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Wampus Wonderland to showcase local arts & crafts in Fayetteville, debut new ‘Nerd Prom’ event

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Where will all the Cool Kids be on Dec. 7 and 8?

At the Nerd Prom and the Wampus Wonderland Holiday Craft Show, of course.

The two events are the creation of Fayetteville artist, designer, and entrepreneur Chad Maupin of Big Bot Art Laboratory and will be held at the Fayetteville Hilton Garden Inn at 1325 N. Palak Dr.

The Nerd Prom is from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, and tickets are $10 at the door or can be bought online at stubs.net.

The Wampus Wonderland holiday craft show is free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8.

Maupin is putting a new spin on craft shows with his seasonal events that put the focus on artists and craftspersons themselves rather than on corporations and sponsors that dominate space at larger events.

Like a latter-day Stan Lee, Maupin brands his CattyWampus Co-op shows as art experiences where the Cool Kids can buy, sell, and connect as a community.

This will be the third iteration of the Wampus Wonderland show, but Maupin is jazzed to introduce the first Nerd Prom to the Northwest Arkansas region.

“The Nerd Prom is a celebration of all things that are cool today that we all wanted to hide when we were in junior high,” Maupin said. “It’s great, but it’s weird. And that’s cool.”

The Nerd Prom is an exclusive shopping event and party featuring music by DJ Clunk (Chris Selby), drinks, cosplay, special prizes and a special appearance by Krampus, the Christmas goat monster, who is the Wampus Wonderland mascot.

While costumes are definitely encouraged at the Nerd Prom with prizes going to the most original, best kids, best group, and best overall costumes, Maupin said the prom is an event where everyone can be who they are or want to be.

“We want people to come in costume or as their best selves and just have a great time,” Maupin said.

The Wampus Wonderland Holiday Craft Show once again will feature a bevy of local and regional vendors, offering a variety of original works and hand-crafted items that would make unique and possibly outrageous gifts for family, friends or maybe even yourself this holiday season.

Vendor Sara Sarquist, owner of Crimson and Conjure, a crystal jewelry and apothecary store, said Wampus Wonderland and Maupin’s other CattyWampus Co-op shows are Etsy brought to life.

“This grassroots-style, indie market is home to many sellers of all price ranges, so the buyer has choices at the show,” Sarquist said.

For the artist, Sarquist said the shows offer a community that’s like family.

“This ragtag group of misfits is where I call home,” she said. “I am proud to be a Cool Kid.”

Little Rock jewelry designer Stacey Bowers of BangUpBetty.com had a similar experience with one of Maupin’s shows last spring in Little Rock, and her experience there prompted her to opt-in to Wampus Wonderland.

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Terry Wood is a writer with 25 years experience covering sports and entertainment. He lives in Springdale and is a lifelong sports fan, movie buff and comic-book reader.

Read more stories by Fayetteville Flyer - Terry Wood

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