Sunday, August 10, 2008

I-Fest 2008

I'm really behind on updating everyone on this year's I-Fest, The International Festival of Christian Puppetry and Ventriloquism. One Way Street sponsors this conference every year and it takes a lot of work. Every year is a challenge, but this year we knew going in there were going to be some big issues to deal with. So I'm really feeling bad I haven't updated the blog world on how well the conference went. Mainly I'm feeling bad because the awesome week we had was result of the fact that God came through big time. He's faithful 100% and we want to give Him all the glory for a great week!

Our theme this year was "Fully Committed," and God displayed that He was fully committed to his children throughout this incredible week. Between construction on the college campus which eliminated the normal cafeteria from use, and the challenges of the economy and the impact of gas prices...we wondered at times how we would pull off this year's festival. Fact is, we didn't...God did!

At the One Way Street website you can check out the "Virtual I-Fest" reports that we sent out to our customers a few weeks after the event. It gives you a chance to check out some of the highlights, see some of the new products that were introduced, and download some free workshop audio as well as the audio for the morning devotionals. Here are the links:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

I wanted to share a few photos of my own as well. It was a great week!

Ventriloquist Tony Borders with his buddy Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear (read that one again, always loved that name) opened up the festival on Monday night.

Here's Dave Privett and his buddy Milo from PlaySoup teaching one of the many puppet manipulation workshops.

Carrie Murphy was a One Way Street intern with me waaaaay back in 1993. Here she is teaching some advanced choreography. She also directed this year's Puppetry Dream Team.

Ella Havell from the UK and her team, Smile Puppet Ministry, shared during the International Night program on Wednesday.

Philip Haught is co-directing our One Way Street Ministry Team this summer. He picked up a new character at I-Fest, Sammy the Shark.

Brian Cockerham was a Louisiana State Trooper until a few years ago when he felt the call to go into full-time ministry at I-Fest. Now he travels all over with his ventriloquist partners. He was a featured performer on Tuesday night.

David Hellyer from the UK was another one of our international guests. David is an amazing puppeteer and puppet builder. We were thrilled to have him share in some of the workshops this year.

The one and only Amy Harder teaches on the finer points of Stretch-a-Belly puppet choreography. She ought to know how to do it, she invented the things.

The One Way Street Ministry Team performed once in the evening program, once in a showcase without curtains, and served as conference assistants throughout the week.

This team came all the way from Puerto Rico, and shared a performance on International night.

An I-Fest tradition is the Mystery Puppet Building Challenge. Teams are given a mystery ingredient they must build a puppet out of by the end of the day. This year's ingredient...Duct Tape!

Evangelist Mel LaMar is not only an accomplished ventriloquist, but also an amazing juggler. This year his daughter Ali joined in the act.

Friday night featured a performance by the P.O.W.E.R. Company puppet team, which is the team I grew up on. It was actually the final performance for the team under the direction of Christy Watkins. I got to present a special award to Christy for over 25 years of commitment not just to her team, but to helping train many other teams around the world. I cried like a baby.

This is the final moment from the Puppetry Dream Team's performance. This year's performance was based on a Christian children's book called The Squire and the Scroll. The author's husband and daughter were even able to attend.

The whole festival was fantastic...and like I said, God deserves all the glory. I've many more photos posted over at my Facebook page. In fact, I'm adding new ones all the time. So if you're a facebook user, send me a note, I'll be your big woop. Speaking of Facebook, we've also created an I-Fest fan page over there, so you can join all the other I-Fest fans and see videos, take part in discussions, and experience a whole bunch of puppet ministry coolness.

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