggest success.’’