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KRAMPUS KRAWL

December 2, 2023

This year’s Krawl takes place a little earlier in December than usual. Make sure to come out on Dec. 2 to celebrate our ninth year. Come see one of the eight bands, the DJ, the face painters, and all the Krampusse. Come on out, have a few too many (if you’re walking), tip your bartenders too much, visit your local establishments, show your love for NoDa. Make sure you look around at the end of the night at the sea of red devil horns (we have over 1,000 to give out this year ... plus a few halos if you’ve earned one). There is nothing like it!

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HOW KRAMPUS KRAWL GOT ITS START

BY: Matt Allen, Back in the Day Committee

The origins of the infamous NoDa Krampus Krawl go back to a neighborhood bonfire in 2013. Eric Hoenes attended said bonfire at the residence of Todd and Betsy Hintzman, where Todd was discussing his desire to host an event with a Krampus theme, inspired by the horned, anthropomorphic figure in Central and Eastern Alpine folklore who, during the Christmas season, scares children who have misbehaved.

 

For those of you that do not know Eric Hoenes, he lives for the macabre and the strange, so this was right up his alley. In fact, he told Todd he had already spent time trying to get a goat head mask for the bonfire, but was unable to acquire one in time so he opted for a fur coat.

 

Fast forward a few months to summer 2014; Hoenes was having drinks with Erik Schalburg at Sanctuary when a conversation started up about throwing a Krampus-themed event in the neighborhood. At the next NoDa Neighborhood Business Association meeting, Hoenes proposed his idea to the board and the neighborhood for approval, asking for $666 in expenses. The board declined that request, but did give some money, and Eric was able to raise additional funds from other businesses around the neighborhood.

 

The inaugural Krampus Krawl took place on Dec. 13, 2014 (12/13/14) and only about 12 people dressed up that first year. It started at Heist Brewery before participants made their way through all the different bars in the neighborhood.

 

The Krampusse (official plural term for Krampus) handed out “I’m Naughty” or “I’m Nice” stickers along with some leftover Halloween candy. Baku Gallery hosted live painting and other Krampus-themed art displays at its stop along the Krawl. There was face-painting available at a few different areas from the Get Dead Crew, and local bands Broken Napoleons and Evergone wrapped the night up with performances at JackBeagle’s.

 

The first event played heavily to the arts district vibe with components of live art, craft costume-making (papier- and fabric-mâché), live music, etc. Originally, there were supposed to be two Krampus costume contests: one for dogs and one for adult humans, but both failed. The dogs were too afraid of all the Krampusse about, and most of the adult humans had had too much to drink by the end of the night to worry about judging a costume contest.

 

By 2014, there was a worry among some in the neighborhood that the weirdness of NoDa had begun to diminish, and the Krampus Krawl was a way to bring a little of it back. Nodaween had disappeared for a little while, The Rocky Horror viewings had gone away, and the Freaky 5K was experiencing lowered attendance. This event happened after the Halloween season, and was out in the open for everyone to experience, whether they expected it or not.

 

Through the years, the event has grown, but remains a small community event at its core.

“This is an event that I want people to walk into who don’t know anything about it,” Hoenes said.
“I like to see the looks on their faces while they try to figure out what is happening.”

 

That mindset helped to build Krampus Krawl into a unique experience for anyone visiting the neighborhood as well as locals. The Noda Krampus Krawl is becoming one of the oldest in the country. Bloomington, Indiana once had a couple years on ours, but they shut their event down after 2021.

 

After the first year of the NoDa Krampus Krawl, it was certain that there would be a second, but since then the event has had a few close calls and plenty of growing pains; local and national politics caused distress in 2016, COVID-19 shut the event down entirely in 2020, and a water heater malfunction the following year shut down JackBeagle’s on the day of the event, causing a last minute scramble.

 

Luckily, Stu’s Barrel House and The Chamber by Wooden Robot stepped up with less than 24 hours before start time and gave space to all the bands. Hoenes credits the event’s longevity to the sense of community and spirit of togetherness that it inspires in him and his neighbors. “I would not have put together a costume that first year if others weren’t willing to take part in a bad idea and make it a good one,” he admits.

SPOOKY GHOSTS & LEGENDS WALKING TOURS THROUGH NODA

BY: Michelle Lemere, Back in the Day Committee

 

Sure, it seems like every time you look up, another old NoDa building has been torn down. We may be losing our history, but guess what: The ghosts are still here! Come out and meet them during our 14th annual Ghosts and Legends tour, scheduled this year for Oct. 14th.

 

The Back in the Day Committee has researched ghost stories passed down from previous decades, interviewed people who have lived here for generations and listened to some of our neighbors’ more contemporary stories over the years. We’ve compiled the best of these tales into our annual Ghosts & Legends Walking Tours, which take place every October here in NoDa.

 

This year’s tour route covers about a mile in the Highland Mill village on NoDa’s south side. If you were on last year’s tour, don’t worry; we’re including stories we didn’t tell last year at locations that have been redeveloped or may be soon. Next year, we’ll go back to the Mecklenburg Mill village to see what remains.

 

Several of the haunted buildings on this year’s tour are still intact, but who knows what will still be standing when we revisit the south side in two years? This could be your last chance to experience the spirits in their original habitats.

 

WHO: The NoDa NBA's Back in the Day Committee along with the hundreds of ghosts, spirits, and legends that still hand out in Noda. And you, of course.

 

WHAT: Walking tour of the neighborhood. Don't worry about special shoes, however. We stick to city streets and will not be going over any rough terrain. Tours last approximately one hour.

 

WHEN: One night only on Saturday Oct 14. Tours will begin at 6pm and run nonstop until the last tour leaves around 10:15pm. We'll have multiple tours leaving every hour, so you won't have to wait around too long for the next one to start. We even moved the date up one week so you won't miss the Charlotte FC's home match!

 

WHERE: We will set up our table at Stu's Barrel House next to Jackbeagle's. Look for the humans in the blue-and-white striped shirts. don't follow the spirits (unless you're with the rest of the group, of course).

 

WHY: It's a great way to hear about NoDa's rich and colorful history from our beginnings as mill villages to now. You might even finally figure out why it feels like you are being watched when you walk down North Alexander Street. 

 

HOW: Tickets will be available the night of the event. Walk-ups are welcome. All you have to do is swing by our table and tell us how many you need and which tour you want to join. We advise coming early to secure your tickets, however, even if you plan on going later in the evening. 

 

HOW MUCH: FREE! However, the Back in the Day committee is a nonprofit group of volunteers with NoDa's best interests in mind, so donations are gratefully accepted. We'd like to keep doing things like this in the neighborhood. (We're looking at you, Krampus...)  Shoot us an email if you have questions abou tthe tour, would like to be more involved with the committe, have a ghost story of your own to share, or know any current or former residents we should interview so we can capture our neighborhood's history: backintheday@noda.org

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