Appalachian Puppet Pageant

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The Appalachian Puppet Pageant is a giant puppet community arts parade rooted in East Knoxville that seeks to bring together community members of all ages and backgrounds to share their stories through the visual and performing arts, while playing together and raising power and joy as a community. The community is invited to make giant puppets, masks, costumes, and other art and parade together as one. 

Save the Date for our

4th Annual Appalachian Puppet Pageant & Block Party! 

To receive updates about our 2020 parade and other upcoming Cattywampus events, please sign up for our parade newsletter here.

Want to learn more about this parade? Check out this beautiful video piece that CTV Knoxville put together of the 2018 Parade here! You can also watch East TN PBS’s piece about Cattywampus & the 2017 Appalachian Puppet Pageant here.

(section about the parade begins at 17 mins. in)

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Thank you to our 2020 Partners & Sponsors:

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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 among all of our community’s voices, while also providing an opportunity for these voices to tell their stories of “place”.  We invite community members to create puppets, masks, and costumes that tell their stories and our community’s stories of strength, resilience, creativity, and power.

Community members are 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 engages 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.

2020 Parade Theme:  Arise from the Fire

Fire is power, creativity, destruction, transformation, rebirth. For this year’s Appalachian Puppet Pageant, we want to see your fire. Our world needs our creativity, our vision, and our unique gifts now more than ever. What do we want to create and transform in our communities? What do we want to breathe life into together? How can we tend each other’s fire?

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.