What’s a PuppetPalooza, you may ask? More importantly, can you say it fast three times?
The tongue twister is Santa Barbara’s first-ever celebratory puppet festival, the brainchild of our town’s young-at-heart Mitchel Kreigman (author, award-winning creator of children’s public television programming, journalist and rabble rouser) who, in his infinite wisdom, decided that Santa Barbara could use a family-friendly event celebrating imaginative creations that come to life.
This spring (March 1–4) the fantasy fest—officially called the First Annual Santa Barbara International PuppetPalooza—features four days of more than 20 events staged by 30 puppeteers from around the globe. From teensy finger puppets to gigantic figures, marionettes to bilingual performances as well as an “autistic-friendly” showcase, there’s something scheduled for everyone, including a late-night X-rated act.
“I love the festivals in Santa Barbara and realized there wasn’t a family festival or enough things for kids and families to do—and nothing much going on in March,” says Kreigman.
Performances take place at Marjorie Luke Theater, SBCAST, CAW and Alameda Park. Highlights include a block party on State Street—and “pop up” puppet shows—like those with roots going back to the UK’s 17th-century Punch and Judy shows. Puppet history spans the centuries and is almost 3,000 years old, with early origins in India and Asia, later in Italy and Europe, all the way to the Muppets and modern-day masters coming to our town from as far away as Russia.
Let the revelry begin!
For tickets/info visit Paseo Nuevo’s “Pop up Puppet Theater and Museum” in the center of the outdoor mall—with teaser previews—or visit puppetpaloozasb.com.