Both are fun, but one includes a run . . . or a walk . . . and in the case of our Santa Run Silicon Valley next Sunday afternoon, December 16, a worthwhile cause accompanies the fun.
Each year I’m amazed and amused by how much publicity – print, TV, radio – the Annual “SantaCon” in San Francisco receives. A couple of hundred folks, dressed like Santa, go from bar-to-bar in increasing revelry. All in good fun, I guess, although I’m always relieved that nobody gets hurt. But this brief blog isn’t about the pro’s or con’s of SantaCon. It’s about a community event that is equally fun, costs a lot less, and comes without a hangover or headache the morning after.
It’s called Santa Run Silicon Valley, launched just seven years ago, as a way to preserve and strengthen San Jose’s “Christmas in the Park,” Downtown Ice and the tutoring program known as Reading Partners. If SantaCon makes you smile, Santa Run will make you laugh out loud. Picture this – 4,000 folks – many dressed like Old Saint Nick, running or walking a 5k – all chasing the Pace Car, in which sits “The Grinch,” also known as our Tax Collector, County Assessor Larry Stone.
And at the finish line, what could be more appropriate for thousands of versions of The Jolly Old Elf than a snow machine, warmly greeting each participant – just as Santa Claus is greeted warmly when he descends your chimney – with milk and cookies (and a Finisher’s Medal) as a reward for your efforts.
So why does an organization of 360 Innovation Economy employers – the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation – organize a community/charity run through the streets of downtown San Jose? That’s the easy, but essential, part. Christmas in the Park lost a key funding source eight years ago, and – like the Grinch attempting to steal Christmas – we risked the loss of an amazing festival that annually attracts 650,000 people from throughout the region. What makes Christmas in the Park so special, so worthy of our support, is that those 650,000 people reflect the rich ethnic, economic, and cultural diversity of our valley. Christmas in the Park breaks down barriers by bringing us all together: Many cultures, many backgrounds; but one community. Santa Run Silicon Valley does the same.
My message is simple. If a night of liquid revelry is for you – then by all means participate in SantaCon. Have fun and stay safe. Either way, you can still also join us at our Santa Run Silicon Valley, this coming Sunday afternoon on December 16. Together, we can build community, help the needy, and enjoy three quick miles filled with smiles, dressed as your favorite holiday character. And unlike most 5k events, Santa Run Silicon Valley starts at 3:30 pm, with folks crossing the finish line as dusk is descending in downtown San Jose.
It’s not too late to join us. Registration is easy at SantaRunSV.com. I’ll see you at the finish line – where your milk and cookies await. “The Grinch” will be there as well, ready for a quick photo as you step into Christmas in the Park, and step up to preserve a holiday tradition that makes our Valley both special and unique.
Editor’s Note: “Carl’s Comments“ is a weekly blog series written by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s CEO, Carl Guardino.