christmasvacationIt’s full! The number of aspiring Cousin Eddies taking part in the second annual EddieCon pub crawl has been capped at twenty — but there’s still room for not-so-secret Santas to hitch up to the SantaCom team, also going on around Red Bank this Saturday afternoon.


bad-santaHe appears right around this time each year, making people smile; a familiar figure instantly recognizable by his trademark headgear and his distinctive transportation.

We’re talking of course about Cousin Eddie, the boorish ne’er-do-well played by Randy Quaid in various Vacation movies — specifically Christmas Vacation (and its direct-to-video sequel). The image of Eddie, clad in bathrobe and flap-eared trapper hat, has been burned into our nation’s pop-cultural consciousness in recent years. And on Saturday, December 17, downtown Red Bank revelers and strolling shoppers may encounter another “thing you can’t un-see,” when nearly two dozen Cousin Eddies take to the streets (and saloons) in support of a worthy cause, as part of the newly minted local tradition known as EddieCon.

And by some Christmas magic, Saturday also marks the first appearance in Red Bank of SantaCon, the international pub-crawl phenomenon described as “a non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and non-sensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year for absolutely no reason.”

Organized as part of an event that transpires in over 200 different cities worldwide, SantaCon Red Bank may not have a reason, but it has a cause — raising money in support of the Red Bank Middle School Athletics Foundation, with the entry fee for participants ($15 in advance, $20 day of Con) donated to the local nonprofit organization.

According to organizers Alex Federico and Dan Campbell, SantaCon is an event in which “EVERYONE dresses in their best Santa attire and takes to the street for a day of debauchery” — with the Bad Santa bacchanal governed by a very precise set of rules that are detailed in entertaining fashion on the crawl committee’s web page.

From the Rules of SantaCon: “Watching Santa get drunk and obnoxious is fun. Babysitting Santa while they vomit in an alley is not. Don’t be that Santa.”

The inaugural Red Bank crawl kicks off at 12:30pm inside The Dublin House, where registrants can pick up a bracelet that will allow them to enjoy bargain-priced ($1 to $3) drink specials at participating bars and restaurants around the Santa circuit. The crawl continues until 8pm,with Alex and Dan’s Good Time Committee urging one and all to “dress in your best Santa or Christmas inspired outfit” — and to take a few minutes to read those all-important rules of decorum, engagement and general Spreading of the Red.

Before there was Santa, there was Cousin Eddie — at least here on the Green, where Chris Kenny of Shrewsbury and Dave Carr of Rumson organized the unique-to-Red Bank EddieCon for the first time in 2010. As reported here on redbankgreen, the Quaid parade was set up as a shake-the-bucket fundraiser for Monmouth Day Care Center, and the facility on Drs. James Parker Boulevard (for which 18 participants raised over $500 last year) will once again be the bar-crawl beneficiary as some 20 Eddies assemble on Wallace and Washington Streets at approximately 3pm.

From there, the men in bathrobes head west to Broad Street, where they’ll get down to the serious “E-day” business of soliciting donations and visiting some dozen or so Red Bank watering spots.

If you’re looking to don the robe and earflaps yourself and join the march, be advised that the organizers have closed the event to additional Eddies (“in an effort to not overdo it and keep it a little exclusive”) — although cash contributions, matched this year by a pair of sponsoring businesses, are welcomed as the group aims for a 2011 fundraising goal of $3,000.