The puppets have taken over.
Hundreds of puppeteers are meeting outside Philadelphia to hone their skills, teach newcomers the craft and entertain audiences of all ages.
The Puppeteers of America's national festival has included classes like building puppets, stilt-walking and talking in silly voices. It's the first time the workshops have been open to the public.
Festival organizer Robert Smythe says the event is designed to broaden people's concept of the craft.
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Popular examples of puppetry range from Sesame Street and The Muppet Show to Broadway productions such as War Horse and Avenue Q. But Smythe says the field runs much deeper.
The week-long event at Swarthmore College has also featured more than two dozen performances. It culminates on Saturday with a puppet parade through the town and campus.