Call it the Mr. Potato Head of puppetry. That's how David Gaskell describes Puppetfest, the culmination of a marionette-making workshop at Oberlin College's Allen Memorial Art Museum, which is happening Saturday. Puppetfest includes a performance of Yi the Archer, a Chinese tale featuring handmade, Indonesian-influenced puppets, some as tall as 10 feet.
A troupe of four adults and 30 kids created and will manipulate the puppets, which are made of wood and papier-mâché. The kids created the heads, shaping the eyes, noses, and mouths, during the workshop. "The idea is like Mr. Potato Head, which I think is the most fun and creative aspect," says Gaskell, the museum's education assistant. Students also learned how to control and manage the dolls. "The puppet itself [is] actually quite light and easy to operate."
Yi the Archer was chosen for its action and its theme: It's an adventure story about the problems children face, if they don't listen to their parents. "It was also selected because it includes characters such as Chisel Tooth and a dragon," Gaskell says. "We thought they would be fun to make." Puppetfest is at 4 p.m. at the Allen Memorial Art Museum (87 North Main Street in Oberlin). Admission is free; call 440-775-8665. -- Cris Glaser
Drop the kids someplace they'll love.
6/19 - 8/15
Feeling guilty about shipping the kids off to camp this summer? Lake Erie Nature & Science Center hopes to ease your culpable conscience with its Wildlife and Space Camps. "Kids are having so much fun, they have no idea that they're learning," says the Science Center's Brigitte Calandra. Children can experience wildlife up close, hike through the Cleveland Metroparks Huntington Reservation to the Lake Erie shore, conduct science experiments, and make crafts. Camp curriculum is designed "to foster a lifelong appreciation for nature and outer space" (the center has its own planetarium). Kids ages 5 through 13 can choose from 30 camp sessions running through August 15 (older children can also take part in a sleepover at the Science Center later this summer). Admission ranges from $70 to $80 for various three- and five-day, all-day sessions. The Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is at 28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village. Call 440-871-2900 for more information. -- Diane Sofranec
All Harry, All Night
Order of the Phoenix gets a midnight premiere.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix comes out Saturday, and all Cleveland-area Borders stores are staying open past midnight Friday -- so you can be the very first person to own a copy at 12:01 a.m. Potter fans can also feast on the Wizard's Midnight Buffet (complete with oozing eyeballs and witches' warts) and test their skills at the Hogwarts Extra Credit Classroom, which includes hands-on activities and trivia quizzes. The first 300 kids to arrive at each store before midnight receive a pair of Harry Potter glasses. Call your nearest Borders for more information. -- Michael Gallucci
Showtime at the Palace
6/24 - 7/27
The Lorain Palace's Summer Fun Movies series is back for its 27th year. Some of the family-oriented flicks (July 1's Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie) are better than others (Like Mike), but with $1 popcorn and soda -- and some candy as low as 15 cents! -- there's good reason to pull up a seat. Today's movie is Snow Day. Admission is $2. Summer Fun Movies screen at 1 p.m. Tuesdays through July 27 at the Lorain Palace Civic Center (617 Broadway in Lorain); call 440-245-2323. -- Michael Gallucci