Family fun at Paddles and Puppets in Almonte

If you’re looking for something a little different to do with the family this summer, then take a short drive out to scenic Almonte and enjoy Paddles and Puppets on Saturday, August 11 at the Almonte Fairgrounds.

This fun-filled day will help support the purchase of new diagnostic imaging equipment for the Almonte General Hospital. There’ll be something for everyone. “Children will really enjoy the puppet performances,” says Noreen Young, the coordinator for the three puppet troupes performing. “I know all three puppeteers from the puppet festival we used to hold in Almonte, and they’ll provide entertainment the whole family can enjoy.”

The puppeteers include Glen Caradus – The Paddling Puppeteer; Mike Petersen with a good old-fashioned and funny Punch and Judy Show and Faye Dupras from Boston with her I Spy Butterfly puppeteering. Each puppeteer will perform two shows, so there’s plenty of opportunity to catch them all. “We’re thrilled to have Noreen Young and the Puppets Up team on board with us this year,” says Art Solomonian, chair of the event’s steering committee and the Almonte General Hospital and Fairview Manor Foundation. “It’s a great addition to the festivities and there’s plenty of other family-fun activities as well.” People can take part in the 5 km community paddle up the Mississippi River towards Appleton and enjoy the scenery, or build and decorate a raft and race across the river for some amazing prizes. “The raft races can get pretty zany,” says Solomonian, “and the competition to make it across the river and back can get pretty fierce – especially when the rafts start to fall apart – but it’s all in good fun. Our judges will award prizes for best raft design and team costume.” The raft race has ten rafts registered so far and they welcome more participants. It’s a great way to promote your company, sports team or organization.

Local music promoter and Country Music Hall of Fame member, Charlie Kitts, will be providing an array of musical guests for the live afternoon performances at the grandstand. There’ll be many community vendors on site and the local Civitan Club will be providing both breakfast and lunch.

“Paddles and Puppets is a great opportunity to visit Almonte for a day of family fun,” says Solomonian. “We started it last year for Almonte’s Canada 150 celebration. When we got rained out we moved it to what had been the Puppets Up festival date and we were reasonably successful. Now with the puppets involved this year, and the madcap raft race, we know we’re on to something.” Solomonian says it’s also a great way to bring the community together. “It’s all about giving back,” he says. “This is an entertaining way to provide support for a good cause and to show everyone how Almonte is growing and thriving.” Paddles and Puppets takes place on Saturday, August 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Almonte Fairgrounds. All proceeds go to the Almonte General Hospital. For information and to purchase tickets, visit: and/or