by Noreen Young
Thanks to our talented puppeteer/performers, our wonderful volunteers, our generous sponsors, and our many attendees, Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival , August 7, 8 & 9, 2015, was a success. Attendance was up and our gate was significantly increased from last year.
The exact number of attendees is not possible to determine due to the fact that some families come to enjoy the street entertainment and the daily parades and do not buy a ticket to the theatre shows. Nonetheless, our theatres were packed for the performances.
Since our annual festival takes place right in the heart of Downtown Almonte, business owners of stores and restaurants reported a busy weekend.
This year we added an additional day to our festival (Friday) as an “appetizer” for the main event on Saturday and Sunday. Friday consisted of 2 theatres, 4 puppet troupes, and 8 shows, as well as street entertainment and our Opening Night Reception. Adding the extra day was an experiment that worked well for us and we’ll be doing it again next year.
On Saturday and Sunday, we presented 12 troupes in 6 theatres with 61 performances including our adult cabaret on Saturday night. The downtown streets were closed to traffic on both days so that children and adults could wander safely and enjoy the continuous street entertainment , the market vendors, the kids craft tent, and the daily parades.
The weather was perfect for all three days.
This year we were fortunate to receive a number of government grants, one of which was a capital funding grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. This enabled us to purchase 6 new bleachers for our theatre tents. These bleachers are now part of our community infrastructure and are available for all events and festivals in Mississippi Mills.
Lastly, a special thank you to local families who kindly opened their homes to accommodate our visiting puppeteers. This year there were 30 performers who came from out of town to perform in Almonte at our festival. All performers were very appreciative of the hospitality they received and were impressed by the warmth and welcome of our community.
Thank you to all our friends and supporters of Puppets Up!. We are really looking forward to our Puppets Up! International Festival 2016.
Artistic Director, Puppets Up!