Spring comes to Brooklyn Heights, and with it the Saint Ann’s Puppet Parade

The 29th annual Saint Ann's Puppet Parade, a high-spirited ritual in Brooklyn Heights, made its joyful way down Pierrepont and Montague streets and along the Promenade on Monday afternoon.

The parade, a Saint Ann’s School tradition since 1985, features puppet caricatures with giant heads, towering gods, animals on strings and aliens on sticks, led by drummers and cavorting, somewhat wicked clowns.

It’s a “celebration of life and spring,” said Saint Ann’s puppet master Ronnie Asbell, who founded the parade. “It’s about bringing the whole school together with the community in joy and celebration.”

Photo by Mary Frost

Middle and high school students have been working on their puppets – marionettes, rod puppets, hand and finger puppets – for five months, Ms. Asbell said. The younger children build puppets with their classroom teachers.

Indian elephant puppet by Roberto Cohen, 7th grade. Photo by Mary Frost

Asbell’s own puppet creation this year is a towering, three eyed, blue-green horned creature dressed in brightly-colored robes. “He’s kind of a demon, based on Tibetan - Asian mythology,” she said.

Photo by Mary Frost

“About 150 students come to the puppet studio and build puppets,” she said. “I teach 18 classes. Some kids have been taking it for six years.”

Asbell reflected, “When I got to this school, I realized it was my village. I’m happy teaching there. We’ve had 29 parades; I look forward to our 30th.”

Photo by Mary Frost

Photo by Mary Frost

Photo by Mary Frost

Photo by Mary Frost

These giant hands by teachers Loren Bevins and Olga Okuneva represent the mother's hands in the play Stuart Little. Photo by Mary Frost