Edina's Puppet Wagon
For more than 30 years, a mythical kingdom filled with warriors, dragons, kings and queens came to life in Edina.
Summer playground program staff acted out the epic tales with hand puppets on a castle-shaped stage that was pulled from park to park to entertain youngsters. The “puppet wagon,” as it was called, is remembered by generations of Edinans as a summertime tradition as memorable as July 4 fireworks and little league baseball.
The stories began with a drawbridge door lowering to reveal the stage. Puppets also appeared in the turret windows.
The first-ever play was an adaption of the classic tale Beowulf, revised by Cary Carson, then an Edina High School student who went on to work at Colonial Williamsburg after college. Playground staff would write and perform six original plays each summer, from 1962 to the mid-1990s.
Park staff built the “castle” and included a sound system. They also handmade all the puppets, which had oversize heads so they could easily be seen anywhere from the audience that sometimes filled a whole hillside in the Baby Boomer era. Children cheered the good guys, booed the bad guys and looked forward to the next week when magic happened at a park in Edina.
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