SantaCon backlash prompts new safety measures for Sham Jam in Fairfield

Some of the new changes included alternate parking, designated ride-share pickup and drop-off and the presence of emergency crews.

Angelica Toruno and Robyn Karashik

Mar 16, 2024, 10:23 PM

Updated 37 days ago

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The Seagrape Cafe and a Fairfield University student organization kicked off Saint Patrick’s Day festivities on Saturday with the Sham Jam.
The Town of Fairfield and Fairfield University released new guidelines after SantaCon in December received major backlash. Some of the new changes included alternate parking, designated ride-share pickup and drop-off and the presence of emergency crews.
News 12's Angelica Toruno was able to check out the event and hear more from law enforcement working to keep the community safe this holiday weekend.
University students decked out in various shades of green made their way to Reef Road for the fun. The Seagrape advertised the event as a senior-only event and would only grant entry to students 21 years old or older. The fire marshal ordered a max capacity of 535 people inside and outside the establishment. Seagrape also hired security for the event.
It was only a few months ago that university students flooded the same area for SantaCon. The Town of Fairfield spent months preparing to avoid a repeat of the large crowds’ aftermath.
“SantaCon was a bit of a surprise, we were told it was going to be busy, but we had no idea,” said Lisa Tennaro, the owner of Old Post Market.
Some of the biggest concerns being addressed this time around were hospital trips and littering. There were 30 trash barrels out and a snow fence installed on the beach side.
"Prevent any trash that was dropped from going out to sea because the tidal change will happen during partying hours,” said Kalamaras.
Fairfield police, fire and EMS being present and available was also a priority – crews remained visible at all times.
"We have resources down here, not only uniformed officers, but undercover officers. Also, traffic officers that will be trying to mitigate those issues,” said Fairfield Police Chief Robert Kalamaras.
Residents expressed that they wanted students to still have fun, but to be mindful of the neighborhood they call home.
“I’m just hoping that everyone stays safe,” said Tennaro.
Private cleanup crews were hired to clean-up the beachfront area near Lantern Point Saturday night and Sunday morning. Student volunteer teams also offered to assist in clean-up efforts Sunday morning.


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