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Puppet Parade Powers Norwalk Arts Party

NORWALK, Conn. – The Sounds of Afrika marched through SoNo Sunday, whistling and drumming, with maybe a hundred puppets for company, covering streets normally clogged by automobiles.

The puppet parade was a highlight of Sunday's SoNo Arts Celebration, which did better than artists expected when they woke up and found it raining. "The weather cleared up and they all came out," said Katherine Pilipauskas of Norwalk, a fiber artist.

Indeed, at 11:30 a.m. few people were on the street. Faith Mills, 9, wandered with her mom, Sunny Mills, her mom's fiance, Mike Sargent, their Chihuahua, and a 7-week-old pit bull that festival volunteers labeled "the most awesome puppy ever." It was crowded when the puppet parade began two hours later. The parade made its way through the festival, stopping under the bridge more than once to dance.

Afterwards, Joanna Herz, 12, of New York City, acquired a dragon from Pilipauskas. Her father paid a little more than $100 for the black velvet creation. "It's cute and it has glasses," Joanna said, of the dragon that will live in her bedroom. She was surprised to find that a book came with the creature.

"I do well at this show," said Pilipauskas, a four-year veteran of the Arts Celebration. She read science fiction and fantasy when she was a child, and now makes dragons, fairies and mermaids out of cloth. "I had all these ideas in my head and finally they all came out," she said.

She was one of nearly 100 artists in the show, exhibiting paintings, photography, jewelry and more.

Georgette Wirth, of Wilton, showed her ceramics, and said it was a nice return to SoNo. "I was a merchant here for 20 years," she said. Sitting in a booth at the celebration was relaxing. "It's a whole different ballgame," she said.

Do you have photos of the SoNo Arts Celebration? Send them to Nancy Chapman at nchapman@thedailynorwalk.com .

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