Nashville Public Library hosts International Puppet Festival

Photo from the 2013 Nashville International Puppet Festival courtesy:

Photo from the 2013 Nashville International Puppet Festival

The Nashville Public Library’s 2016 Nashville International Puppet Festival is a free, family-friendly event at the main branch of the Nashville Public Library. The festival will take place Friday, June 17 through Sunday, June 19, and will feature puppetry performances, workshops, activities and a parade, with a wide variety of entertainment for all ages.

Renowned puppeteers and performers from all over the world, including 14 puppet troupes from 6 countries, will make their way to Nashville for the festival, which will transform the library and surrounding area into a vibrant, family-friendly carnival featuring puppet performances, live music and an outdoor street fair.

The Puppet Festival Parade, Saturday, June 18, at 9 am will fill the Arts District with music, performers, and puppets; participants include Wishing Chair Productions, Squallis Puppeteers from Louisville, KY, Nashville Ballet, The Global Education Center’s Djembe Drum Corp, and T-RAC. The parade will begin at War Memorial Plaza and end on Sixth Avenue North. The first 50 attendees will receive free flags.

“Whether you are 45 years old or five years old, you will enjoy the International Puppet Festival,” library director Kent Oliver has said. “Between puppet shows, workshops, food, music, the parade and evening performances, you will connect with something. And that is what we are all about—offering services that connect everyone to reading.”

Relax in the Library Courtyard and enjoy a European Street Festival, with unicyclists, jugglers, stilt walkers, face painters, and balloon artists. Keep your eyes open for pop-up performances by Francois Blanch Library puppet shows are free but require a ticket for entry to be picked up on the day of the show at the downtown library. Doors and onsite ticket booths will open at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. For a convenience fee of $2.50, tickets may be reserved in advance online at

In June 2008, the Nashville Public Library created Nashville’s first International Puppet Festival. Renowned puppet troupes from Italy, France, Germany and China joined some of the most talented puppetry artists in the nation. Over the three days of performances and workshops, the puppeteers dazzled more than 15,000 children and adults.

In May of 2011, Nashville Public Library brought back a more scaled-down version of its first festival: Nashville’s Downtown Puppet Festival. The free three-day festival focused on local and regional troupes, highlighting the library’s own in-house puppet troupe Wishing Chair Productions.

In June of 2013 the Nashville International Puppet Festival enjoyed a huge growth spurt, adding a parade that wound through downtown Nashville and included a beautiful Story time float, a half-dozen 20′ tall puppets, and a Chinese dragon. The festival also featured Emmy award-winning puppeteer Phillip Huber, famous puppet troupes from Japan, Argentina, Germany, China, and France, and a new production by Brian Hull and Wishing Chair Productions, String City.