Looking for a particularly foolish way to spend the first of April this year, but tired of the same old pranks and tricks? The sixth annual FestiFools will offer an artistic experience for April Fool’s Day enthusiasts.


Sunday 4 p.m.
Downtown Ann Arbor

In 2006, Mark Tucker, the arts director for the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program, decided to take the idea of street theater to the next level for University students. As part of his Art in Public Spaces course, Tucker had his students create giant paper-mâché puppets to assist a local theater production.

Six years later, this foray into student puppeteering has become one of the most talked-about events in Ann Arbor.

Tucker wrote in an e-mail interview that FestiFools is a non-profit public art performance unrestrained by a traditional theater, sponsored by the University, City of Ann Arbor and civic, corporate and private donors.

“Ultimately, we’re exposing a broad spectrum of people to this entertaining brand of public art as a vehicle for celebrating and supporting creativity and visual literacy,” Tucker wrote.

While the actual parade will take place on Sunday, FestiFools isn’t merely a one-act show. From dusk to midnight tomorrow, mischief-makers eager to get an early start on festivities can attend FoolMoon, a procession of handmade, illuminated sculptures throughout the streets of Ann Arbor.

Besides viewing the sculpture procession, attendees will have the opportunity to witness street-sized shadow-puppet performances, experimental silent films and other surprises.

In addition, Tucker wrote that Spontaneous Art, a performance art collective, will create live video games for festival-goers.

“They will be dressed in robot suits and provide challenges similar to obstacle courses or light sports,” Tucker wrote. “Players will have to dodge, jump, duck, aim, throw and step quickly to make it to the next level.”

Art & Design Prof. Nick Tobier, whose students produce the puppets for FestiFools, said he can’t wait for the students to march down Main Street with their creations.

“You know, as we round the corner and enter, I’m just looking forward to seeing the looks (in) their eyes,” Tobier said. “It’s great to be part of some event in which you’re both part of Ann Arbor and part of the University. I think that happens all too rarely.”

Art & Design freshman Kelly Sadlon, one of the students involved in the parade, said she can’t wait to see the reactions of the children in the audience when they catch a glimpse of the puppets.

“Events like this bring attention not only to Ann Arbor, but to the art school and art itself,” Sadlon said. “It’s parades like these that make children and adults aware of art who may not typically be exposed to art in their everyday lives.”

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