Under the slogan "First in the Union", on May 1-5, 2004, the XXI International Festival of Puppetry Art was held, whose artistic director was Lucyna Kozień. It was one of the important events emphasizing Poland's accession to the European Union - during its duration - on May 1 - Poland was officially admitted to the European Union. The Bielsko festival was the first theater event to take place in the new reality.

The patronage over the 21st festival was taken by the Minister of Culture and the Mayor of Bieska-Biała.

24 theaters from 16 countries took part in it: Austria, Belgium, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Spain, the Netherlands, Israel, Japan, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Hungary, Great Britain and Italy.

It was also then that the Young Critics Jury was appointed for the first time. Students of theater studies from Polish universities from Gdańsk, Kraków, Poznań, Katowice, Warsaw and the Children's Jury came to Banialuka to evaluate performances for children.

Additional events were meetings with the masters of puppetry art - Stephen Mottram from Great Britain and Hoichi Okamoto from Japan.

The Grand Prix and the Children's Jury award went to the Das Meininger Puppentheater for the performance Brave lead soldier (Germany).

The Young Critics Jury awarded the Potudan performance by the Potudan Theater from St. Petersburg (Russia).

Josef Krofta was honored by POLUNIMA for his permanent and creative presence at the Bielsko festivals of puppetry art.

With the participation of the Polish Puppet Center POLUNIMA, a conference of directors of Polish puppet theaters was organized, devoted to the identity of the puppetry community and the prospects for the development of puppetry art. The conference was open to journalists and students of theater studies.