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Annual Kalevala Puppet Pageant returning to New York Mills

All are invited to attend the performances on Friday, Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. at the NYM VFW and Saturday, Aug. 21 at 1:45pm at Finn Creek Museum.

Kalevala Puppet Pageant - Kraken.jpg
Kids look at a puppet of the Kraken at a previous Kalevala Puppet Pageant. (Submitted)
Perham Focus File Photo

The New York Mills Regional Cultural Center is holding its 12th annual Kalevala Puppet Pageant, a large-scale community street theater experience in New York Mills. All are invited to attend the performances on Friday, Aug. 20, at 7 p.m. at the New York Mills VFW and Saturday, Aug. 21, at 1:45pm at Finn Creek Museum.

Each year, an original play is created based on characters and tales from the Kalevala, the Finnish book of legends. This narrated play is brought to life by local community members through puppet costumes, stilt-walking, songs and music by award-winning duo Curtis & Loretta of Minneapolis.

This year's performance will tell the story of "The Rage of King Kraken," and attendees will see familiar characters from past years, including King Kraken Iku-Turso and Ukko the Thunder God.

Community members of all ages create the puppets, costumes and scenery, and learn to walk on stilts throughout two weeks of workshops, build sessions and stilt practices leading up to the Aug. 20 and 21 performances.

Acting, costume design, performance skills and stilt-walking are taught by Anne Sawyer, creative director and puppeteer from Minneapolis, who has worked with In the Heart of the Beast, Artstart, Chicks on Sticks and Lifeworks, along with Assistant Director Lisa Winter of Wadena, who is a long-time puppeteer and stilt-walker involved in the Puppet Pageant all 12 years.

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Audience members have two opportunities to see this free outdoor theater performance: The first will be in New York Mills (following the NYM Civic & Commerce Corn Feed) at the NYM VFW Post 3289 on Friday, Aug. 20, at 7 p.m. The second will be at Finn Creek Museum (during Finn Creek Festival) on Saturday, Aug. 21, at 1:45 p.m. Both performances are free to attend, family-friendly and open to all.

The Cultural Center would like to thank the many supporters of the Puppet Pageant, with special thanks to the Finlandia Foundation National for their grant support, and local main event sponsor, the New York Mills Civic & Commerce Association.

If you have any questions, call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339. You can also call to volunteer or donate.

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