In 1972, the Philadelphia Recreation Department was invited by the Pennsylvania Ballet to participate in a Nutcracker doll contest, in which people would imagine and create their own doll based on the legendary ballet. Continuing today in rec centers throughout the city, participants listen to the story of the Nutcracker and then envision their own character in a drawing. With the help of an artistic leader, participants then figure out the best methods and materials (scrapcraft, sewing, etc.) for transforming their drawing into a real-life doll.
Turning imagination into reality, this annual program and contest has become hugely successful. Each year, the top ten Nutcracker dolls are displayed at the Academy of Music, and district-level winners are displayed both at the Recreation Department's home office and right here at the Free Library of Philadelphia! Our Parkway Central Children's Department is currently hosting several of these fantastic Nutcrackers. From whimsical ballerinas to no-nonsense soldiers, each doll is a fantastic example of the participants' imagination and hard work. Before the holiday season ends, we encourage you to stop by Parkway Central Children's Department to enjoy this notable Nutcracker display!