Twelve Bars of Christmas

Twelve Bars of Christmas

When is a pub crawl not just a pub crawl? When the crawlers use the celebration to help kids having a tough time.

Four years ago, a group of St. Pete Beach locals started donning Santa, elves, Frosty the Snowman, reindeer, and other Christmas-minded costumes. Armed with red and green costumes, Santa hats, and reindeer antlers, the group would work its way through 12 local beach bars, spreading (and consuming) holiday cheer at each location.

Sound like a recipe for drunken revelry? Not exactly, although many of the bars thank the crawlers with free shots or, as in Woody’s case, a spread of food to help ward off any drunken mistakes.

The celebrating has a higher purpose.

“Providing the recipe for a night hopefully soon forgotten isn’t the only thing this event accomplishes,” crawler Carl Dobbins says. “There has been a little bit of a philanthropic twist to it.” The crawlers must bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to a kid struggling at Christmas. This year, the 12 Bars of Christmas collected 35 toys and donated them to All Children’s Hospital.

“During a night costing a good amount of dollars spent on costumes and drinks, spending a proportionately smaller amount of money to make a child’s Christmas a little better seems to go a much longer way,” Mr. Dobbins says.

The 12 Bars of Christmas takes place every year; for more information check out the Facebook group. As Christmas 2013 approaches, the crawlers will post the schedule.

“A little bit of warning,” Mr. Dobbins cautions. “These people like to drink and have a good time.”