Hide your children on Saturday, December 7th, from 5:30 to midnight!
The start of every December has been special in NoDa for a while now, as hordes of hairy and horned demons take to the street to bring joy and fear to the neighborhood. Some of you may want to hide your children from the hungry devils, while others will embrace the frenetic energy fed by music, towering horns, and loud bells. But all of you have the chance to join in this festive part of the holidays in NoDa with painted faces, glowing horns, or photographic proof that you braved the sharp teeth for a selfie. Why? Not just to bring out the fear, but to bring people an alternative holiday celebration that honors our neighborhood’s commitment to the arts.
Krampus—sometimes known as the “Anti-Santa Claus”—is a figure in central European folklore. With long horns, a shaggy body, sharp fangs, and a long lolling tongue, the Krampus is a fearsome figure, but he actually works for jolly old Saint Nick. Tradition has it that Saint Nicholas employs the Krampus to help him keep tabs on children’s behavior. In this regard, he’s a bit like the Elf on the Shelf, except much less terrifying than that creepy little elf that just watches you relentlessly, secretly judging everything you do.
Over six years, the NoDa Krampus Krawl has grown and changed. We started with only thirteen Krampusen and a Saint Nick, but have added more fur and fangs every year. Our first child-sized Krampus is now as tall as most of our other Krampusen, and we’ve gotten even more support from the NoDa businesses each year, who also appreciate the Krampus joy. This year, the NoDa Business Council fully funded Krampus, leaving us more time to prepare other horrors. Unfortunately, for the first time, 2019’s Krampus Krawl will not be headlined by Evergone (we can only assume that playing for Krampus has launched them into wider fame), and our Saint Nick has moved to Raleigh, leaving a seven-foot gap in our hardened Krampus hearts.
Despite these changes, the Krampus Krawl still ends at JackBeagle’s with the Rumpus and three amazing bands: headliner Hipgnostic, with Dad Bod and Ultralush. The artists of the Get Dead Crew continue to paint people to look furry, evil, or downright demonic. Rowdy Robin will be telling tales as she leads the Krampusen to music and events, and the pirate crew will bring some additional scandalous behavior into the Krawl. Plus, there is all of the fur, horns, and halos Krampus always brings to town!
Should you meet the Krampus posse all you need to do is tell one of their wranglers whether you’re been naughty or good, and they will give you a set of horns (or a much rarer halo). They will glow if you’ve chosen correctly. Children wearing a halo will receive a pat on the head, and well, the naughty ones may be carried off by Krampus. The Krampuslauf will launch at Canvas Tattoo’s outdoor space at 5:30 pm with an opening band, starting their evening of scaring virtuous children into good behavior for the next year and “punishing” wicked ones (and here we mean to include both young and old). Then, they’ll be poking into local business to make sure none of the naughty children get away. Note: this is all in play, and we will not actually be punishing anyone who doesn’t want to be part of our event.
Approximate schedule (Krampusen don’t wear watches):
Release of the Krampusen at 5:30 pm at Canvas Tattoo at 3012 N. Davidson Street to roam NoDa
Facepainting by Get Dead Crew at Canvas (5:30-6:30 pm), Sanctuary (7:00-8:00 pm), or Company Store (8:30-9:30 pm)
Storytelling by Rowdy Robin
Krampus Rumpus at JackBeagle’s with Ultralush at 6:30 pm, Dad Bod at 8:30 pm, and Hipgnostic at 10:00 pm
As always, the Krampus Krawl is free, open to the public, and appropriate for those who enjoy the holiday spirit in many forms and aren’t afraid of a little fright.
Photography by AustinCaine.com