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Santa’s Cranky Cousin

Amid some charity and mirth, the punisher of naughty children returns.


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It's beginning to look a lot like ... Krampus.

With Thanksgiving behind us and just a couple weeks till Christmas, Parker Galore wants nothing to do with Santa, carols, nativity scenes, or any of the other "happy and completely generic things that Coca-Cola helped create" around the holiday. Instead, he, Nicole Pisaniello and a growing group of like-minded people prefer to bring a little darkness to the Yuletide season.

For the fifth year, Galore and Pisaniello are working to organize and lead RVA Krampusnacht: an event celebrating Krampus, the horned, half-goat, more sinister counterpart to St. Nicholas known in Alpine folklore for punishing naughty children.

"I think the classic American Christmas celebration is extremely boring and safe," says Galore, who grew up in what he describes as a strict Baptist household with little exposure to non-Christian traditions. "This is bringing the kind of darker, more mischievous side back into the celebration."

The festivities begin on Friday, Dec. 1, with a Krampus-inspired art show at Gallery5 with music and the Holidaze Market, and a toy drive for charity Scares That Care. Attendees are encouraged to bring unwrapped toys to donate. The following day, organizers and participants will meet at 5:30 p.m. in front of Citizen Burger Bar for the annual Krampus Walk, a playful and spirited parade of costumes, masks and horns through Carytown, from east to west. The group will stop at Aquarian Bookshop for a costume contest, and reconvene at Citizen Burger Bar for the afterparty.

It's a family-friendly event, according to Galore, and parents are encouraged to bring their kids. Among the costumed will be a St. Nick flanked by two angels, who will pass out slips of paper outlining the legend and lore of Krampus.

"So, it's not just us walking through Carytown, there's also an educational aspect," Galore says. "Our hopes are to honor this figure and bring it back into the Yuletide celebration."
And if nothing else, it may be an effective way to scare your kids into behaving between now and Christmas morning. S

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