Giant inflatables coming back to Fringe 


The Rochester Fringe Festival has added another headliner to this year’s list of performances: French street theater company Plasticiens Volants will return to Rochester to perform the first weekend, festival organizers announced on Tuesday.

Audiences packed Parcel 5 on both nights of the company’s 2017 performances of its show, “Big Bang,” which also marked the group’s US debut. The troupe transformed the gaping space into an enthralling and immersive creation story, with players traveling through the crowd guiding massive inflatables of planets, eyeballs, sperm, and creatures — often bringing the balloons down close enough for children to reach up and touch. Organizers estimated the combined audiences over the two nights at more than 20,000 people.

This year, Plasticiens Volants will present another US premiere, “Pearl: Secrets of the Sea,” on Friday and Saturday, September 13 and 14. The troupe will parade its giant, handmade inflatable puppets (including a 60-foot whale) along Chestnut and Main Streets, ending up at Parcel 5, where it will perform a story involving a sea serpent, an octopus, and a pearl. The show is appropriate for all ages and free.

The Rochester Fringe takes place Tuesday, September 10 through Saturday, September 21, and includes more than 570 shows. Tickets and a full schedule of events are available at

CITY’s in-depth Fringe Preview Guide will be on stands and online on Wednesday, September 4.
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