PREVIEW: Festifools


Ever been walking in downtown Ann Arbor in April and all of a sudden been accosted by a horde of gargantuan, raging puppet heads? That would be FestiFools— unless some other wild force is taking the town that we don’t know about.

“FestiFools is a non-profit production of the STARTProject, a University of Michigan LLoyd Hall Scholars Program initiative.” Several years ago, professor Mark Tucker incorporated the age old idea of puppet theater into his LHSP class “Art in Public Spaces,” in which 20 non-art majors crafted gigantic puppets and took them to the streets of Ann Arbor. Today, other departments of the university and townies of all kinds are invited to work in groups or individually to craft puppets for the parade (specific qualifications for entry enumerated on the website). Now, the community event has an affiliation with the city of Ann Arbor beyond the boundaries of the university.

Inspired by Italy’s Carnevale di Viareggio,the parade makes political and social commentary through the use of puppetry. According to their creed, “FestiFools brings students and community volunteers together to create unique public art that is free and accessible to everyone. Specifically, we make huge-mongous papier-mâché puppets and march them around downtown Ann Arbor on a Sunday early in April.”

Last year was FestiFool’s sixth year running, but it was the first year they included FoolMoon. Puppets take the street by moonlight. In Keeping with LSA’s Winter 2012 theme semester, the theme of this year’s FullMoon parade is “Language.” Every Sunday for the past month, build-your-own Luminary workshops have been taking place at Workantile on Main St in preparation for the midnight promenade. On Sunday March, 25th, the UMMA held a workshop as well. There are instructions on how to make a luminary as well as info on the closest spots to town to buy a kit- if you feel inspired to get crafty- on the Festifools website.

Don’t miss this whimsical, comical, fantasmic parade of art and joy that is unique to Ann Arbor.

Click here to get to the Festifools YouTube channel and watch some funky videos from last year’s parade.

And check out the FestiFools website for more information, and some light comedy. They’ve got a pretty decent sense of humor.