Ms. Claus Pub Crawl

Participants in the Ms. Claus Pub Crawl make their way down The Avenue in Hampden as they sing songs on their way to the next business. (Brian Krista, Patuxent Publishing / December 5, 2011)

Jenny Campbell stood on the front steps of Ma Petite Shoe in Hampden wearing a dress that made her look like a cross between Santa and Marie Antoinette.

Hidden under the billowing skirt were the battery and wires that operated the giant snow globe on her head.

"Do you have a permit for that?" cracked Campbell's friend, Ray Hurralde, of Hampden.

Campbell, 47, a "starving artist" from Hamilton, was one of 20 women who participated in Saturday's "Ms. Santa Pub Crawl" in Hampden.


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The fourth annual crawl - featuring caroling at bars and stores on The Avenue - was held in Fells Point and Federal Hill in previous years. This was the first time in Hampden, organizers said.

The group, which numbers about 40 active members, grew out of a similar pub crawl for male Santas. But when several women asked to join that group, one of the men said, "No girls."

The women gave the men an unprintable kiss-off and decided, "We'll do our own," Campbell said.

This year's goal was to have a good time and to raise money for the House of Ruth, said Campbell, who is a co-founder of the crawl.

But she readily conceded that a big part of the agenda was to drink away the day.

The women, young and old and from around the city, gathered on the steep steps of Ma Petite Shoe to pose for photos as a small crowd gathered on the street.

"This is the quietest we've ever been," Campbell said.

But it didn't last long. Soon, they were singing songs, in perfect harmony, at least those with good voices.

Campbell was not one of those.

"That's why I'm talking to you," she said.

Other Ms. Santas included publicist Dorothy Fuchs, Tina Holmes, a 98 Rock saleswoman and Campbell's friend since third grade; and interior designer Kristin Edwards, 34, of Hampden, who wore a Santa pantsuit and held a plastic cup of champagne in one hand.

Also there was Gerry Taylor, 40, of Belair, wearing a purple Ms. Santa suit with black boots and stockings, in honor of the Ravens.

Katie Adams, 33, came from Philadelphia, Pa., where she is a fundraiser for the University of the Arts.

Adams made a grand entrance as "Country Claus," in a BMW convertible driven by her embarrassed friend Scott Melton. Alas, she was late and the crawlers had already moved on to the Kiss 'N' Makeup store across the street.

Melton made a U-turn, and the top-down convertible cruised down the street, with Adams wearing a straw hat and Western-style boots and waving to the crowd.

Other scheduled stops Sunday afternoon and evening were restaurants Holy Frijoles and Rocket to Venus, the bar Frazier's on the Avenue, and a visit to Miracle on 34th Street, the extravaganza of holiday lights and decorations in the 700 block of West 34th Street.

But the fun wouldn't end Saturday night. The group planned to ride in the 39th annual Hampden Mayor's Christmas Parade on Sunday afternoon.

Campbell's only fear was being hung over.

"It's going to be an epic walk of shame," she said.