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Ho-Ho-Hoards of Boozing Santas Head to Queens

SUNNYSIDE — SantaCon may be over, but another group of carousing Christmas characters will hit the streets of Queens this Saturday for the first annual Sunnyside Santathon.

Hundreds are expected to turn out for the fundraising pub crawl, which follows a route to 10 bars in Sunnyside on or around Queens Boulevard. Participants can pay $10 for a wristband that entitles them to $3 drink specials at participating water holes, with proceeds going to charity.

The event was organized by a coalition of local bars and restaurants called Sunnyside's Boulevard Bars.

"It's basically a fundraiser for Toys for Tots — $3 drink specials, and every bar has its own special drinks," said Jackie King, who works at the Courtyard Ale House, at 40-18 Queens Blvd., where imbibing elves will be able to sip on $3 select drafts and well mixed drinks.

Last weekend, another band of boozing Santas tour drank their way through neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn for the annual SantaCon pub crawl, irking residents with their bad behavior, which involved blocking sidewalks and black-out trips to the ER.

But participating Sunnyside establishments say their Santathon won't include that kind of chaos. King said organizers have notified the local police precinct about potential crowds, and will disperse the Santas accordingly so they don't pile into the same bar all at once.

"We're hiring extra people for that day, bouncers and everything, so we'll have everything under control," said Nilo Pita, a manager at Arriba, Arriba! at 40-15 Queens Blvd., where holiday pub crawlers will be entitled to $3 margaritas and sangrias.

The Santathon route runs along Queens Boulevard between 40th and 46th streets, hitting eight bars along the thoroughfare, with detours to 43rd Street to hit Bar 43 and to Greenpoint Avenue for a visit to the Bliss Street Bar.

The festivities will start at 1 p.m. and run all night. Santas can purchase wristbands at any of the participating bars, which will also be collecting new, unwrapped toys for donation to Toys for Tots.

By Friday morning, nearly 550 people had RSVP'd for the event on Facebook.