UConn hosting weeklong national puppetry festival - WFSB 3 Connecticut

UConn hosting weeklong national puppetry festival

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)
STORRS, CT (WFSB/AP) -

Puppeteers from around the world are descending on UConn this week for a festival of all things puppet.

The National Puppetry Festival of the Puppeteers of America will feature performances, exhibitions and serious discussions on issues such as how to use puppets in therapy or to help solve child-sex crimes.

UConn is celebrating 50 years of the puppet arts as the only university in the country with multiple degrees in puppetry.

Several big names will be in attendance, including Carroll Spinney, the man behind characters such as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on the TV show Sesame Street.

Kade Conklin traveled from Ohio for the 2015 National Puppetry Festival of the Puppeteers of America.

Student Sarah Nolen created the "Treeples" puppets, and she admits her career choice is a little uncommon, but for the next few days more than 500 people like her, from 12 nations, will attend the workshops and put on shows.

A free daily Community Puppet Workshop will allow children to create sea creatures out of found objects such as soda bottles and milk jugs.

Pam Arciero is a living puppet legend who has worked on Sesame Street for decades and created all kinds of characters, including Leona Lion from Between the Lions.

"You know, once you are on something that's nationwide like Sesame Street, like working with The Muppets then everybody goes 'oh that's what she's doing,' but up until that time she's just kinda wacky playing with dolls and making stuff in the basement," Arciero said.

The festival will culminate on Saturday with a puppet parade through Storrs and a fair outside UConn's Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry.

For information on all the events that are open to the public, click here.

For information on Sarah Nolan’s project, “Treeples," click here.

Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.