A Guide to the 2013 Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival
Puppets Up! is all about family fun, and since we get a lot of questions from parents and grandparents about festival activities and about what is appropriate for children of different ages, we’ve prepared this Festival Guide.
A Festival for Families
Puppets Up! provides great entertainment for families with children of all ages. Many of our puppet shows and street entertainers are designed for the very young, while others will keep the 8- and 9-year-olds fully engaged.
Nearly all of our activities happen within the downtown core of Almonte, along our main street: Mill Street. (Visit our site map!) All the venues are located within an easy stroll of each other, and there are plenty of shady areas to sit and places for kids to run in the grass. Many of our downtown restaurants offer full meals, snacks and take-out, and several refreshment and food vendors are located right on the street.
We offer a small market bazaar too, where you can take a piece of Puppets Up! home with you, such as a puppet or other fun toy.
Washrooms are well signed and easy to find.
The Puppet Shows & Performance Schedule
Over the festival weekend, our 10 puppet troupes will offer 60 separate puppet performances — some in tented theatres and others in the historic buildings of downtown Almonte.
The Performance Schedule, which indicates show times and locations, is posted on this web site, and our printed program will be available on-site as well as founs within the August edition of theHumm, our local arts newsmagazine. The schedule is the same both days, including the parade start time (see Puppets on Parade below).
Our shows are produced mainly in English, with one production — BAM — being offered in French by Théâtre des Petites Âmes each day. Please check the schedule for more details.
Most shows are approximately 40 minutes long. Please expect some short wait periods between the end of one performance and the start of another. If the theatre is at capacity for a particular show, volunteer staff will direct you to other performances or entertainment available throughout the festival site.
Seating options include low benches at the front and chairs throughout, with room at the back of the venues for strollers (although we do prefer you to leave them outside the tent, when possible (we will watch over them).
Puppets Up! International Puppets Festival welcomes friends old and new in its “family reunion”-themed ninth year. With a host of new faces and old favourites, it’s sure to be an unforgettable weekend of family entertainment.
How does a little town like Almonte manage to attract some of the best puppet troupes from around the world? It’s simple really — all puppets are related and are part of one big happy family!
Puppets on Parade (1:45 to 2:15 p.m. daily)
Once a day, all of the puppet energy in Almonte comes together for one great big parade. Puppets of every shape and size, along with musicians and street entertainers, take a joyous stroll down Mill Street.
The parade starts at the top of Mill Street and ends at the bottom, near the Heritage Mall. It’s a sight not to be missed!
This year’s celebrity parade marshals include:
Gordon O’Connor, M.P.
The Puppets Up! Craft Tent
Get bedazzled at the Puppets Up! Craft tent! Kids two and up will learn how to make puppets or just have fun of playing with sparkles. There are creative challenges in store for older kids too.
The craft tent is free and is located in Kirkland Park (behind the new Post Office building. Kids need to be accompanied by an adult.
The craft ten opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday and at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Tons of Street Entertainment
For your added enjoyment, and free of charge, Puppets Up! welcomes a fun list of guest entertainers who will perform up and down Mill Street.
The list includes:
The list includes ventriloquist, juggler and puppeteer, Tim Holland, and the hyperactive antics of clown, Eccentric Adam, who will be wandering Mill Street each day between 10 am and 4 pm. Almonte’s own Silly-U, will be greeting customers each day at the main gate;
Jessica’s Dragon will pop up from time to time in search of a likely snack, and The Bucket Boys will entertain children with puppetry music and rope tricks at the top of Mill Street. Meanwhile, Veritas Man will offer photo opportunities outside the Canica Building, lower Mill Street.
Come early (9:30) to enjoy a special free performance of STOP by Hungarian Puppeteer, Andras Lenart who will be presenting this show four more times daily in the TYPS Theatre.
There are loads of musicians:
- Our headliner, Jake Differ, performs three kid-friendly shows daily in front of the Mill Street Book Store
- Local musical groups, The Valley Voices and The Barley Shakers will be performing each morning beside the BMO
- Enjoy versatile young musicians Max Donaldson and Danny Albert performing solo and together in a variety of styles from jazz to classical
- Speaking of classical, you’ll be enthralled by cellist Aaron Rudyk
- Alex George & Co. perform old-time and Celtic favorites at the bottom of Mill Street throughout the weekend
- On Saturday they will be joined by guitarist singers Mike Moore and Kyle Code
- On Sunday morning the Almonte in Concert Music Club will present a one-hour show at the top of Mill Street, and
- later that day they’ll be joined by the mellow sounds of Green Porch Project and Sarah Mitchell
And Puppets Up! Street shows will feature:
- The Balcony Puppeteers – think Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show, but worse! They will provide a running commentary on the events of the day from their perch above the Kentfield Kids store.
- Pop-Up Puppet Skits by “Rock the Arts” puppetry
- A one hour minute presentation and Introduction to Music for Young Children presented by Andrea den Boer and Merilee Mansfield on Saturday only
- “Old MacDonald”, the irreverent version, presented five times daily by the Hudson Players at the bottom of Mill Street
Black Sheep of the Family — A Naughty Cabaret Puppet Show — For Adults Only (August 10, 8 p.m Saturday night, Almonte Old Town Hall)
On Saturday night (August 10), the festival promises the usual “controlled chaos” at a puppet cabaret in Almonte’s Old Town Hall for adults only. The Black Sheep of the Family cabaret begins at 8 p.m. and promises to be better than ever. Festival favourite, Frank Meschkuleit, returns to perform “My Big Fat German Puppet Show”. Joining Frank on stage are our visiting troupes, and host Dill with a little help from from festival veteran Allan Martin.
The performance begins at 8 p.m. on August 10 in the Almonte Old Town Hall. Tickets are available at Baker Bob’s or at Mill Street Books, along with tickets for the full festival.
The main parking area for the festival is at the Almonte Fairgrounds on Water Street, a three-minute walk from the Old Town Hall, the main entrance to the festival. Betsy the Bus will be running back and forth between the fairgrounds’ parking lot and the festival entrance. A designated handicapped parking lot is located just off Mill Street, behind the ice cream stand beside the Victoria Mill. Ask staff at the festival gates for directions.
All of the Puppets Up! public venues are wheelchair accessible, and several wheelchair accessible washrooms have been placed around the festival site. Gus the Shuttle bus can also transport someone in a wheelchair.
A designated handicapped parking lot is located just off Mill Street, behind the ice cream stand beside the Victoria Mill. Ask staff at the festival gates for directions.
Since Puppets Up! is super kid-friendly, strollers are welcomed throughout the festival site. However, families will be asked to leave their strollers at the back of the theatre venues where they will be carefully watched by festival volunteers. Benches are positioned at the front of each theatre to improve the view for small children too!
Children’s single day passes (in the form of a wrist band), Adult single day passes and weekend passes to the Puppets Up! festival are available on-line, through Mill Street Books, and at the festival gates.
Cash, debit and credit payments can be made on-site.
ADVANCE TICKET SALES:
Mill Street Books
52 Mill Street
ONLINE PAYPAL TICKET SALES:
Advance tickets are available on-line via PayPal. Click here to buy your tickets now. When you arrive you will need to show your receipt to get a wrist band, at a ticket booth.
Children’s single passes, adult single passes and weekend passes to the festival are available through on-line outlets and on-site at the festival gates (cash, debit and credit).
DAY PASS (Saturday or Sunday)
Hours: 09:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Adult – $20 (CDN)
Children (ages 3 – 12) – $10 (CDN)
Children under 3 – FREE
WEEKEND PASS (Saturday and Sunday)
Adult – $30 (CDN)
Children (ages 3 – 12) – $15 (CDN)
Children under 3 – FREE