Menlo Park Belle Haven Library hosts first ever Puppetry Festival

by Contributed Content on May 31, 2018

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On June 3, the Menlo Park Belle Haven Library will kick off a three-month-long celebration of the art of puppetry, with a Puppetry Festival featuring a variety of professional puppet companies over the course of eight different events.

The library will host a puppet performance every other Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. On the Sundays when no show is scheduled, puppet crafts and coloring will be offered. A special Wednesday afternoon performance will take place on July 25 at 4:00. “Silly Goose and Val” features ventriloquist, musician, composer, and performer Valerie Leonhart Smalkin, who will be on tour from her home in Maryland.

Fans of wisecracking puppets and their ventriloquists will also enjoy the antics of Randel McGee & Groark the Dragon, which closes out the Festival on August 26. McGee, based in Central California’s Kings County, performs internationally as a storyteller and puppeteer. His guitar-playing dragon sidekick Groark has recently sprouted a pair of wings.

Attendees of the Puppetry Festival will also get to enjoy hand puppets, rod puppets, and marionettes by several local puppet companies, including The Puppet Company, led by Randel Metz, the long-time Director of the Storybook Puppet Theater at Children’s Fairyland in Oakland. Metz’s “Puppet Circus” stars a cast of over 30 puppets, including elephants and a tightrope-walking bear.

All of the performances, which take place at 413 Ivy Dr, are free, thanks to funding from the Friends of the Menlo Park Library.

Sunday, June 3: “3 Billy Goats Gruff” – Puppet Art Theater – 2:00 pm

Sunday, June 17 : “The Itty Bitty Variety Show” – Caterpillar Puppets – 2:00 pm

Sunday, July 1: “The Puppet Circus” – The Puppet Company  –  2:00 pm

Sunday, July 15: “The Puppet Man” – Magical Moonshine Theatre – 2:00 pm

Wednesday, July 25 :  Silly Goose & Val  –  4:00 pm

Sunday, July 29:  “Frankenswine” – Puppet Art Theater –  2:00 pm

Sunday, August 12: “Carnival of the Animals” – Fratello Marionettes  –   2:00 pm

Sunday, August 26:  Randel McGee & Groark the Dragon –  2:00 pm

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