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Kalevala Puppet Pageant performs Aug. 20-21

The celebration of Finnish folklore involves acting, singing, stilt-walking and larger-than-life puppets.

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King Kraken makes his appearance at a performance of the Kalevala Puppet Pageant. Contributed / New York Mills Regional Cultural Center, Aug. 12, 2021

The New York Mills Regional Cultural Center presents the 12th annual Kalevala Puppet Pageant on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 20-21.

The pageant is a free, large-scale community outdoor theater experience taking place at 7 p.m. Friday at New York Mills VFW Post 3289 and at 1:45 p.m. Saturday at Finn Creek Museum.

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

This year’s performance tells the story of “The Ring of King Kraken,” and attendees will see familiar characters from years past, like 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 during two weeks of workshops, build sessions and practices leading up to the performances. Skills are taught by Anne Sawyer, a creative director and puppeteer from Minneapolis, and assistant director Lisa Winter of Wadena, a longtime puppeteer and stilt walker who has been involved in the pageant all 12 years.

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For more information or to volunteer or donate, call the cultural center at 218-385-3339.

Related Topics: THEATER
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