By Bill Parry
Sunnyside will be seeing red Saturday when a charity organization comprised of nine neighborhood restaurants and pubs will present its fourth annual Santathon.
Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars is expecting nearly 600 participants to dress up as Santa Claus and purchase a $10 wristband which will entitle them to drink specials beginning at 3 p.m. In the past three years, the event has raised over $20,000 for children’s toys for the holidays.
“It keeps getting bigger and bigger,” Bar 43 co-owner Nick Murphy said. “It’s not like the Santathon in Manhattan that gets out of hand every year. Everyone knows it’s for kids so no one gets out of line.”
Courtyard Ale House, Maggie Mae’s, Arriba Arriba, McGuinness’s Saloon, Molly Blooms, Sidetracks and The Gaslight are all taking part. So is Jack’s Fire Dept., which unlike the others is not on or near Queens Boulevard.
Jack’s Fire Dept., located at 39-46 Skillman Ave., is owned two brothers, Brian and Jim McGowan, both firefighters in the FDNY.
“It’s a pretty big deal for us because it brings a bunch of new faces down from the boulevard each year,” Brian McGowan said.
In addition to the Santathon fund-raiser, the McGowans are also running a 50/50 raffle and are contributing a portion of their sales from the Thanksgiving to Dec. 19 span to raise money for a wounded warrior. He is a Marine who lost his legs in Iraq.
“We want to send him and his family on a vacation to Aruba,” McGowan said. “It’s the least we can do.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr