Pageant Service Project Opportunities

Whirligigs | Hankie | Strips | Puppets


See Whirligig instructional PDF
see below for additional insructions

Service Project Overview
Each year the Nauvoo & British Pageants accepts free will donations of supplies that are used in the Pageant's Preshow Celebration & Country Fair. The Fair features 21 activities from the 1840's era in Nauvoo. The Preshow Celebration welcomes thousands of guests each night before the pageant performance. Having the fair items prepared ahead of time is a great blessing to the pageant. These service projects work well for cast members, families, community, church service projects and Eagle Projects. Examples of projects include gathering supplies and producing Rag Dolls, Whirligigs, Rag Strips & Sock Puppets as described using the links below. Thank you for your help!
See Pictures from the Fair

Sometimes called button spinners, whirligigs are those wooden discs that have a string through them. When you pull the strings apart the disc spins and makes a sound. This has been a very popular activity for our Pageant guests. We give out hundreds of them a night. We feel we can go through 200-400+ each night of the 20 pageant performances. This is somewhere between 4,000 and 8,000 of them a year! Once the project is complete, it can be brought with you to Nauvoo, or mailed to the pageant committee there.

Type of Wood:
You can buy wooden dowels from a hardware store or a "Walmart" type store. You can also make your own from tree branches ( not recommended). Some have machined their own from a square piece, but this is a lot of work! We prefer harder, dry wood. If you do use tree branches, make sure you have let them cure and dry for a long time so the moisture does not make them rot. Size of Disc:
It is hard to find dowells bigger than 1-1/2 inches, but up to 3 inches is the range. Bigger are better if possible. The preferred size is 2 inches to 2-1/2. Drilling Holes:
The two holes are made using 1/8 inch drill bit (or slightly larger, but not smaller. the position of the holes is determined from finding the exact middle of the circle and drilling the two holes centered on that mark. The holes are apx 3/8 inches apart. Please drill the holes with a sharp drill bit and make sure it is smooth inside. When the string is pulled through a rough hole it snags the strings and doesn't work very long. Finishing:
No special finish is required. Some have lacquered them. The smell was strong, but they probably last longer and they were the best we have ever had. Raw, dry wood is great. No sanding required if you use a sharp finishing blade. Again check to see that the drilled holes are smooth inside by threading them with some thread.

Although we provide all the string, we need help cutting the string. So if you want an additional project, you could buy some string and we can reimburse you. We use a nylon string from a hardware store or Wal-Mart (See pictures above or to the right) We cut them into 16-20 inch lengths and tie them into a bundle of 50 or so with a loose knot in the middle. We found that if we just cut them with scissors, they fray badly. We learned if we cut them with a soldering iron as the ends need to be fused so they don't fray. So sitting and cutting sting into 16-20 inch lengths is a great service also!

Great for Eagle Scout Projects, family activity, community or church group activity. The puppets definitely do not look alike! Variations are encouraged and accepted but keep it simple like this. We need a hundred or more of these per night x 20 nights per season, so thousands are needed!

Sean & Shannon Taylor
Supervisor Couple
Nauvoo Pageant Preshow & Country Fair
(515) 337-3082 or Email:

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