Saunter Claus, Dec 4

A festive, fun, friendly saunter through Downtown Columbia

Who doesn't love Santa? What about gobs of Santas?

Come be part of a slew of sauntering santas, along with elves, reindeer, solstice goddesses, Christmas trees, grinches, dreidel dancers and, in general, folks in winter-themed outfits.

The first ever Saunter Claus event is happening Saturday, December 4th, and you're invited to dress up, participate and share the festivities as we saunter around Downtown Columbia & Merriweather District.

We're all about merriment, spreading joy and, well, being fabulous!

We'll be outside the majority of the day, though inside, here and there. Dress fabulously, dress comfortably and come prepared to engage, play and, overall, be merry! This is a kid-friendly, adult-friendly, everybody-friendly inclusive event.

We ping to the Burning Man 10 Principles as our guiding light and beacon for radical self-expression, radical inclusion and radical self-reliance!

Email us or find us on twitter if you can help in any particular way, or need information not found here.

Where to be, when ... ISH!

1:00 Meet at The People Tree

1:30 We roll out

2:15 Delight the crowds at the poinsettia tree in the mall

4:00.Depart from the carousel in the mall

4:30 Dance party at The Chrysalis

7:15 ... or whenever, arrive at the Merriweather District: outdoor ice rink, outdoor holiday market and our final destination, Busboys & Poets

This QR code is has highlighted event info for logistics planning.

Got your bags packed and your reindeer ready to fly out to meet us? Before you do, read up on this key event information for today.

Simply take a photo of this QR code to open the doc.

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Your outfit

The first form of participation is showing up in a themed outfit. Have fun with it. Be a snowman, or a grinch, or Elvis Santa. Surprise us!


  • Talk with people as we pass by. Hand out candy to kids (and adults).
  • Be friendly. Be inclusive.
  • Grab a couple extra Santa hats or some silly holiday accessories at a thrift store and pass them out as we walk along our route.
  • Bring toys, bubbles, props and noise makers.
  • Sing, dance, play!

Embrace the 10 Burning Man Principles.

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Where to park ... and when

When you're arriving will influence where you will want to park. You'll also want to consider if you want your car at the start of your adventure or at the end. Regardless of where you park and when you leave, you'll always be within a 15-20 minute saunter, or less, of your car.

Arriving around 1:00 pm?

  • Use this for GPS -- Whole Foods, 10275 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21044
  • Please don't take prime parking in front of the store.
  • BEST spot is park to the far right, down the hill, from Whole Foods. You'll be closest to the evening activities when you walk back to your car. About a 15-min walk.

Arriving closer to 2:15 pm?

Arriving closer to 4:30 pm?

  • The dance party at The Chrysalis is from approximately 4:30 - 7:00 pm.
  • Use this for GPS -- 10431 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21044 HOWEVER, the GPS/directions don't work here. The org recommends for specific directions (and where to park), go to their website and scroll down on the home page.
  • If you can't find this parking area, park at the next location then walk 10-15 minutes to the dance party.

Arriving closer to 7:00 pm?


If you're looking to drive with others or catch a ride, add your info to this spreadsheet.

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Who are you? At least for this day ....

Costumes are a MUST!

Our roots are found in the Burning Man community and an environment and culture that encourages self-expression, creativity and play! So have fun with your outfit!

Classic Santas, Disco Santas, Elvis Santas ... All the Santas

All Santas in all forms are welcome! Look at some of the photos below for inspiration.

ISO - Festivity in all its forms

Kwanza Kweens, Hanukkah Harries, Solstice Freaks... surprise us! We cherish all winter-themed outfits and expressions!

Costume as group

Coming with a group, or as a family? Might you be a crew of elves? Or Santa's eight reindeer? A bunch of toy soldiers? The Snow Queen and her Frosty Minions? Or Star Wars-themed Santas?

A costume that works both indoors and out

We'll be outside. We'll be inside. Then we'll be outside. Then we'll be inside. Make sure you're in costume wherever we are. Consider your shoes and comfort, too.

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Things to Bring

The main thing to bring? Your fabulous self, looking fabulous, and feeling fabulous.

Beyond that, consider bringing --

  • Holiday candy to gift to people of all ages
  • Small toys for kids
  • Extra Santa hats and winter holiday accessories to gift
  • Percussion instruments, noise makers and interactive toys
  • Portable speakers (outdoor use only)
  • Body lights/flashlights for safety
  • Battery-operated LED and laser lights for the night-time activities
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Bikes for rent

Columbia has a bike rental program. If you think you might rent a bike for 30 minutes to get to and from your car, or just to Santa around, you might want to pre-register an account, which is free to do.

On our path, the bike stations you'd encounter are --

  • #6 - the Columbia Lakefront by Whole Foods (starting point)
  • #9 - the Mall in Columbia
  • #5 - Merriweather District
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Bathroom Access

Starting out - at The People Tree

When you first arrive, consider hitting up the bathrooms available.

There are portos by the parking lot.

And bathrooms inside Whole Foods.

Mid afternoon - The Mall in Columbia

Lower level restrooms are near Aerie/American Eagle Outfitters and Center Court near the elevator. Upper level restrooms are in the Outdoor Plaza next to Antrhopologie.

Early evening - The Chrysalis Dance Party


Night - Busboys & Poets

And other restaurants nearby.

Food Access

Before we start

Arrive early and shop at Whole Foods, or grab some sushi at Sushi Sono.

Mid afternoon

The Mall: food court and restaurants.


Merriweather District -- the primary party is at Busboys & Poets. Other restaurants nearby are Clove & Cardamon (Indian) and Dok Khao Thai.

↓ ↓ ↓ Saunter with Us ↓ ↓ ↓

From Tree ...

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... To Shining Tree

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Sing along with us! ♪ ♫

Download our songbook to print it.

Or simply take a photo of the QR code to open it on your phone.

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Dance Party at The Chrysalis

In the 4:30-7:00 pm range, we're having a dance party at a beautiful outdoor amphitheater in Symphony Woods. We have an epic, professional sound system.

We're also in need of a dance-party DJ or really well-planned dance party playlist. Contact Scratch or Jessie if this is your thing.

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Fire Pits at The Chrysalis!!! Thank you, Inner Arbor Trust!

The good folks at the Inner Arbor Trust are not just providing us with lights, sound and staff support, they're also hooking us up with a couple of fire pits!

Bring flow toys, your dance groove and maybe even some fire spinning/flow arts instruments! Or maybe pull up a chair, especially if you get a parking spot close to the entrance of The Chrysalis.

If you want to express your appreciation for the Inner Arbor Trust and The Chrysalis, consider a donation.

Their enthusiastic support of our event has been heart-warming.

They do good work.

They provide glorious outdoor performances, (many of them free) to the community.

And they're a spot where, more n likely, Scratch and Jessie will continue this year's groove next year as well, and hosting a few events at this world-class amphitheater in Symphony Woods.


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Outdoor Ice Rink at Merriweather District

Literally across the street from our final destination at Busboys & Poets is an outdoor skating rink that is open til 10 pm. $14 gets you 75 minutes on the ice and your skate rental. Reservations can be made here. Lots of outdoor couches by the rink.
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Outdoor Holiday Market

A holiday market in the same area goes 'til 8 pm. Maybe you'll find the perfect present for someone ... or yourself.

*** Final Destination: Busboys & Poets ***

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Your hosts: Jessie & Scratch, Columbia Pioneers

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Contact Info

On the day of the event, follow our updates and activities on Twitter, at @saunterclaus.

Before or after, reach Scratch or Jessie by email.

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