NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of the SantaCon bar crawl have retained a civil rights lawyer amid growing opposition to the annual event from New York City neighborhoods.

Attorney Norman Siegel says the Santa-clad participants have a right to express themselves as long as they don't break the law.

The event has been criticized by some for being too rowdy. Thousands of red-suited revelers hit the streets and then fan out through the city's bars.

Some community boards have banned the event from their neighborhoods.

Siegel tells WABC-TV he intends to support the group, which is now seeking street permits, and help turn around its image.

SantaCon is set for Saturday. Its location will be announced Friday.

NJ Transit, LIRR and Metro-North are banning alcohol on trains during SantaCon.