APP 2017 Page

New Date:  Sunday, May 21st,  2017

as part of  Open Streets  Knoxville

Parade Line Up: 1pm

Parade Kick Off: 2pm

 @ Magnolia & Chestnut

The Appalachian Puppet Pageant is an East Tennessee inspired community puppet parade, bringing together members of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate the local ecology and rich culture of our region through the visual and performing arts.  The parade will kick off this spring’s Open Streets hosted in East Knoxville, along Magnolia Ave, from N. Chestnut St to Randolph St. 

Print off a free PDF version of this awesome parade save-the-date coloring sheet to decorate at home!


The Appalachian Puppet Pageant will begin on the easternmost end of Open Streets on Magnolia and Chestnut. Parade Line Up is at 1pm. Parade Start Time is 2pm. We will have registration and merchandise tables in the empty lot on the southwest corner of Magnolia and Chestnut (Near the Dollar Tree). Open Streets will be closing down Magnolia Avenue from Chestnut to Georgia & Depot. While Magnolia Avenue, Georgia Ave and Depot will be closed to vehicular traffic, the boundary streets of Chestnut and Randolph will still be open to traffic. Please be careful when you are unloading, or unloading near these roads.

Unloading: Puppeteers and parade participants can unload on the south end of the empty parking lot of Chestnut and Magnolia. Half of the lot will be blocked off to permit for space for puppets and puppeteers to be staged before the parade begins. You can pull in unload, and then proceed to parking. If this unloading area is full, you can park at the Dollar Tree and unload from there to the empty lot (PLEASE be careful while crossing Chestnut as this street is still open to motor vehicles).

Parking: There is ample amounts of parking in the neighborhoods on either side of Magnolia. If you would like to remain parked on the starting end of the route, you may park in the 5th Ave Baptist Church lot at the eastern corner of Chestnut and Magnolia. If you have a large puppet or group that needs to be met at the end of the route, you may drop off your puppet and drive back towards the Old City where there is ample parking under Hall of Fame Drive. These city parking lots are always free. You may also park anywhere along McCalla Ave or Linden.

Post-Parade Loading: The Appalachian Puppet Pageant will process along Magnolia Avenue beginning at Chestnut Street and concluding at another empty lot on the corner of Georgia and Depot Street (right across from Saw Works). Vehicles can pull up along Randolph Street one block west of this lot to load up puppets and people.

Just a Few More Things:

  • Take care of yourself. We want everyone to have an enjoyable experience at the parade. We hope that you remember to bring your own water, sunscreen, and snacks in order to feel your best and enjoy the rest!
  • The parade route is a little over a mile and should last about one hour, but may take a little longer (big puppets move sloooooooowwwwwlllyyy).
  • PRACTICE! Make sure to take some time to practice with your puppet and make sure that the design is safe and comfortable for you to operate for over an hour in the middle of the afternoon in May. Safety First! Please review the official Parade Rules on our website.
  • In addition to our registration table where you and all parade participants will need to sign in, we will have a merchandise table! Cattywampus Puppet Council now has T-Shirts and patches for sale, so please bring cash if you would like to purchase any of these items.  Funds raised from merchandise sold will go to support next year’s puppet parade!
  • Please register here ASAP!
  • Inclement Weather: Open Streets is a rain or shine event; The Appalachian Puppet Pageant is also a rain or shine event. We understand that your creations might not fare well in rain, so try to plan accordingly.  If you have to sit this parade out due to rain, know that we understand (most of our puppets are papier mache & don’t come out to play when it is raining) but we will miss you. Even if your puppet can’t make it, you are welcome to wear a fabulous costume and umbrella and process with us!

Why a Parade?

The Appalachian Puppet Pageant seeks to strengthen community in the city of Knoxville, Tennessee and foster community-involvement in the arts through creating and playing together. Using the vehicle of artistic collaboration, we want to invite dialogue amongst all of our community’s voices, while also providing an opportunity for these voices to tell their stories of “place” and “landscape.” We invite community members to create puppets, masks, and costumes rooted in the local ecology and stories of this region, as well as the culture of love, creativity, and mutual dependence we wish to foster in southern Appalachia.

Community members will be the driving force of this parade, crafting both individual and collaborative works of art and then joining together in celebration and play to share these living works of art with the rest of the community. The parade itself will engage its participants and viewers, through all of their senses, as we create a living, breathing art exhibit and take it to the streets of Knoxville.

Why Puppets?

The medium of puppetry, specifically big puppets is an innately collaborative form of art. Creating puppets requires hours of construction and multiple hands, thus making it a perfect artistic medium for cultivating community. For many of us, the word “puppet” may conjure the image of a marionette or a sock with googly eyes. The world of puppetry arts, however, is a broad one and includes a wide range of styles and sizes, including backpack mounted puppets, gigantic parade style puppets, rod puppets, masks, costumes, etc. Simply defined a “puppet” is an inanimate object that is brought to life or animated by a human.  Materials can include bamboo, cardboard, paint, metal, fabric, papier mache, and whatever else your heart, mind, and hands can dream up. For this parade, we simply ask that all of your creations be handmade and people-powered. Our “Resources” page  is filled with images, templates, and instructions to get you started.

2017 Parade Theme:  SYNERGY

The word “synergy” literally comes from Greek roots meaning “working together.” It’s defined as the creation of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.  In the living world, synergistic relationships create new possibilities and properties emerge that could never have been predicted and that the individual parts did not possess. As we come together to play and make, as you design your puppets and costumes, we invite you to honor the power and beauty that can emerge when we collaborate- when we recognize that our liberations and our well-being as a planet, a species, and a community are all intertwined. We invite you to look to the natural world we are a part of, as well as our human community for inspiration.

Join the Parade:

  • Sign up to participate! Anyone can participate. The parade is not just for kids! Individuals, families, schools, neighborhood groups, and community organizations are all encouraged to participate. To sign up, please register here. We are looking for folks to make masks, puppets, and costumes, as well as dancers and musicians. You are welcome to create your entry on your own or come to one of our workshops for help. All participants must register (It’s free!).
  • DONATE! We are in need of materials, as well as monetary donations. If you would like to give either type of donation, please email Cattywampus at to learn more. Cattywampus Puppet Council is a registered non-profit corporation in the state of Tennessee and is fiscally sponsored through Community Shares.  If you aren’t concerned with deducting this donation from your taxes, you are welcome to give directly to the parade here:  Otherwise, please contact us for more details.
  • Volunteer. We will need help both the day of the parade, as well as at workshops and several site-specific community workdays. If you are interested in volunteering, please subscribe to our mailing list mentioned above and check the volunteer boxes listed on this form. You can also email us at with your specific interests, skills, and/or questions.

Rules: The following guidelines must be followed:

  • Everyone must be in costume, including parents and staff accompanying children.
  • Children under 15 must be accompanied by someone older.
  • All entries must be handmade and people powered. Motorized vehicles (other than wheelchairs) and live animals (other than working animals) are not permitted.
  • No written words are allowed (except for those on our parade banner).
  • We believe that all human and non-human beings deserve dignity and respect. We ask that all of your entries respect and reflect this belief.  If you have questions about your entry in regards to this guideline, please feel free to contact us directly and ask. Cattywampus reserves the right to prohibit parade participation if any of your creations violate this guideline.
  • As this is a family event, nudity is prohibited.
  • No distribution of leaflets or flyers during the parade or along the parade route.
  • All parade participants participate at their own risk. Written waivers are required.
  • All parade entries must emphasize SAFETY. Please make sure your creation has good visibility, is easy to operate and control, and is safe for other parade participants to move around. Remember, we will be parading in the outdoors, so consider wind when you are building.

Cattywampus Puppet Council and the Appalachian Puppet Pageant seek to strengthen community and achieve peace and justice through creating and playing together. We hold diversity itself as a value and nurture awareness of true community by welcoming people of differing races, ethnic origins, cultures, genders, ages, abilities, languages, economic and social backgrounds, sexualities, gender identities and expressions, political beliefs and religions, family styles and nationalities. We aim to create a safe, accepting and respectful environment where we can learn and grow together, honoring and embracing our individual and collective humanity.