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Just a quick introduction ....

January 20 2012 at 6:01 PM
from IP address


I just wanted to quickly introduce myself...i sorta jumped in head first with some questions and comments and didnt want to seem rude

My name is Crazy Chris and i am part owner of Sassafrass Junction Puppet Theater in Saint Albans , West Virginia

This is our Website

Our blogspot (Hundreds of great photos of our shows and past stages)

and this is our facebook as well

We just had our ONE YEAR anniversary in November...started work on our 9th production and are having the TIME OF OUR LIVES!!

I cannot wait to get to know you guys as well!! I love the puppet/vent community with all my heart!


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Steve Axtell


January 20 2012, 7:58 PM 

Hey I saw an Axtell Owl in there! Cool!



January 20 2012, 8:16 PM 

YES!! I think that owl is my favorite of all your puppets!! love his big bright eyes!! haha

ive allready scripted the show and have named him and i imagine possibly using a W.c.Fields impression for him... or maybe Mr. Bentley from the jeffersons...hahaha

im so excited to place my order!! hopefully in the next 3 or 4 weeks!

hope to get






Re: Just a quick introduction ....

January 21 2012, 2:39 AM 

Fantastic! I love puppet theatres although they're few and far between here in Australia.


so true!

January 21 2012, 5:22 AM 

hello aussie!!

i tell ya... they are few and far between over here as well!! when i first decided to open ours i began a search to make sure i wouldnt be stepping on anyone elses toes (so to speak) and found that they are a rare

im not sure why either because our little place was an instant successs here locally!

i definitely recommend it to anyone with the time and resources...oh and passion!


Tony Borders

Cost effectiveness?

January 21 2012, 8:42 AM 

I considered it years ago, but am not much of a gambler. It takes a lot of up front money to build the sets and rent (or buy) the building. Advertising is cheaper than people think because you can list your shows in a calendar of events page in many newspapers, radio, tv websites, or parent monthly magazines. That works like an ad and only costs the time of submitting the information.

What type of zoning do you need for a theater? Is it considered strictly commercial?



January 21 2012, 10:02 AM 

hello tony!

We have been very lucky and somewhat savvy with our marketing

2 months before our grand opening we began a social networking blitz via facebook of all our old classmates and friends and family and their snowballed quite fast... our opening weekend we had sold out all three shows

then all those people went home and posted pictures which led to all of their friends and family asking "where is this place?" "we just have to go"... and that phenomenon continues to this day...word of mouth is a wonderful thing!

We also did several press releases and got word to the media... all 4 networks got us on the news as puff pieces withing the first few weeks... we were everywhere due to the uniqueness of the venture!

then papers and local magazines followed...

we also were lucky to be invited to several high profile charity events and multiple parades...the exposure has been wonderful!! and we owe it all to our wonderful fans who happily pass the word about us!!

The theater is zoned as a retail store and we have a limited fire code which keeps our shows small and quaint... which works just fine... our seats are moveable and we are able to change it up into a party room in around 10 minutes.... which is essential because the largest part of our business is private parties

weve done over a hundred in our first year...

we also have a full mobile show which allows us to take the show anywhere... we've been all over the place doing that as well....

the key thing is providing a professional product and never wavering... i demand alot out of my crew...both as performers and as the smiling faces who deal with the public/work the gift shop/and book and host parties!

our rent is fairly reasonable ...although our location isnt prime..we have found that people seek us out so major visibility hasnt been a factor

weve also cut ALOT of our cost due to the fact that i do all our graphics / recording / mixing /script writing / set building / etc myself...eliminating the need to hire out for those services!

it's working for us...and i hope it works just as well for anyone who possesses the passion to do it!! i love every second of it and am thankful i took the plunge!!



almost forgot

January 21 2012, 10:07 AM 

forgot to mention something that has been of great importance

2 members of our staff are substitute teachers

this not only enhances our credentials but puts them in HUNDREDS of area schools throughout the school year... allowing them to create relationships with the folks who schedule field trips and school assemblies

nice perk!! hahaha


Tony Borders

one thought

January 21 2012, 12:39 PM 

Thanks for sharing, Chris! You'll also find that schools love popular tales. Charlotte's Web for 4th grade as well as state history, for example. You'd have to see which month includes it in their curriculum but then it would become an annual show. Out here the state park puts on gold rush demonstrations for 4th graders and they have tons of field trips.

I was hoping to see a photo of the outside of your building on your website. If I were a patron I think it might help me to see it better when driving. Just a thought.



January 22 2012, 10:35 AM 

thanks for the tips tony!


Wanted to say Hey or "Peep"

February 25 2012, 4:31 PM 

I have been venting in private for a very long time. Primarily to myself, unless I would do something in front of my kids with some kind of food or cooking tool. My kids just wanted to crawl under a table and hide when Mom was having some fun.
Now that I can come out. Haahahaha
I started doing my (hand puppets) briefly around 20 years ago when we did children's photography in our home. It was a real smile getter so to speak.
Then about 4 years ago I brought a hand puppet to our church for my Children's Message. She was a hit. Laid low for a year just doing the puppet thing here and there at church with a couple of other different puppets.
But now in the past couple of years I have been getting my feet really wet. I vent. I like to vent a full bodied puppet better than work a half body in the open.
I am not a pro by no means. I am growing every day and I love it.
I now have several Axtell Expressions in my booty..Arrr.
I did want to share with you that my first Axtell puppet was Benny Bird. Love him to death. I have named him Beck Er Bird. I use the ARM with him. Oh, he was my favorite at church and other places he and I showed up at. I still love Beck Er Bird, but now I have a few more Axtell puppets and one on the way. Even though he is not my number one favorite any more he is still in the top 5 of my Axtell puppets.
I just wanted to wish you luck as your business grows.
I have what people are tagging a Puppet Ministry. So I am cool with that.
I hope it grows too. God has the reins and I am just along for the ride.
So I pray that your puppets do well for you to. Kids need puppets, they really do.

crazy chris

Re: Just a quick introduction ....

February 25 2012, 5:19 PM 

thanks suzie!!

your so right!! everyone needs puppets!!!

good luck in all your endeavors!!


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