Duluth Puppet Troupe Puts On Smelt Fest For Earth Day

By KBJR News 1

April 22, 2012 Updated Apr 23, 2012 at 9:56 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)
Virginia has the Land of the Loon Festival.
Bayfield has the Apple Festival.
These Duluthians want in on the fun so they've started a Smelt Festival.
Leading their onshore smelt run are life size puppets on stilts from the Magic Smelt Puppet Troupe.

"We're something funky fresh and we'll be here for a while."

Anton Jimenez–Kloeckl from Staples, MN is one of the leaders of the troupe.
He wants his group to pump some life in the Northland's art scene.

"To celebrate special events and to bring magic to the community." said Jimenez-Kloeckl.

Puppet smelters put on a show for the hundreds of people and children gathered on the lawn of Duluth's Marine Museum.
Despite the lure of this age's digital entertainment, kids were especially enthralled.

"I think there's nothing more magical than something that's physical and with you rather than on a screen." said Jimenez-Kloeckl.

The actors playing smelt on stilts say theirs is a job with at least a few dangers.
Sidewalks are their kryptonite.

"I guess not getting caught on the cracks mostly. That's what breaks you. It's been close!" said smelt Jackson Werne.

The smelt fest was also a fun way to pay tribute to Earth Day.
If you missed Sunday's gathering, the Magic Smelt Puppet Troupe says they'll be back at least once this summer.

"We have plans to be in the Respect Your Mother Earth Festival on July 21 but beyond that, it's all magic secrets!"

In Duluth, Dave Anderson, the Northland's NewsCenter.

After the puppet show, the crew paraded down the lakewalk to Zeitgeist for a smelt fry.