2018 Appalachian Puppet Pageant

The Appalachian Puppet Pageant is a giant puppet arts parade, bringing together community members of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate and share their stories through the visual and performing arts. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in our 

2nd Annual Appalachian Puppet Pageant !

To receive updates about the 2019 parade and find out more about volunteer opportunities, 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 2018 Partners :

Parade Day Details:

The Appalachian Puppet Pageant will begin at the corner of Spruce & MLK. Parade Line Up is at 11am. Parade Start Time is 12pm. We will have registration and merchandise tables in the Eternal Life Harvest Center parking lot. The police will be closing down MLK from this start point to the end of the route, so you will want to enter the parking lot from MLK and Ben Hur Ave. 


Unloading: Puppeteers and parade participants can unload in the Eternal Life Harvest Center parking lot. Once you have dropped off your puppets and other parade items, you are welcome to park in this lot or park somewhere further along the parade route off of Magnolia or MLK.  We recommend parking at a midpoint, as the route will be ending at the Muse Knoxville & Chilhowee Park (516 N. Beaman).

Parking: There is ample amounts of parking in the neighborhoods on either side of Magnolia, as well as at the parade start point and end point (Chilhowee Park).

Parade Festival: The Appalachian Puppet Pageant will end at the Muse Knoxville, where it will immediately transition into a post parade party! The Muse will be providing free activities for kids outside, as well as letting parade participants into the museum for free. We will also have live hip-hop, spoken word, and dance performances in the amphitheater next to the Muse, as well as a DJ from 1:30-4pm.  There will also be a few food and craft vendors so feel free to bring some money too!

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 1.4 miles and should last about 45 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 reserved Sunday, May 27th as a Rain Date, in case it rains on Saturday. 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 amongst 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.

2018 Parade Theme:  Our Roots, Our Power

For this year’s Appalachian Puppet Pageant, we invite you to explore how cultivating our creative voices can fuel our own individual and community-based power.  Where do we draw strength from? What images or stories help us feel powerful? How can connecting with our roots-our ancestors, the soil- ground us in our work of envisioning and creating healthier communities?  What lessons do they have to teach us? 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 where you come from, the stories you have to share, and the power we each possess.

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.