Be a Fool this weekend – Festival of Fools returns to Burlington

The MarchFourth Marching Band premiers at this year’s Festival of Fools Aug. 3-5 in downtown Burlington. Photo by Andy Batt 2006

By Sheri Duff

The 5th Annual Festival of Fools, co-founded by Charlotte residents Woody Keppel and Doreen Kraft, the current executive director of Burlington City Arts, will be held in downtown Burlington Aug. 3, 4, and 5. Keppel, who performed the Waldo & Woodhead show all over Europe in the 80s and 90s and later in Christchurch, New Zealand and Edmonton, Alberta, wanted to begin a similar street festival in Burlington.

“Seven years ago I went to Doreen with the idea, international festival experience and lots of enthusiasm, and she embraced the concept of the Festival of Fools immediately,” Keppel explained, “Doreen’s dedication is unbridled as is her staff at Burlington City Arts,” he said while sharing, “The performers invited to come to Burlington’s Festival over the past five years are friends that I’ve crossed paths with over the years. I’m really excited about this year’s lineup of talent. It’s a very funny and eclectic group and their mission is to make Burlington the world hub of comedy and circus arts for three days in August.”

The Festival celebrates circus arts, music, and comedy for family audiences and features Vaudeville variety performers from around the world. Keppel’s enthusiasm for the Festival knows no bounds. “We are the longest running Festival of this kind in the United States,” he comments. “I’m extremely excited about The MarchFourth Marching Band this year. They will have an amazing dance party on the street. You don’t want to miss it,” he suggests. He is also thrilled to note that legendary Quebec performer Madame Zazou, a founding member of Cirque du Soleil, will be the Mistress of Ceremonies for two late night cabaret shows in Contois Auditorium. “We’ve got some really great talent at the Festival this year. Come downtown and see what I mean.” Keppel said enthusiastically.

This year’s lineup offers such family entertainment as David Aiken, The Checkboard Guy, Vancouver, Canada; Jonathan Burns’ Flexible Comedy, Pennsylvania; Wells & Woodhead, Denmark and Vermont; Mark Ettinger from NYC; The Kamikaze FireFlies from California; Aileen Wilkie, Scotland; Kate Wright, The Ding Dong Show, Yvonne Calling from Australia, and many more.

The event runs from noon-10 pm Friday, Aug. 3, noon-10 pm Aug. 4 and noon to 7 pm Aug. 5. The three-day festival concludes with a grand finale including all the performers. For more information about the Festival call 865-7166 or visit

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