Krampus Invades the Ville in 2017!


The ancient legend of the malevolent Christmas beast known as Krampus makes its mark on Louisville in 2017 with multiple Yuletide events!


The regional Alpine tradition of Krampus Night, celebrated across Central and Eastern Europe on the night of December 5th, is theorized to date back to the Pre-Christian era. Thousands of years after emerging from the mists of mythology, the horned holiday creature has finally found its way to the shores of America and will be making multiple stops in our own city this season.

Perhaps the biggest event takes place on Krampus Night itself, next Tuesday on Dec. 5, and will debut the first annual Louisville Krampus Celebration in the Germantown neighborhood. This multifaceted parade/party/art show starts with a family friendly event at the Art Sanctuary at 5 PM and continues with more adult oriented fun at 7 PM at the Cure Lounge. Both events, which continue until the stroke of midnight, are being produced by Louisville Gore Club’s Steve Vessell and Athena Prychodko. The Louisville Krampus Celebration is made possible by the sponsorship of The Highlands Taproom, Taj Louisville and Seidenfaden’s.

I had a chance to interview Vessell this week about his long brewing labor-of-love to bring Krampus to the Louisville city limits. Below you’ll get all the icy details straight from the festival programmer himself. Then stay with us for all the details about four additional creepy Christmas events involving some of your favorite local haunts!

Phantom of the Ville: First of all, thank you for bringing the ancient tradition of Krampus Night to Louisville. Apart from the raucous Krampus Parade, what else can locals expect to see at the first Louisville Krampus Celebration?

Steve Vessell: This year the Krampus Crawl (Krampuslauf) will be a very small part of the overall Louisville Krampus Celebration. We have put together a great team to help us make this first year the best it can be with two very different events in one area to make a “Kramnpusnaucht Block Party“.

First at 5 PM. the all ages, family friendly Alternative Holiday Art Bazaar at Art Sanctuary will kick off the evening. There will be over forty local and out of town artists and artisan vendors with an array of holiday gifts to put under your tree.  There will be pictures with Krampus and entertainment provided by Alora Firefly and her group of amazing flow artists. Dee Jays Thulsa Goon and Talamasca will be providing the atmosphere until the stroke of midnight.

Just two blocks away, 7 PM to midnight at the Cure Lounge, the Louisville Krampus Celebration Rock and Shock party begins. There will be ten Krampus burlesque performers lead by the amazing Lady Rama. We will be alternating between four local bands provided by Riotheart media: Isolation Tank Ensemble, Dead Room Cult, Jack Holiday & the Westerners and The Human Project.  For Krampus cosplayers wanting to get rough, the Krampus Rempler (Krampus fights!) sign ups start at 8 PM.

The Rock and Shock party has a $10 cover charge and is an 18 and over event. The 7th Street Haunt will have their “Scare Bus” on the street and ready to take on passengers for a small donation.  Local food trucks Bourbon Bent BBQ and Smok’N Cantina will be keeping our bellies full and warm on a cold winter’s night.

You and Athena Prychodko are the proprietors of the Louisville Gore Club. Tell us about that and how long you’ve been hosting it?

The Louisville Gore Club was founded in 2010 by my good friend Jacob Dupuis. Not long after Jacob decided to move on to bigger and better things up north, he entrusted me with the LGC keys. Athena joined me as Vice President five years ago. Every Sunday night at Seidenfaden’s, with Baxter Avenue Theater as our main sponsor, we throw raging sci-fi/ fantasy and horror movie marathons!

Do you know how many other major US cities have begun celebrating Krampus Night?

Reports vary as to which city hosted the first U.S. Krampus event. The first one I remember reading about was in Columbus, Ohio. I know that there are or have been Krampus events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Seattle, Texas, Florida, Washington DC, Philadelphia and Bloomington, Indiana. We hope that there are many more to come.

When did you first become aware of the Alpine tradition of Krampus Night and how long have you been working towards bringing it to the city of Louisville?

I saw my first Krampuskarten (editor’s note: Krampus greeting card) in the late 90’s. My thought was, ‘Why is Satan standing next to Santa Claus,’? Because I didn’t have the internet back then, my Uncle sent me to the library and my love affair with Krampus began.  Being of German heritage, Athena has heard tales of Krampus since childhood, and he has been with her ever since.

Even with the release of the hit movie, “Krampus” in 2015, the legend of this ancient Yuletide beast is likely still pretty obscure to most parts of the United States. Do you think Americans are likely to embrace this decidedly darker part of the holiday season?

Absolutely. Now more than ever Krampus is being celebrated. In stories, film and art you will find him.  He is perfect for those of us that love Halloween, Edgar Allan Poe and ghost stories like “A Christmas Carol”.


Other Krampus and creepy Christmas events in town this year:

Krampus Hell Night at The Haunted Hotel3000 S. 4th St, this Friday and Saturday night, Dec. 1 and 2 from 8 PM11 PM. The Haunted Hotel has been transformed with all new music, characters and Christmas lights. Chainsaw Santas, evil elves, Jack’d Up Frost, cannibal gingerbread men and multiple Krampus demons await. Tickets are $25.

Krampus: A Haunted Christmas at Fear Fair, 800 A Ave E, Seymour, IN, Friday and Saturday night on Dec. 8 and 9 from 7 PM11 PM. Fear Fair has had truckloads of fake snow delivered to their haunted attraction in order to transform it into a winter terrorland. Tickets are $24.99 and Fast Passes are available for $30.

Naughty & Nice Christmas Spooktacular at The 7th Street Haunt, 2900 7th St Rd, Friday and Saturday night on Dec. 15 and 16 from 8 PM10:30 PM. Both of 7th Street Haunt’s attractions will be open, but Fort Harmony will be a family friendly attraction which challenges kids to save Santa from the classic holiday villains while Unit 732 will be the scary attraction taken over by evil elves. Tickets are $15 per attraction or $28 for both.

Danger Run Finals presented by Domino’s at the EXPO FIVE 2900 7th St Rd, Friday night on Dec. 8 from 6 PM 9 PM. Have you ever wondered how Danger Run champions are born? For the first time in Danger Run’s 23 year history, the public is invited to watch the Danger Run Finals take place live. Admission is $5 (cash only) which includes a Domino’s pizza buffet and non-alcoholic beverages. There will be a cash bar and door prizes. Christmas scareactors provided by The 7th Street Haunt!

The Phantom of The Ville

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