WRIGLEYVILLE — It's TBOX time.
The 20th annual Twelve Bars of Christmas bar crawl will return to Wrigleyville from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 12. Almost 50 bars are expected to participate across Wrigleyville, Lakeview and Boystown — a far cry from the 12 bars that hosted it when it began in 1996.
In the three years since rowdy festivities in 2012 that included a stabbing and prompted changes by the crawl's organizers, TBOX has capped registration around 20,000 and hired security guards to patrol the streets. For the past two years, the crawl has been "surprisingly quiet."
More than 5,000 tickets have already been sold, and organizer Festa Parties expects about 14,000 total to attend. Tickets went on sale in July — earlier than in years past due to the increased demand for the 20th anniversary, said spokeswoman Lissa Druss Christman.
This year, Festa Parties will have 150-200 yellow vested security guards in Wrigleyville from 7:30 a.m. Saturday to 2:30 a.m. Sunday, in addition to Chicago police officers.
The wristband-only crawl will stagger participants, sending groups to a handful of different bars along a route at the start of the crawl.
Ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber will partner with Festa to offer free rides to participants to "decrease the amount of wanderers" after the crawl, said spokesman Ben Cutler.
A mobile command center with a hotline number will be able to dispatch security cars to problem areas, while others will block alleys so patrons can't get through.
"We understand this event is hard on the neighbors and that it's probably an inconvenience," Cutler said. "We promise any concerns won't fall on deaf ears."
Tickets are $50.24 or can be purchased in packs of four, six or 10 at a discounted rate.
While the crawl has donated $50,000 to Lakeview Pantry and the Chicago Police Memorial Fund in years past, it will also donate money to the Lakeview neighborhood organizations, Cutler told Hawthorne Neighbors.
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