Puppets Up! – Presented by Neilcorp Homes starts tomorrow! Holy smokes!

We’re so excited to see so many people coming out to their first ever Puppets Up! and we know it can be a bit overwhelming given how much entertainment we pack in to three days and a few blocks of downtown Almonte. So here’s what you need to know.

Day passes and theatre shows

Your day pass is your ticket to the heart and soul of the festival — our five performance venues:

  • The Beaton Theatre (1) is in the Ron Caron Auditorium on the top floor of the Almonte Old Town Hall
  • The Equator | Hummingbird Theatre (2) is in the parking lot next to the Old Town Hall
  • The Alliance and Indonesia Theatre (3) and Vamos Theatre (4) are along the Ottawa Valley Rail Trail in the linear park across from the library
  • The Sivarulrasa Theatre (5) is in the library parking lot

These venues will play host to our 13 performers / troupes across the three days of the festival, as laid out in the program. Most guests use their day pass to see four shows per day!

Admission to these shows is included with your festival day pass but each show is seated on a first-come, first-served basis so we recommend lining up 15 minutes before the schedule start time to make sure you get a seat. The shows in the middle of the day tend to be the busiest so if you’ve got your heart set on a specific show, consider coming to an earlier or later performance.

Note: If a show isn’t completely full a few minutes before it starts we will offer people without a day pass a chance to see the show for $10 per person (debit or credit payment only) but day pass holders are always admitted first.

The rest of the festival

Not interested in the theatre shows? There’s still plenty to see and do at Puppets Up!

  • Street entertainment will be taking place throughout the festival, both on the L-D Tool & Die Outdoor Stage at the corner of Mill Street and Bridge Street and throughout the festival site.
  • There’s a kids’ craft tent (6) and family area with shaded places to sit and mini theatres for your kids to put on their own puppet shows next to the library
  • Local vendors and craftsfolk will be set up in the Marketplace in the library parking lot
  • Food and drinks will be available throughout the weekend, including:
    • the food court next to the Old Town Hall;
    • the pizza oven next to the Library (a fundraiser for the Mississippi Mills Youth Centre);
    • Don’s Meat Market, who are setting up in front of their store; and
    • all of the great restaurants and cafes along Mill Street, just a few steps from the festival site!

There’s no admission fee for the festival site and thus no charge for all of these incredible offerings but donations are being accepted at the kids’ craft tent from those without day passes.

And, of course, the parade!

The parade is the highlight of the weekend for many of our guests! On Saturday and Sunday, around 1:45 pm, everything comes to a halt so our performers, guests and many others can participate in the puppet parade! This year the parade route comes up McCallum Street, heads towards to the Old Town Hall along Reserve Street before turning sharply and coming along the Ottawa Valley Rail Trail through the festival site. They’ll then turn again on John Street to return to Reserve Street and complete the loop by heading back down McCallum.

We recommend finding a spot along Reserve Street as that’ll be the best viewing area!

Planning your visit

Now that you know what to expect, it’s time to plan your visit!

  • Choose your day
    • Friday is a quieter day, starting after noon and with only two venues operating. No parade, no marketplace and limited street entertainment makes this the perfect day for those who prefer a quieter experience or those with sensory processing issues
    • Saturday¬†is our busiest day and is perfect for those who want to be in the heart of the action
    • Sunday offers the same programming as Saturday but tends to draw smaller crowds as people get set for the week ahead. This is a good bet for those who still want the full festival experience but with smaller crowds and shorter waits
  • Buy your day pass (at a discounted rate, thanks to Neilcorp and all of our incredible sponsors and funders!)
  • Plan your arrival – free parking is available for bikes, ATVs and cars at the Almonte Fairgrounds (map link)
  • Build your schedule

Accessibility, safety and other things to be aware of

  • Puppets Up! is an accessible festival!
    • Handicap parking will be available along Reserve Street
    • All theatre venues are fully accessible
    • Accessible washrooms are available in the Old Town Hall
    • Accessible porta potties are included along the rail trail
  • A first aid tent will be located at the intersection of Mill Street and Bridge Street
  • Lost and Found will be located in the Old Town Hall
  • Information tents are located at each of the two main entrances, at McCallum Street approaching the OVRT and at the Old Town Hall
  • While masks are not required, as per public health regulations, we do encourage folks to be COVID smart! Wear a mask if you’re comfortable doing so, take advantage of hand sanitizer stations and give people space and distance. We’re capping capacities in the theatre venues to allow for extra distancing and most of the rest of the festival takes place outdoors

And when all else fails, look for a volunteer in a bright yellow t-shirt and they can help you find what you need!

See you at the festival!



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