Fifth annual RVA Krampusnacht walk takes place this Saturday in Carytown

Fifth annual RVA Krampusnacht walk takes place this Saturday in Carytown

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

Photo: Dave Parrish

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 being held this Saturday, December 2nd–dedicated to the mythical beast–Krampus.

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 foundingorganizers. “You see versions of him in Europe and all of them have different looks.”

The first annual RVA Krampusnacht drew 40 participants donning monster-like outfits and masks who banged drums and made lots of noise to make their presence known, and the event has grown from there over the past five years.

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].

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.”

The walk takes place Saturday, December 2nd at 6:00 PM and begins outside of Citizen Burger Bar in Carytown.




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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.