14th Annual Community Theater Event
Friday 8/18/23 @ NYM Corn Feed
Saturday 8/19/23 @ Finn Creek Fest
Workshops begin Mon, Aug 7, 2023!

The Puppet Pageant is an original large-scale street theater play based on stories from the Finnish national epic poem, the Kalevala.

This annual community theater program brings people together to learn a wide variety of artistic skills including acting and stilt-walking, plus learn about Finnish culture and heritage, and make connections with fellow community members and artists.

Daily workshops for participants begin on Monday, August 7th; details below.  In 2023, there will be two public performances of the Kalevala Puppet Pageant:

  • Friday, August 18 @ 7pm @ NYM VFW Post 3289 during NYM Civic & Commerce Corn Feed
  • Saturday, August 19 @ 12pm @ Finn Creek Open Air Museum during Finn Creek Festival

Performances are open to all! Friday performance at VFW is free to attend. For the Saturday performance, there is a $5/adult gate donation (children under 16 free) to get into Finn Creek Festival. Freewill donations will be collected at both performances to help cover the costs of this enriching community experience.

If you are interested in sponsoring this event and/or making a donation to provide a scholarship for a youth participant, email betsy@kulcher.org or give us a call at 218-385-3339. Thank you for supporting our youth and this local community program!

Be Part of the Show!

Adults and youth ages 5 & up (children under the age of 7 must be accompanied by an adult or older sibling) are invited to participate. There are two weeks of workshops beginning August 7, 2023, leading up to the culminating performances on Friday & Saturday, August 18 & 19, 2023.

Dance, music, acting, costume design, performance skills, and stilt walking are all taught by Anne Sawyer, Creative Director, along with Assistant Director Lisa Winter of Wadena, and Tara Fahey of Minneapolis.

During the two weeks of workshops, participants will create and build puppets and props of all sizes in addition to learning the story and performance of the narrated play. Stilt walking will be included again this year as an added element to the performance (optional for youth ages 8 & older and adult participants).

Cost to participate in these two weeks of workshops and two performances is $50/child with a $100 max per family. Scholarships are available; no one will be turned away based on inability to pay. Parent volunteerism is always appreciated! Teens and adults participate for FREE!


Our volunteers make the world go round.

Want to join the fun? Volunteers are ALWAYS welcome, and there are lots of ways to get involved!

  • Like working with kids?  Guide children during our morning workshops!  (Weekdays 9am-12pm, Aug 7-17)
  • Need a creative outlet?  Join us at evening workshops to help create puppets and props!  (See dates below)
  • Love to sew?  Create or repair costumes on your own time!  (Contact info@kulcher.org or 218-385-3339)
  • Have a big vehicle?  Help us pack & move puppets & props from the Barn to the VFW!  (Wed Aug 16 @ noon)
  • Want to donate some stuff?  Let’s turn your trash into a treasure!  (See wish list below)
  • Maybe a donation is more your thing?  Monetary donations are necessary to help keep costs low for participants.  (Donation links below)

Big thanks to ALL the community members who help make this event happen, especially ALL the awesome parents, and our gracious event space partners: City of NYM (The Barn/Sculpture Park — workshop location), NYM VFW (Friday performance), and Finn Creek Museum (Saturday performance).


Thanks to all sponsors + there’s still time to support this community experience!

Thanks to the following businesses and individuals for sponsoring the 2023 Kalevala Puppet Pageant so far. We continue to seek donations from local businesses, organizations, and individual sponsors/donors to help bring this community theater project to life!

All supporters will be acknowledged on our website (with logo and link, if provided), at the performances, and on any printed marketing materials (pending print timing).  If you are interested in supporting this event, please contact betsy@kulcher.org or call 218-385-3339.  Thank you!


















Supplies Wish List:

  • Clear plastic jugs (lemonade or juice type, 48 oz or 1.5 quarts, rinsed)
  • Cereal boxes (large)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Balloons
  • Clean single-ply cardboard (large boxes)
  • Brown paper bags
  • Old bicycle inner tubes and tires
  • Water-based house paint (no oil-base, please)
  • Plastic containers with lids (cottage cheese type or similar)
  • Craft doo-dads such as pipe cleaners, pom-poms, buttons
  • Trash bags
  • Paper towels
  • Wooden lathe for puppet sticks (30 sticks)
  • Duct tape & masking tape

Support the Puppet Pageant Financially!

Provide a scholarship to a child for just $50; $100 buys 3 gallons of acrylic paint; or cover the actual cost for 1 child to participate for $300. ALL donations are welcome!

Click below, stop by during our Open Hours (Wed-Thurs 10-7, Fri 10-5, Sat 10-3), or send us a check (PO Box 246, NYMills, MN 56567). All donors will be recognized in our performance program (unless requested otherwise). THANK YOU for supporting this interactive & engaging creative community experience!

Donate to support the 2023 Puppet Pageant >


Subject to change – please check back to confirm details and watch FB for weather announcements.

Located @ The Barn, NYM Sculpture Park
 (unless otherwise noted below)

  • August 7-11 (Mon-Fri) 9am-12pm: Daily Morning Workshops
  • August 14-17 (Mon-Thurs) 9am-12pm: Daily Morning Workshops
    • Thurs. location TBD – may be VFW
  • August 16 (Wed) @ NOON: Transport all puppets, props, supplies etc. to NYM VFW (120 S Boardman Ave) — parent & volunteer assistance requested!
  • August 16 (Wed) 6-8pm *EVENING REHEARSAL* @ VFW
  • August 17 (Thurs) 6-8pm *DRESS REHEARSAL* @ VFW
  • August 18 (Fri) 5:30pm *CALL FOR PERFORMERS* @ VFW (performance @ 7pm)
  • August 19 (Sat) 10:30am *CALL FOR PERFORMERS* @ Finn Creek (performance @ 12pm)


(Family friendly!! All ages welcome, including adults and CHILDREN ACCOMPANIED BY ADULTS please)

  • August 7, 9 (Monday, Wednesday) 6-8pm @ The Barn
  • August 14, 15 (Monday, Tuesday) 6-8pm @ The Barn



  • August 8 (Tuesday) 1-2:30pm @ The Barn
  • August 10 (Thursday) 1-2:30pm @ The Barn
  • August 15 (Tuesday) 1-2:30pm @ The Barn
  • August 17 (Thursday) 1-2:30pm @ The VFW

*Stilt walking open to ages 8 and up. Stilters should bring a pair of jeans and sturdy shoes (hiking boots are best) with socks to put on for each practice.

Note to Parents: Please note the noon-1:00 lunch break (unsupervised) between general workshops and stilting practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and make arrangements for your children.


PERFORMANCE DETAILS for participants:

  • August 18 (Friday) at New York Mills VFW @ 7:00 p.m. in conjunction with NYM Corn Feed
    • NOTE: After Performance – Load all PP items for Saturday performance
  • August 19 (Saturday) at Finn Creek Museum (6 miles south of NYM) @ 12:00 p.m. in conjunction with Finn Creek Festival
    • Transfer all items & set up @ Finn Creek ~10am (specifics TBD)
    • CALL FOR PERFORMERS @ 10:30am @ Finn Creek Open Air Museum
NOTE: We would like to have snacks for daily workshops and performances. If you would like to donate any healthy snack foods (bonus points for locally grown goodies!), we will gladly welcome them! Please email info@kulcher.org or call 218-385-3339.