A few photos (and short reviews) of yesterday’s Puppets Up! in Almonte


Puppets Up! in Almonte is the most charming festival in the Ottawa area.

We went again this year with our daughters (ages 5 and 7) and as usual, we had a great time. For two days, just about every storefront in Almonte’s small downtown has at least one puppet in the window. The townfolk walk around carrying puppet doppelgangers. Most kids walk around with an arm inside a puppet. There are puppet artisans, street performances, and a free parade.

There are performances by professional puppet companies from Canada, the United States and Hungary. This year ten different shows were performed in large tents around Almonte. For $20 (adults) and $10 (kids), you get an unlimited day pass to watch as many shows as you can. We spent so much time walking around this year that we only saw two shows but they were both great.

Tanglewood Marionnettes (Massachussetts) performed The Dragon King, a story based on a Chinese folk tale about a grandmother on a quest to save her village.  Two performers, visible at all times, guided the marrionnettes from above the stage, performing dozens of characters including people, sea creatures, a leaping rabbit, and a giant squid. A surprise appearance by the dragon at the very end of the play had the entire audience, kids and adults alike, whooping and applauding madly.  From the imaginative design of the creatures to the beautifully painted backdrops, this was puppetry performed at a very high level.

Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers (Bar Harbor, Maine) performed The Legend of the Banana Kid, a goofy homage to old western movies about a kid who dreams of being a cowboy. The creative puppetry and interaction between characters drew big laughs from the audience, and afterwards the performers came out from behind the stage and let kids see how the puppets were manipulated.

A few of my photos are below (and lots more can be found here).

Monster heads
Monster heads

Scene from "The Legend of the Banana Kid"
Scene from “The Legend of the Banana Kid”

Behind the scenes
Performer Erik Torbeck demonstrates a puppet

Banana Prop
Performer Robin Torbek demonstrates a banana prop

Balcony puppets pose for a photo
Balcony puppets

Why there's a food shortage in Almonte
This is why there’s a food shortage in Almonte.


Man in fancy costume riding ostrich
Man in fancy costume riding an ostrich.

See also: Ottawa Festivals Guide
If you liked this post, you should subscribe to etcetera, our free email newsletter. Featuring cool Ottawa events, interesting local news and contests and giveaways. Thanks!

Glen Gower

Glen is the owner and founder of OttawaStart.com. He lives in Stittsville, one of Ottawa's most exciting suburbs.


2 Responses

  1. colleen says:

    If you could only fit in two shows, those were fabulous choices! Tanglewood never disappoints! Just exquisite! It was a fantastic festival again! Kudos to all, from the organizers to the volunteers to the window artists to those collecting up garbage and even to those who worked on flower beds and boxes…all helped make it a fantastic weekend! We love our little town!!

  2. Went for the first time this year (my husband has always been a marionette devotee; he attended Bence Sarkadi's marionette-making workshop that took place earlier in the week) It was terrific all the way 'round; there was something of real interest and fun in every show I saw (four, I think!) and the parade was great fun (although my husband said its pace was too fast for the marionettes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay in the know!

Stay in the know!

Subscribe to the OttawaStart.com email digest for updates on local info & events. We promise to respect your time and your inbox!

You have successfully subscribed, thank you!