Milford SantaCon to help get toys for pediatric hospital patients

MILFORD — SantaCon is returning for the holidays — with the Yale New Haven Hospital Toy Closet to enjoy the benefits.

Now in its third year, Milford SantaCon will be Dec. 17, starting at 1 p.m. and ending at 10 p.m. Last year, organizer Julien Debelle Duplan said about 300 people attended the event. This year the hope is that participation will spike thanks to the lifting of pandemic protocols.

""We are hopeful that more people will come to this year's Milford Santa Con," he said. "Last year, we were making sure to follow the guidelines from the state and local health departments, so it was a little bit harder to plan. Hopefully, people are a little bit more open to being around people."

Organizers are also hoping for a bigger turnout to raise more money for Yale New Haven Hospital's toy closet, which provide's toys and gifts to the hospital's pediatric patients.

To attract more people at this year's SantaCon, Debelle Duplan said organizers added two more stops and scheduled the start earlier than last year.

"We have a total of five stops this year, and we increased the event time by three hours," he said. "Last year was Christmas Eve eve (Dec. 23), and this year it's going to be on a Saturday, so it's going to be a daytime event that continues through the night. So we should be able to draw a larger crowd."

SantaCon will begin at 1 p.m. to at Citrus. Then, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., the event will continue at Flipside Burgers and Bar before continuing at 7 Seas from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and continuing at Eli's Tavern from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m The final stop is at My Bar & Grille from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Because of how successful the SantaCons have been, Debelle Duplan is hopeful the event could become a staple for Milford's downtown.

"We are going to continue year after year. I think Milford has a great community and sense of community," he said. "Usually, when they put together events for charities, there's a good turnout, and the restaurant and bars are ideally located within walking distance from each other, which helps the event."