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Museum Puppets Make a Splash at Taste of the Harvest

DSC_0525This past Saturday museum staff, volunteers and their families manned the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center booth at Wenatchee’s annual Taste of Harvest Festival downtown.

The annual harvest festival is organized by the good people of the Wenatchee Downtown Association and during the day-long event the city shuts down part of Wenatchee Avenue and throngs of people mill about the various booths, kiosks, food vendors and downtown businesses.

The museum’s larger-than-life puppets made quite a splash at the event.

Thanks to dedicated volunteers, namely┬áTommy Wachholder and Zach Eddy as well as Melanie Eastman (our curator of collections) and Abby Danko, the David Thompson and “apple lady/orchard wife” puppets were out and about making the rounds on the streets of Wenatchee (much to the alarm of any K9s in the area).


Above you can see┬áour Curator of Exhibits, Bill Rietveldt, help volunteer Tommy Watchholder shrug on the apparatus – allowing him to become a giant David Thompson for the event.

The puppets are actually quite heavy and in addition to the repurposed back-backing gear that allows the puppet to stay perched on the wearer’s back, a series of pulleys and levers allows the puppet master to manipulate the puppet’s arms and head using heavy-duty fishing line.

It’s a sweaty business, but worth it.

Our puppets always make quite an impression at local events and parades, and children often find the paper mache giants fascinating (like this little youngster below).


The puppets are the brainchild of Bill┬áRietveldt, who originally created them as a part of “The David Thompson Experience” a few years ago. Since then they’ve become an expected part of any museum event and we’re always looking for fun-loving volunteers to step up and step into our giant puppets!

If you’d like to volunteer to pilot one of our puppets, or simply lend a much-needed hand at your local museum & cultural center, contact us via our Facebook page here or call Tammy at the front desk at the museum at 509-888-6240.

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