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Local kids get comfy on stilts to prep for puppet pageant

The trick to walking on stilts is keeping shoulders back, head up and feet moving at all times. Here, a group of kids practice for their big performance on Friday. The kids will be just a few of the 'mystery' puppeteers behind the masks at the puppet pageant. Connie Vandermay/FOCUS1 / 2
Brian Seip, Cale Rudolph and Alexis Rudolph paint clouds for a scene in the puppet pageant. All the props and costumes are put together for the pageant in just two weeks. Connie Vandermay/FOCUS2 / 2

For the past two weeks, more than 20 local kids and a handful of adults have been set up in the upstairs of the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center painting and putting together paper-maché masks and costumes for their one-time performance on Friday night.

The kids will be dressing up in the costumes and walking on stilts for the puppet pageant taking place as a part of this weekend's Continental Divide Festival.

As part of the preparations, kids took their turns on stilts last week, walking around the NY Mills City Park and holding themselves up using the park shelter's roof.

Anne Sawyer-Aitch came to NY Mills from the Twin Cities to serve as the director of this year's pageant. Sawyer-Aitch is a Minnesota State Arts Board Roster Artist and Puppeteer-At-Large. She creates her own shows under Magic Lantern Puppet Theatre.