Note: This event had been canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Don’t play the fool this year – instead, celebrate public art and community at the FoolMoon kick-off on April 3, 2020 followed by FestiFools on April 5, 2020 in Ann Arbor.
The celebrations are organized by Wonderfool Productions, a nonprofit dedicated to engaging “communities in dynamic, educational, collaborative and entertaining public art experiences,” according to its website. This year’s theme will be “Dancing Fools.”
The weekend celebrations are kicked off with the FoolMoon party at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in Kerrytown.
The event features interactive installations, laser shows, DJs, a beer tent and live dance performances. The event starts at 7 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. on Friday.
“The crazy thing about it is it’s really 99 percent community built,” Mark Tucker, the creator of the events, said in a Michigan Municipal League publication. “We thought it was just going to be an adult event because it happens after dark. But people bring their kids and they all stay until 11 at night.”
After the FoolMoon kick-off, keep the party going with the hour-long FestiFools celebration. Ann Arbor locals and out-of-towners converge on Main Street at 4 p.m. carrying huge, handmade papier-mâché puppets.
“I like the free-form nature of this parade, the carnival-esque way that it includes the crowd in. It’s like a moving collage, things coming up and moving in from all over the place, rather than that traditional military line down the street,” Jimmie Thompson, a Michigan Thanksgiving Parade float designer, said in the Michigan Municipal League article. “It empowers the artist and it empowers the audience.”
Organizers encourage the public to make their own puppet and luminaries for the celebration and have even created how-to guides available online to guide participants.
Puppets must meet certain specifications to be included, so be sure to read the guidelines before starting.
FoolMoon begins at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. The FestiFools event is 4-5 p.m. on Sunday on Main Street in Ann Arbor.
Both festivals are free to attend.
This post is updated regularly.