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Festivities and Bars: Need We Say More?

by Lauren Shapiro – November 26, 2010

The holidays are all about spending time with friends and family, celebrating the season and honoring tradition.

Throw in booze, bars and thousands of screaming partygoers, and you’ve just summed up TBOX.

TBOX (Twelve Bars of Xmas) is the world’s largest and most elaborate pub-crawl, taking place in Wrigleyville every second Saturday in December since 2002. It was started in 1996 by Christopher Festa of Festa Parties, a Chicagoan just looking to have a good, drunk, holiday-spirited time with his friends. He never could have imagined that it would have grown from 60 participants to an expected 8,000 participants for this year’s event on December 11.

There are many reasons to participate in TBOX, but one of the main goals is to drink and be merry with both old and new friends (Miller Lite has been the event’s long-standing sponsor). But TBOX is much more than your average pub-crawl. Over 80% of participants come decked out in crazy, holiday-themed costumes. There’s always encouragement to bring boxes of cereal, meant to fly around in the air as edible confetti throughout the day’s events, with 20,000 boxes expected this year. And there are always lavish opening and closing ceremonies. It’s mad chaos from 8 a.m. onward.

In order to keep the chaos to a healthy minimum, however, Festa and his team organize all participants into four separate teams, directing them on different routes to all 36 Wrigleyville establishments. All four teams begin at Cubby Bear, a TBOX tradition. But if you’re worried you’ll have to brave the pubs alone, don’t worry about being separated from your friends. Teams are based on requests when registering for the pub-crawl.

The event is so huge and so well known that only about half of the participants are actually from the city of Chicago. Other TBOX-goers are from over 40 different states, showing just how far this event’s reputation has spread in just a few short years.

The rules are that there are no rules. If you get drunk, deck yourself out in festive attire and have a good time, you’ve basically helped Festa and his friends bring TBOX to life.

The event costs $30, but the ticket is well worth the money. The price tag not only comes with participation rights in what is possibly the most ridiculously amazing drinking event in the world, but it also includes a ‘swag bag’ with a TBOX t-shirt, souvenir badge, schedule card and coupons from participating establishments.

So, until your original, family-filled holidays occur later this year, we recommend adopting TBOX as your new tradition.

About the Author: Lauren Shapiro

A native of Highland Park, a northern suburb of Chicago, Lauren has always had a passion for writing - and for Chicago. Lauren graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Journalism, where she wrote for the university's magazine, Buzz, as a restaurant and film reviewer. Post graduation, she was thrilled to leave the cornfields of southern Illinois behind and make her mark on the city, settling into a condo in the Gold Coast.