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Wayne White has designed 14-foot-tall puppets depicting Civil War Gens. William Tecumseh Sherman and Patrick Cleburne as part of the Glass Street Live block party scheduled Saturday, Sept. 24.

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The big buildup for Glass Street Live

I promise you these are the world's tallest puppets depicting Patrick Cleburne and Tecumseh Sherman.

If you go

› What: Glass Street Live block party.

› When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24.

› Where: Glass Street/Sherman Reservation.

› Admission: Free.

› Website: glasshousecollective.org.

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These are the puppet hands of Civil War Gens. Patrick Cleburne and William Tecumseh Sherman.
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Teacher and volunteer Melissa Hoesman Johnson stands next to an early draft of what will become one of Wayne White's 14-foot-tall puppets.

Oh, how things might have been different if Confederate Gen. Patrick Cleburne had actually been 14 feet tall when he was leading troops during the Civil War.

He'll be every bit that big on Saturday, Sept. 24, as part of the Glass Street Live block party to celebrate the East Chattanooga area and the Glass Street Collective, the agency committed to returning life to the community through art and activities.

Artist Wayne White, a Chattanoogan who earned fame — and three Emmy Awards for his design work on "Pee-wee's Playhouse," among other things — has designed oversize puppets of Cleburne and Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman for the event.

"I promise you these are the world's tallest puppets depicting Patrick Cleburne and Tecumseh Sherman," White says.

White is creating the puppets as part of Wayne-O-Rama, a yearlong collaboration with several arts and education organizations in the county. This is the first of those events that will involve local students and artists working together on everything from musical events to art projects.

White says the idea for doing something involving the Civil War came from folks at Glass Street Collective, situated on one end of Missionary Ridge, which played a key role in the war.

The generals will be animated by puppeteers during a parade from Glass Street to the newly reopened Sherman Reservation a couple of blocks away.

"I was going to do something with a Civil War theme, and both of those generals are very striking," White says.

The puppets, each of which will require four people to animate them, are owned by the collective. They will remain in Chattanooga at the newly opened Wayne-O-Rama space on Rossville Avenue and will be used for future events. They are also for sale, though they won't be available until the end of the year, says Glass House Collective Executive Director Teal Thibaud.

White says the puppets are made of "all locally grown bamboo and locally Dumpster-harvested cardboard, fabric and hot glue."

White says Wayne-O-Rama is a dream come true for him as all the events involve his hometown, art, history and tourist attractions.

"Every artist is inspired by their history, and I like mine," he says. "To have an installation be up for so long is a great thrill. I've always wanted to be a Chattanooga tourist attraction. Tourism was a huge influence to me. It was my first inspiration for art."

Thibaud says the day will be all about puppets, and visitors of all ages will get to make their own. There also will be food trucks, bounce games, pop-up live art, murals and music curated by Jazzanooga. The Cleburne and Sherman puppets will be part of a "puppet meet and greet" around 12:30 p.m. and will be at Sherman Reservation the rest of the day.

"Our goal is to bring life back to Glass Street and Glass Street back to life," Thibaud says. "We have a block party once a year at least, and with Wayne doing what he's doing and the park reopening, it all kind of fits well together."

The park reopening is Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park's official introduction of a new trail connection from the 73rd Pennsylvania Reservation on Glass Street to the Sherman Reservation on Lightfoot Mill Road. Ceremonies will start at 12:30 p.m. at the entrance to Sherman Reservation.

The parade will begin at Sunny Town Supermarket, 2300 Dodson Ave., head down Glass Street to North Chamberlain Avenue.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

‘Creating a Neighborhood Link’

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park will celebrate the opening of a new trail connection during the Glass Street Live block party. “Creating a Neighborhood Link: Glass Street to Sherman Reservation” ceremonies will take place at 12:30 p.m. at the entrance to Sherman Reservation on Missionary Ridge, which now connects via trail to the 73rd Pennsylvania Reservation on Glass Street.

Parking will not be available at Sherman Reservation on Lightfoot Mill Road. Visitors may park at the Community of Christ Church, 2508 Glass St., then follow Special Event signs to the NPS pop-up tent to board a CARTA shuttle (boarding begins at noon). Visitors also have the option of walking to Sherman Reservation using Glass Street and the new trail.

Immediately following the trail opening, a National Park Service ranger will lead a 30-minute hike into Sherman Reservation, focusing on the struggle for Missionary Ridge and the continued struggle for freedom in Chattanooga and the nation during the Civil War. Additional ranger-led tours, lasting about 45 minutes each, take place at 2 and 3 p.m. beginning at the 73rd Pennsylvania Reservation. Participants can take the shuttle or walk to the site. Those taking the shuttle should board at least 15 minutes before the tour starts.

Tour participants will not only learn about the Civil War history in the area but can mingle with living historians dressed as Union soldiers, hear a percussion band, talk to park historian Jim Ogden about the historic Glass Street neighborhood and participate in hands-on kids activities. Visitors who do not wish to take the hiking tour may remain on the shuttle to be taken directly into the reservation for the other activities.

All NPS activities are free, including shuttle transportation. Shuttles will run on a continuous loop from Glass Street to the Sherman Reservation until 4:30 p.m.

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