10th Annual Kalevala Puppet Pageant
Fri, Aug 17th @ New York Mills VFW
Sat, Aug 18th @ Perham Pioneer Grounds

The Cultural Center is pleased to present its 10th annual Kalevala Puppet Pageant performance in New York Mills on Friday, August 17th, in conjunction with the New York Mills Civic & Commerce Corn Feed. Both the Corn Feed and NYM Puppet Pageant will be held outdoors behind the New York Mills VFW again this year!

We are also excited to be headed back to Perham for our second annual Perham Puppet Pageant performance on Saturday, August 18th! This year the performance will be held at the Perham Pioneer Grounds during the annual Perham Pioneer Days Festival.

The Puppet Pageant is an original large-scale street theater play based on stories from the Finnish national epic poem, The Kalevala. 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 6, leading up to the culminating performances on August 17 & 18, 2018.

Dance, music, acting, costume design, performance skills, and stilt walking will be taught by Anne Sawyer, Creative Director and Puppeteer who has worked with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre in Minneapolis, along with Assistance Director Lisa Winter of Wadena.

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 older youth and adult participants).

Cost to participate is $50/child with a $100/family max. In order to encourage adult participation, there is no fee for adults. Scholarships are available based on need; no one will be turned away based on an inability to pay. Volunteers gladly welcomed.


WORKSHOPS FOR ALL: Located @ The Barn

  • August 6-10 (Monday-Friday) 9am-noon Daily Morning Workshops
  • August 13-16 (Monday-Thursday) 9am-noon Daily Morning Workshops (Wednesday & Thursday location TBD – may be VFW)
  • August 15 (Wednesday) 4:00 p.m. Transport all puppets, props, supplies etc. to NYM VFW (120 S Boardman Ave) — parent & volunteer assistance requested!
  • August 15 (Wednesday) 6pm-8pm *evening rehearsal* @ VFW
  • August 16 (Thursday) 6-8 pm *DRESS REHEARSAL* @ VFW
  • August 17 (Friday) 5:30 CALL FOR PERFORMERS @ VFW


  • August 17th (Friday) at New York Mills VFW @ 7:00 p.m. (outdoors behind VFW) in conjunction with NYM Corn Feed
    • NOTE: After Performance – Load all PP items for Perham performance
  • August 18th (Saturday) at Pioneer Grounds in Perham @ 3:00 p.m.
    • Transfer all items & set up @ Pioneer Grounds ~10am (specifics TBD)
    • CALL FOR PERFORMERS @ 1:30pm @ Pioneer Grounds
NOTE: We will have food Friday night & Saturday afternoon for all participants. We will also have snacks & water daily. If you would like to donate any healthy snack foods, we will gladly welcome them!


  • August 6, 8 (Monday, Wednesday) 6-8pm @ The Barn
  • August 13,14 (Monday, Tuesday) 6-8pm @ The Barn


  • August 7 (Tuesday) 1-2:30 pm @ The Barn
  • August 9 (Thursday) 1-2:30 pm @ The Barn
  • August 14 (Tuesday) 1-2:30 pm @ The Barn
  • August 16 (Thursday) 1-2:30 pm @ 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 practice. (Note to Parents: Children will NOT be supervised during the noon-1:00 break.)


Seeking participants, volunteers, and donations!
Call the Center to register as a participant or volunteer, or fill out form at the bottom of this post. See below for specific volunteer and donation requests. Questions? Call 218-385-3339.

Volunteers Desired:

  • Sewers
  • Carpenters/handy folk
  • Papier mache and painting fools
  • Kid wranglers (aka workshop helpers)
  • Stage manager
  • Backstage helpers (adults/mature teens to help kids during show)
  • Adults/teens to help stilters during Tues/Thurs afternoon practices (see schedule above)
  • Adult/teen performers for larger puppets (adult/teen participants are FREE!)

Materials Wish List:

  • Bubble wrap
  • Newspaper
  • Brown paper bags
  • Plastic bags
  • Cereal boxes
  • Christmas tree balls & tinsel
  • Bamboo poles (8 foot)
  • Old bicycle inner tubes and tires
  • Plastic containers with lids (cottage cheese, large yogurt, or similar)
  • Trash bags
  • Paper towels
  • Tarps
  • Duct tape
  • Masking tape
  • Paint brushes
  • Buckets
  • Tin foil
  • Plain white muslin (20 yards)
  • Electric fans
  • Healthy snacks for participants (daily morning workshops)


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 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 community experience!

Donate through Network for Good

A giant-puppet sized THANK YOU to these 2018 Puppet Pageant sponsors and scholarship providers:










This activitiy is made possible, in part, by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Lake Region Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.



Individual Donors/Sponsors:

  • Dorothy Eskeli, New York Mills
  • Judith Brockway, Deer Creek
  • Pat & Ed Buerkle, New York Mills