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Bloomin’ Puppetfest

Last May I had the distinction of being the guest of honor at the Bloomin’ Puppetfest in Bloomington Indiana. For me it was a trip back home to Indiana. I was able to perform in some of the places I started out in. The Plainfield Public Library was where I did some of my first puppet shows as a kid and they had me back to promote my book. Another early break for me was working at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. They also had me back for a weekend of shows as well as the Danville Public Library. Channel 13 did a live feed from Danville for their morning show to advertise my Banana Buddy workshop. Everyone was really nice to me on my tour as I performed my show and signed books.
Thanks to Julie and Mark for their help and many talents. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without the help of my wife Julie and our friend Mark Gale. They worked with me before, during, and after every show to make sure things went smoothly. This was also a trip back home for Mark since he grew up in Anderson, IN. The stage was built by my father-in-law, John McKillip. It was perfect because it collapsed into two suit cases, fit easily into our car, and made for easy loading. Thanks, John!
The Convert-a-Bears got down during the “Big Ol’ Bear Hug” number. These pictures from the Bloomin’ Puppetfest were snapped by my new puppet friend Guy Thompson. He was there with the Stevens Puppets and we got to see him do a great marionette version of The Wizard of Oz. In this picture Mark and Julie are performing the white bear from backstage as I hold Bernie Bear out front. The song was “Big Ol’ Bear Hug” which I wrote and recorded. It’s a great number because I get to hug members of the audience during the song.
Goin’ Bananas with the Banana Buddies. The Banana Buddies got to perform two stories, “Banana Beauty and the Beast” and “The Banana Bread Man”. In these stories there were two songs, “Goin’ Bananas” and “The Banana Bread Man Rap”. My sister Julie Kennedy-Rick did the narration for the tracks and Mark and I laid down all of the character voices.
Running on time with the Running Rabbit. The funniest routine in the show was the Running Rabbit skit. We always got a big reaction from the crowd when the ukulele rabbit kicks the saxophone rabbit off the stage. I have to thank my friend Will Ryan for letting me use his song, “If Everybody Played the Ukulele”. I worked with Will on The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss and we have kept in touch ever since. Not only is Will a good friend, he is also a great writer both of television and music. In this shot I’m describing how I manipulate the feet of the Running Rabbit with my fingers.
Kickin’ it live with the Dancin’ Chick. I always end my show with the Dancin’ Chick and another song from Will Ryan, “Aint My Baby Somethin’”. I have an egg come out first and start to hatch. Then there are legs that pop out and the egg begins dancing to the music. At a certain point the egg accidentally falls and a loud crash is heard. That’s when the Dancin’ Chick jumps into action and demonstrates her amazing dancing skills. We had a great time in Indiana and hope to go on another tour soon. Maybe this year I’ll have a bigger show to promote my new book.