Giant Puppets Return To The Border For Nogales Art Festival

By Kendal Blust
Published: Friday, May 3, 2019 - 3:04pm
Updated: Friday, May 3, 2019 - 3:06pm

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15-foot tall puppet
Talya Chalef
Children help direct one of the Beyond the Wall puppets during a border performance in Nogales in 2017.

Giant puppets are returning to both sides of the border in Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Mexico, for a performance and art fair this Sunday.

The Beyond the Wall Festival is back in Nogales for the second time this year. It’s a binational event that started in 2017 with giant puppet performances on both sides of the border wall.

This year, the event has expanded into a borderlands arts festival, said Jess Kaufman, Beyond the Wall’s lead producer.

“Everybody is just really excited about it and is really showing up to help to make this a real community event. And it feels really amazing. It feels incredible," he said.

She said when she came to Nogales from New York two years ago she had done a lot of reading and thought she knew what the border community was like. But it's hard to get a sense of the border from far away.

"Being here was wildly eye opening," she said. “As an organization our mission is now to create art experiences and art events that offer locals a chance to celebrate everything that’s wonderful about the arts and culture of the borderlands and that create press and give people outside the area a chance to connect with locals and really connect with local voices.”

Beyond the Wall is about celebrating the borderlands and changing the narrative that many people in the United States hear about this region, she said.

She called the event a "full day of fun, free, family-friendly arts that shows a positive, authentic picture of nogales through the eyes of its artists and young people."

It includes an art fair, live music, film showings, and, of course, the group’s 15-foot tall puppets. There are five giant puppets this year created by students and community members from both sides of the border.

The Beyond the Wall festival is Sunday, 1-7 p.m. at Karam Park in Nogales, Arizona, and Plaza Pesqueira just west of the DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales, Sonora. The cross-border puppet shows are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. just east of the Morley Gate and 6 p.m. west of the DeConcini Port of Entry. 

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