Saturday night, October 17 is a date that will go down in history – albeit, quirky cultural history, but history nonetheless. This chilly evening marked Knoxville’s inaugural Snug Pub Crawl, hailed by one local tweeter as the “tweet-up of the century.” Twenty-some-odd Snuggie-clad seekers gathered at the appointed time on Market Square for a group picture. Head Snuggite, Saul Young, served as photojournalist for the event that drew participants from as far away as Chattanooga.
Promoted primarily on Facebook and Twitter, the Snug Pub Crawl was a gathering of like-minded social media mavens, but that’s where the similarities ended. The creativity and individuality of this gregarious gang of revelers was expressed through their Snuggies, those ubiquitous blankets with sleeves made famous on late-night infomercials, like Ginzu knives and ShamWows – in fact ShamWows were door prizes for a few lucky crawlers! There were zebra Snuggies and leopard Snuggies for those who wanted to take a walk on the wild side. Jennifer Vogel, known to most of us by her Twitter handle, @scarlettdancer, bedazzled her powder pink Snuggie with glittery, hand-sewn decorations. Newlyweds Chad and Chloe Kennedy wore matching royal blue Snuggies. Ted Fisher showed his Vol pride and Big Orange super powers in his UT Snuggie. Fashionista and local WATE-TV personality, Tearsa Smith, rocked her Snuggie, cinching her tiny waist with a wide leather belt and looking like an itty-bitty-zebra-diva! Speaking of local personalities, we missed Star 102’s Kim Hansard, who talked up the Crawl on her morning radio show.
After a Snuggie strut around Market Square, our first official crawl stop was the Preservation Pub. Although we were widely gawked at and photographed by passers-by outside, once we stepped into the cozy P-Pub, nobody batted an eye at our curious attire. In fact, we picked up a few Snuggie-wanna-bes, who put their jackets on backwards and joined our cause.
Speaking of causes, there really wasn’t one. We didn’t crawl for charity or donate our Snuggies to the homeless, although that would have been a nice gesture on this frosty fall night. There were no corporate sponsors or endorsements. We were doing what social media participants do: connecting, building relationships and being ourselves. Crazy, huh?
And yes there was drinking. All Snug Pub Crawlers were over twenty-one. There were tequila shots, single-malt Scotch and Guinness with Framboise. Remember, we weren’t driving … we were crawling.
If fun isn’t enough of a reason to get together anymore, perhaps we’re all taking life a bit too seriously. Sometimes, laughter is a means to an end. I lost my job last week, so the Snug Pub Crawl was a transition for me. It kept me moving forward and gave me an answer to the tedious question of “What’s next for you?” The Snug Pub Crawl, of course! Kind of like Nancy Kerrigan headed to Disneyworld after the Olympics. And it was much cheaper and safer than a Sonoma sweat lodge. I didn’t have to go any further than downtown to seek enlightenment.
After the P-Pub, we wended our way to the Downtown Grill & Brewery on Gay Street. Gathered at the big U-shaped table in the center of the bar, we feasted on soft pretzels and warm white cheddar cheese dip. We’d worked up an appetite from our strenuous two-block hike. I tried something my pals refer to as “chocobeer,” but quickly reverted to Glenlivet, neat. Jeremy Floyd, Kathryn Phoenix and I befriended another leopard-clad gal at a table upstairs and made her an honorary member of our animal kingdom.
Sometime later, the group continued to the Urban Bar in the Old City. It was past my bedtime, so I headed back to the parking garage, where I proceeded to search, in vain, for my car. Luckily the garage was well-lit, and I was in constant contact with my fellow crawlers via Twitter. Eventually, my Jetta manifested before my very eyes, and I made my way safely home. I heard the peaceful Snuggites went their separate ways around midnight.
The Snug Pub Crawl was more a celebration of friendship and good times than it was a Quixotic quest. More party than journey. Sometimes, what matters most is being in the moment, instead of worrying about the future. And days later, I still can’t get the tune to “Kung Fu Fightin” out of my head …
Everybody was snug pub crawlin’
Barrooms but not much brawlin’
In fact it was a little appallin’
Grown-ups in Snuggies, jawin’
All photos copyright © 2009 Saul Young. All Rights Reserved.