Sanford German restaurant Hollerbach's Willow Tree Café gets scary for Krampusnacht


While there are plenty of Christmas traditions that didn’t quite make the cut for the modern American version of the ancient holiday – the blackface-wearing Zwarte Piet thankfully never spread much farther than the Netherlands – the terrifying Krampus has received a notable revival.

The monster from Central European folklore is the bad cop to St. Nick’s good, tasked with punishing naughty children through the threats of kidnapping, violence or shitty gifts – this is where the tradition of coal in your stocking comes from. And if there’s ever a place to celebrate a weird German tradition locally, Sanford’s Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café is that place.

In addition to authentic German food, treats and drinks, participants can join a Krampuslauf, which is when people dressed in their scariest Krampus costumes run through the streets, terrifying and amusing onlookers. If you’re not sufficiently horrified by the end of the lauf, a live polka band does their best to correct that.

6-9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5 | Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café, 205 E. First St., Sanford | 407-321-2204 | | free

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