Some toted sock puppets and marionettes. Others brought their own full-size creations or dressed up as beloved characters like Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, and (fittingly for D.C.), Sam the Eagle.
Regardless of how they looked, the purpose was the same: to stage a "Million Puppet March" around the Mall in support of public broadcasting. The march wound from Lincoln Park, just east of the Capitol, to the Capitol Reflecting Pool on the Mall itself, where a rally was held.
The march was organized following the first Presidential debate October 3, in which Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that he would stop subsidizing PBS, which he described as a program that failed the following test: "Is the program so critical it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?"
"I'm sorry, Jim," Romney told the moderator, "PBS Newshour" host Jim Lehrer, "I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I'm not going to -- I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for."
On Saturday, three days before Election Day, some of the marchers offered their own rebuttals to Romney.
"Our kids were raised on [Maryland Public Television]," marcher Linda Dennis told News4's Seth Lemon, "and we feel that it's very important to us.
"Where would kids get to see the arts [if the subsidy were ended]?" Dennis went on to ask. "A lot of them can't afford to go to concerts like we do. They learn about our culture and our history."