Annual Giant Puppet Parade

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2nd Annual Big Ears Parade & Street Party

Saturday, April 1st, 2023

In spring of 2022, Cattywampus Puppet Council partnered with the Big Ears Festival to forge Krewe du Cattywampus, the festival’s inaugural parade, pairing giant puppets made by East Tennessee youth with musicians representing New Orleans’ and Haiti’s second line, rara, and kanaval traditions. Led by Preservation Hall Jazz Band and joined by an assembly of musicians from New Orleans and Haiti, over 1,000 community members and festival-goers paraded together, continuing the party at the Southern Railway Station with performances from Big Ears and local artists, including the 79rs Gang, Sporty’s Brass Band, Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses, Good Guy Collective, Drums Up Guns Down, and more.

We’re excited to fill our Knoxville streets again with art, joy, and revelry on Saturday, April 1st, 2023 and we want you to join us

Community members of all ages are invited to make giant puppets, masks, costumes, and other art and come together to parade as one. Our people-powered parade will kick-off in the Old City at 1pm and then transition into a Street Party from 2-4pm at the Southern Railway Station with a mixture of local and Big Ears musical acts, kids’ activities, food trucks and more. Both events are free and open to the entire community.

Over the next several months, Cattywampus will be hosting art residencies at 8 different youth program sites through partnerships with Centro Hispano, BGCTNV, Canvas Can Do Miracles, RYDE, the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Center and several other local groups. With the help of a Cattywampus teaching artist and youth intern, each site will form its own parade crew and design and create original giant puppets and art to bring to the parade. Cattywampus will also be hosting Community Maker Space days & other workshops leading up to Big Ears for folks of all ages to help them work on larger creations, as well as make their own individual items to bring to the parade. Stay tuned for more info!

 How to Get Involved

  • Sign up to be in the parade! This parade is open to the entire community. Individuals, families, schools, neighborhood groups, and organizations are all encouraged to participate. We are looking for folks to make masks, puppets, and costumes, as well as dancers and stiltwalkers. You are welcome to create your own entry or form your own parade crew and make something together. We’ll also have extra art available to carry if you simply want to join in the parade itself. All participants must register (It’s free!).
  • Make Art! This year’s parade theme is AMPLIFY! To turn up, raise up, uplift, magnify, make larger, greater, & stronger. For this year’s parade, we want y’all to make some noise! We want to hear our community’s voices, ideas, and visions for the future. What are the stories and relationships we wish to amplify together? Visit our “Resources” page for images, giant puppet making templates, and other instructions to get you started.

For questions or additional information please email Rachel Milford at

Thank you to our 2023 Partners & Sponsors:


Cattywampus Puppet Council seeks 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.