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Event's giant puppets were inspired by Zozobra tradition

by: CONTRIBUTED - Meet Baba and Zozo, the first giant puppets to grace the Estacada Summer Celebration. They were created by artist Nina Bradford.Ever wondered about the giant puppets set up around Third and Broadway each year during the Summer Celebration?

Artist and yoga instructor Nina Bradford got the idea for the puppets four or five years ago.

Bradford leads the Summer Celebration’s decoration efforts each year. She’s held parties in her home to paint strings of square and triangle flags. One year the decorations had an “under the sea” theme.

Four or five years ago, Bradford became fascinated with the practice of Zozobra.

Zozobra, which means “gloomy one” in Spanish, is a Santa Fe tradition. A giant effigy of “old man gloom” is constructed and ritually burned.

“It’s for burning out the worries and troubles of the previous year,” Bradford said.

Inspired by the giant Zozobra puppets, Bradford constructed two of her own: Zozo and Baba.

“I just thought we needed some giant beings ... So many kids come to the Summer Celebration, I wanted something to draw their eyes up,” Bradford said.

Every year since, a different artist has volunteered or been asked to build a giant puppet for the Summer Celebration.

The only requirement is for the puppet to be collapsible in some way, or for the artist to agree to store the puppet for the rest of the year.

Artists have come up with some interesting puppet creations over the years.

One year, artist Mimi Near created a “garden fairy” puppet. When its arm is moved, a bird’s nest comes out of its head.

Am Griswold is making this year’s puppet: a poodle. She is constructing the giant dog puppet out of recycled materials, chicken wire, PVC pipe, tulle and duct tape.

The Summer Celebration puppets are not burned.

Look for the giant puppets at the intersection of Third and Broadway during the Summer Celebration.



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