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Calgary woman creates the puppet daughter she never had

Calgary World Puppetry Day celebration allows young and old to express themselves

Sonia Bakhtiar and her family pose with their puppets - which were connected by hand to form a long chain of puppets across the Calgary Puppet Day celebration floor.

Aaron Chatha / Metro

Sonia Bakhtiar and her family pose with their puppets - which were connected by hand to form a long chain of puppets across the Calgary Puppet Day celebration floor.

Monday’s World Puppetry Day celebration allowed Calgarian Nadia Asad to realize a lifelong dream.

“My friend is making a daughter,” smiled Sonia Bakhtiar, who watched the kids as her friend worked. “She has three boys, so now she’s putting girl clothes on a puppet.”

Meanwhile their kids were expressing themselves through puppet ninjas, and a man made entirely of stickers.

The World Puppetry Day celebration, held by WP Puppet Theatre, encouraged people to create a puppet and add it to one of the chains of puppets set up through the space, all holding hands.

Puppeteer Peter Balkwill of the Old Trout Puppet workshop celebrated by letting a group of kid’s name one of his puppets.

Aaron Chatha / Metro

They named him Michael Harry Roger Bah Michael.

“Quite a regal name,” remarked Michael Harry Roger Bah Michael upon learning his new name. The puppet was shaped to look like an old man, complete with a gruff voice.

Balkwill was one of the performers present at the celebration, hoping to inspire and younger generation to fall in love with puppetry.

Balkwill, however, did express concern at how a World Puppetry Day is created.

“Who gets to go, ‘let’s declare this world something day?’” he laughed. “Is there some sort of organization in Geneva that’s like, ‘awesome, we’ll take that into consideration. OK, this day is World Puppetry Day.’”

He said the day is more important on the civic level, rather than a global scale.

“We can call it Calgary puppetry day and it would mean the same for us,” he said. “It’s exciting to think we’re working with younger generations to generation an appreciation for creative activity.”

The event, held at Fort Calgary, allowed local puppet companies to reach out to kids, and let them know where to see puppet shows year-round.

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