Appalachian Puppet Pageant

I See You Flyer

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 and collective concerns 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. 

Thank you to everyone for an amazing

3rd 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 2019 Partners & Sponsors:

good guy logo



Commissioner Evelyn Gill

Parade Day Details:

The Appalachian Puppet Pageant will begin at Dr.Walter Hardy Park. Parade Line Up is at 11am. Parade Start Time is 12pm. We will have registration and merchandise tables in the park, as well as free coffee and treats! The police will be closing down MLK from this start point to the end of the route. See parking options below.

I See You Flyer BackUnloading: Puppeteers and parade participants can unload at Dr. Walter Hardy Park. Once you have dropped off your puppets and other parade items, you are welcome to park across the street at Tabernacle Baptist Church. If you’d like to park at a midpoint along the route to make it easier to get back to your car after the parade, we recommend the Eternal Life Harvest Center parking lot. 

Parking: There is ample amounts of parking in the neighborhoods along the route, as well as at the parade start point and in the Eternal Life Harvest Center parking lot (MLK & Ben Hur Ave), near Paul Hogue Park 

Block Party: The Appalachian Puppet Pageant will end at Paul Hogue Park, where it will immediately transition into a post parade block party from 1-4pm! This year’s block party is hosted in partnership with St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Good Guy Collective, and Our Community Organization and will feature live hip-hop, spoken word, and dance performances in the park, as well as free kids activities, food trucks, garden activities, and more. 

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 1.2 miles and should last about 35-40 min, 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 will have parade 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: We have our fingers crossed for a beautiful parade day! If for some reason, the weather looks so bad that we need to reschedule, we will make this call on Friday and will post updates on Facebook, our website, and through our parade mailing list. 

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.

2019 Parade Theme:  I See You

The act of really seeing another person in all of their power, beauty, creativity, fire, and fabulousness, the act of offering them love and respect, allows that person to become their fullest, most authentic self. It helps them see their own power.

For this year’s Appalachian Puppet Pageant, we are asking our community to see one other and to embrace our liberations, our freedoms, as being intertwined. As a community and as individuals, how are we working together to fight against all oppressions? How does our work to undo racism or sexism or anti-semitism, also include dismantling classism, homophobia, and transphobia? What work do we have do to be able to really see and love one another? For this year’ parade, we ask you to envision yourself, your community, and the South as places of wholeness, strength, resiliency, beauty, humor, and artistry. We ask you to imagine what being your fullest self looks and feels like? As we come together to play and make for this year’s parade, as you design your collaborative and individual puppets and costumes, we invite you to honor and find inspiration in yourself, one another, and the path towards collective liberation.

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.