News Release

For Immediate Release

Government of Canada supports Puppets Up! through the Tourism Relief Fund

Puppets Up! receives $75,000 from Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization through FedDev Ontario to help bring visitors to Mississippi Mills this summer

June 30, 2022
Mississippi Mills, ON

The tourism sector is vital to the economy and jobs in Mississippi Mills and across Lanark County and after a six year hiatus the Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival is coming back as part of the community’s efforts to get people back into the streets of Almonte.

Today, Puppets Up! received a non-repayable contribution of $75,000 from Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Orgnanization (OTHO) to help bring visitors back to the community of Almonte in Mississippi Mills this summer. This is part of an overall Government of Canada investment through Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) of $68.5 million for 11 Regional Tourism Offices and Indigenous Tourism Ontario.

This Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) investment will help Puppets Up! adapt and recover to attract new visitors and drive economic growth in Mississippi Mills.


“The tourism sector is important to the economy, jobs and livelihoods in Eastern Ontario. This Government of Canada investment, through FedDev Ontario and Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization will ensure businesses in Eastern Ontario, like Puppets Up!, have the tools to enhance experiences and offerings to attract visitors and be well-positioned to drive economic growth in (region).”

The Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“Puppets Up! Has a long history of brining tourists to Almonte and the benefit is felt all across Mississippi Mills and, indeed, across all of Lanark County! This funding will help us expand our reach and really showcase everything that this corner of Eastern Ontario has to offer!”

Jane Torrance, Executive Director, Puppets Up!

“We are extremely grateful to be working alongside FedDev Ontario to deliver this much needed funding to our tourism industry. We are a region full of resilient and innovative operators who care deeply about their communities. This funding support enables them to provide elevated experiences to visitors and re-ignite the spirit of our region.”

Nicole Whiting, Executive Director, Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization  

Quick facts

  • The Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival is taking place August 12-14, 2022, in historic downtown Almonte, which is part of Mississippi Mills in Lanark County.
  • Puppets Up! features 13 performers and troupes from across Canada and around the world, providing 65 performances of world-class puppet artistry and family-friendly entertainment.
  • Puppets Up! is guided by Artistic Director Noreen Young, a recipient of the Order of Canada for her contributions to Canada’s arts scene, including being the creator of Under the Umbrella Tree and several other beloved puppet charcaters well known by fans of Canadian children’s television.

Associated Links


Monica Granados

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario


Joe Boughner

Public Affairs Coordinator

Puppets Up!


Kate Evans

Industry Partnerships and Funding Coordinator

Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization


About Puppets Up!

From 2005 until 2016, the Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival brought some of the best and most innovative puppetry from around the world to the streets of Almonte. Puppets Up! was started by a group of fun people in Almonte (inspired and led by Noreen Young, the visionary puppet creator behind “Hi Diddle Day” and “Under The Umbrella Tree”) who wanted to entertain and inform people about the varied and vibrant art of puppetry, something common to virtually all cultures. During its initial run, the festival drew crowds from across the country and around the world to see puppeteers and street formers perform in intimate theatres and against the backdrop of Almonte’s historic main street.

2022 marks the return of this beloved festival, with a mix of well-established puppet performers and some up and coming talent from across Canada and around the world.

About OHTO

Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization (OHTO) is a not-for-profit organization mandated and funded by the province of Ontario to support tourism within the counties of Haliburton, Lanark, and Renfrew and portions of Frontenac, Hastings, and Lennox and Addington. Learn more at

About FedDev Ontario

For more than 12 years, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support jobs, innovation and growth in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving their productivity, growing their revenues, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. Learn more about the impacts the Agency is having in southern Ontario by exploring our Southern Ontario Spotlight, pivotal projects.Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.



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