Way back in July my wonderful husband gave up his birthday weekend to take me to Walnut Grove, home of Laura Ingalls Wilder days and pageant. We had been following a geek Facebook group all about LIW, so we knew that lots of people would be there and they were really, really, really enthuastic about LIW. If nothing else, we were excited to see the fans and how nuts they'd be.
We spent the first night in Mankato. All night long I was looking for the blind school (like in the tv show, get it?) Or was that Sleepy Eye? No matter!
We enjoyed big beers, salty popcorn, and each others' company!
The next day we arrived in Walnut Grove. YEAH!
We went right to the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum. We didn't really know what to expect so we were open for anything.
The REAL Ma and Pa.
The fireplace and mantle from the tv show! SQUEAL! Even with the rifle and china shepherdess!
The REAL Ingalls family. You think you know them from the show, but you don't.
Example of a dugout house, the house they built in Walnut Grove. Did you know they were only in Walnut Grove for 2 or 3 years? You think it was longer because of the TV show!
There were celebrity/cast autographs on the grounds.. We didn't stand in line. The lines were long and what do you really do with autographs? More "stuff" for clutter, and so we were fine with just people watching.
One of my life's regrets is not buying a Little House bonnet. Okay, not really. More things that would be clutter, that's what I kept telling myself.
"Mrs. Garvey". This poor woman died in a house fire on the TV show, with Mary's baby.
Nellie! The celebrity I was most excited to see. She has a presence on that FB group page, and I read her book- Confessions of a Prairie Bitch.
Selfie with Nellie! Awesome!
Speaking of Nellie, she has her own restaurant in Walnut Grove like in the tv show. But actually Nellie (the actress) has nothing to do with it, just some locals making good on her name!
We ate dinner there.
Another autograph area. This time with Eliza Jane Wilder, Almanzo (Manly) Wilder, and the twins that played Carrie Ingalls.
We had some time to kill before the big Pageant so we headed out to the historic site of the Ingalls dugout. The dugout doesn't exist any longer but you can visit the farm and wade in the Plum Creek, like Laura did!
So the LIW books didn't become famous until the 50's, I think. And this farmer's family didn't even KNOW he was on the Ingalls property until a researcher came around and told him. The farmer then made his property accessible to tourists wanting to see the dugout site and creek. Lucky us!
Can't you just imagine the Ingalls girls frolicking in these fields?!
And then the Pageant. Before the Pageant (or play) there was a Cast Reunion. All of the tv cast sat on stage and spoke about their experiences and answered questions. It was probably the best part of the night!
Before the shows- people claimed their patch of grass to sit on. Jim was smart enough to buy us assigned seats.
Laura and Nellie look-alike contest winners.
Our seats look far back but they were great! Imagine the people waaaaay back on the grass hills behind the folding chairs.
So the pageant was kind of hokey. Cheesy. Didn't keep our attention. We left midway through, and didn't get to our hotel until 11'ish. It was a long fun day!
Thank you to my Jimmy for making this happen for us. Several months before I had mentioned going to this, kind of jokingly but then it happened. It really was an experience! We both are true LHOTP fans!