If you’ve seen a papier mache puppet of Dolly Parton that’s even larger than life, you’ve witnessed the work of Cattywampus Puppet Council. The nonprofit organization’s second annual Appalachian Puppet Pageant – a “giant puppet community arts parade” and post-parade festival – will be held Saturday, May 26, between the Five Points neighborhood and Chilhowee Park. The event is a partnership with Carpetbag Theatre, African American Appalachian Arts Inc., and the Muse Knoxville.
The parade will set up in the parking lot of Eternal Life Harvest Center East Campus, 2410 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., step off at noon and proceed east down Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. The puppet parade will turn left onto Beal Bourne Street, turn right onto Linden Avenue, cross North Beaman Street into Chilhowee Park, and promenade through the tunnel under Magnolia Avenue and culminate at The Muse Knoxville.
These intersections and roads will be closed from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday:
- Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue between Spruce and Beal Bourne streets;
- Linden Avenue between Beal Bourne and North Beaman streets; and
- Through traffic on North Beaman Street between Magnolia Avenue and MLK Jr. Avenue.
Due to the road closures, parade participants will need to enter the church parking lot from MLK Jr. Avenue and Ben Hur Avenue. Organizers anticipate that the 1.4-mile parade will last approximately 45 minutes.
At the parade’s conclusion, the festival begins, featuring free activities and admission to The Muse for parade participants, plus live music and dance in the amphitheater next door. There will also be a few food and craft vendors.
In case of inclement weather on Saturday, the event will be held at the same times on Sunday, May 27. Event organizers will post any changes to their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/cattywampuspuppetcouncil) and website (https://cattywampuspuppetcouncil.com) by Friday afternoon.
If you’d like to participate in Saturday’s parade but don’t have an accessory, you can volunteer to carry a piece of existing art or find inspiration to make your own at https://cattywampuspuppetcouncil.com/resources/. This year’s parade theme is “Our Roots, Our Power,” a reflection of the Pageant’s mission to bring together all community members and celebrate their stories through the visual and performing arts.