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Enter The Krampus: RVA Krampusnacht returns to Carytown Saturday

RVA Krampusnacht, an event celebrating the mythical sidekick to St. Nicholas, returns to terrorize Carytown for the fourth year.

Trevor Dickerson

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In a festive season chock-full of lighthearted characters like Santa, Frosty, and gingerbread men, one of the last things that comes to mind is a horned, devil-like creature as a symbol of the holidays.

Enter Krampus–and a walk in Carytown (this Saturday, December 3rd) dedicated to the mythical beast–RVA Krampusnacht.

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Hailing from the Alpine regions of Europe–countries like Austria, Germany, and Switzerland–from a time that at least pre-dates Christianity, Krampus’s exact origins are difficult to trace.

“Lots of different cultures have their own version of him–he’s basically a companion to St. Nicholas that punishes the bad children,” says Nicole Pisaniello, one of the walk’s founding organizers. “You see versions of him in Europe and all of them have different looks.”

The first annual RVA Krampusnacht walk was held last year in Carytown, drawing over 40 participants donning monster-like outfits and masks who banged drums and made lots of noise to make their presence known.

Modeled after the RVA Zombie Walk, creatures of the night start off with a couple of cold ones at Portrait House before making their way down Cary Street to terrorize the masses before, you guessed it, heading back to Portrait House. Those in costume will be entitled to a number of drink specials.

Pisaniello got the idea for the zany event, which she started with cohort Parker Galore, after learning about Krampus in school. What she didn’t realize, however, is that the creature was gaining popularity around the world outside of the textbooks.

“Some friends and I had heard about him in school briefly. Then later I started seeing Krampus [merchandise] online, and Krampus runs in other countries. I thought this could never happen in the U.S., but I decided to start my own [walk].

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Richmond’s walk joins a growing number of cities in the U.S. hosting events. Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Philadelphia all have Krampus walks now. Pisaniello says several participants from the Philly event have made the trek for RVA’s walk over the past couple years.

Events in other countries are all over the board, says Pisaniello. “Some are more geared towards towards kids, others are just a pub crawl. We wanted to make [the event] true to Europe, but add our own artistic flair.”

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The walk takes place Saturday, December 3rd at 5:30 PM and begins outside of Citizen Burger Bar in Carytown.

This year, in addition to the walk, the Red Vein Army will host a toy drive called “Krampus Kinder Nacht” that will benefit Scares That Care, an organization dedicated to uniting horror fans to help sick children and women fighting breast cancer. The drop off location for unwrapped toys is Strangeways Brewery. On December 2nd, you can drop off toys at Gallery 5 for the First Fridays Art Walk, and again at Citizen Burger on December 3rd for the walk itself. Strangeways will continue to collect toys until December 10th. World of Mirth toy shop in Carytown is offering a 20% discount on any regularly priced toys purchased for the drive.

On Saturday, December 3rd, the Red Vein Army will host a discussion of “The Spirit of Krampus” illustrated by local artist Abigail Larson at Gwarbar at 11:00 AM with a screening of Michael Dougherty’s Krampus movie to follow. Visit their Facebook event for more information.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.