Frolic at the Free Bob Baker Day Carnival

Marionette merriment, DJ Lance Rock of Yo Gabba Gabba, and joyful to-dos shine near the historic DTLA-close theater.

What to Know

  • Saturday, Feb. 24
  • Free; shows inside the theater are ticketed
  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Free events in this world are more numerous than we think, and the fact that they often come with a "no strings attached" disclaimer should inspire us to pause and consider just what this claim means.

Does it mean that the happening really requires no money?

And what if there were actually strings attached to a sweet to-do, as in the strings that make a marionette so charmingly move?

Here's the long (string) and short (marionette) of it: The Bob Baker Day Carnival is free, totally free, and there are strings attached, as in the strings of the fanciful figures that the acclaimed puppeteer so memorably created during his storied lifetime.

Mr. Baker's namesake carnival cavorts, with strings firmly attached, on Saturday, Feb. 24 next to the historic, downtown-close marionette theater.

DJ Lance Rock of Yo Gabba Gabba will appear, Tim Nordwind of OK GO! will be at the turntables for a DJ set, there's a Puppet Procession Opening Ceremony at 10 in the morning, and a host of you-play-'em games, and more musical performances, and lots of marionette-focused entertainment.

This isn't a string-attached situation per se, in the usual sense, but know this: While the outside carnival is free, the mirthful goings-on inside the famous theater are ticketed.

Vintage and well-loved vignettes will be presented on the interior stage throughout the day, and a Pop-Up Puppet Museum will pop up, as the name suggests, inside the theater's Party Room.

Parking is at Belmont High School, nearby, for ten bucks.

Mr. Baker passed away in 2014, at the age of 90, but his many fans carry on his frolicsome, light-of-heart, spirit-be-buoyant legacy. This annual carnival, which is frolicking into its fourth outing, is a primo example of this legacy.

And, yes, we did just say "frolicsome" and "frolicking," and we implored you to "frolic" in the headline.

For marionettes, carnivals, DJ sets, games, and puppet museums are very frolicky in nature, and such strings-attached chances to enjoy such free frolic-forward stuff can prove to be all too rare in our everyday lives.

The carnival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 24. Ticket info for the inside-the-theater haps? Find them here, frolicsome marionette mavens of Southern California.

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