The summer is about to officially arrive, and this year, it comes with puppets.
The first annual Solstice Puppet Festival takes place at the Tisbury Waterworks on Saturday, June 23, from 4 to 6 p.m. The event begins with a parade of puppets, clowns and performers heading out from the Tisbury Overlook amphitheater and progressing to the Waterworks building.
Waiting outside the Waterworks building will be a giant Mother Earth puppet who will welcome the paradegoers and then be welcomed herself by Yamanja, the Brazilian-African goddess of the sea who, naturally, will arrive by boat. Greek goddesses of all shapes and sizes will accompany the procession dancing to live medieval music. Numerous other puppets may be seen lounging in the bushes, on the lawn or dancing to the music of bells, care of the West Tisbury Handbell Choir.
At 5 p.m., inside the Waterworks building, the Spindrift Marionettes perform a Japanese folktale called The Magic Teakettle. This is the story of a kettle with the power to transform into a talking, performing raccoon with a taste for rice cakes. Admit it: you’ve felt the pull of that life too.
Island resident Justine Cassel performs her own puppet show entitled The Tooth Fairy. 
There is a suggested all-inclusive donation of $10 per person and $20 for families, and all proceeds benefit the Mama Bakhita Home for Disabled Children in Livingstone, Zambia. Vendors from the Zambezi Project (formerly the African Artists Community Development Project) will be on hand selling African crafts.
For more information, call 508-693-4059 or email or visit
Rain date Sunday, June 24