My Trip to De Smet 2017 Day 2 Part 3 July 14

We continue with Day 2 Part 3. See Part 1 and Part 2

Bill Anderson 2017
William T. Anderson

We pick up during the second Bill Anderson and Nancy Koupal presentation. This program and Alison and Dean’s were repeated with a different focus, so they each spoke two times each day.

Yay Bill's on again #lauraingallswilder #DeSmetevent

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Bill talked about how the organization got started, what were some of the early projects, who was initially involved, and his own role.

This time Nancy focused on her work with the Pioneer Girl project. She specifically focused on what she has learned and what she has continued to learn as she works with the project. She told her story about finding Ma and Pa’s photos which I LOVE! Then she told about getting to see and handle the original tablets of Pioneer Girl in Mansfield, Missouri.

Now more Nancy Koupal #lauraingallswilder #desmetevent

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I paused walking back to show how De Smet grass looks in July.

See why I was so excited to see green grass when I came in April? #Lauraingallswilder #DeSmetevent

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Next it was time to head out to the pageant grounds. Admission is now $15.00. I recommend bringing a lawn chair if possible. The lawn chairs are supposed to go halfway between the benches so someone can sit behind you if they want. This was the first year I saw people confused by the system and two whole rows that jammed their lawn chair right up against the bench effectively taking up two spaces by making the one behind them unusable which was especially bad because attendance was high both days during the event.

Don't know if you can tell from photo but think biggest crowd I've seen here #desmetpageant

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The coolest thing was that the pre-show began with Dean Butler driving a real wagon and team onto the stage. He was joined by Cork Poppen who played Almanzo for 30 years during the run of the pageant and Broden Lesch who is this year’s Almanzo. A cheer of excitement rose when people realized who was driving.

Dean Butler DROVE team &wagon on to the set #lauraingallswilder #DeSmetevent

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I really have to say this is the best De Smet pageant in 2 or 3 years. Pa and Laura both gave really solid performances, but the Nellie Oleson was great, but Baby Grace stole every scene she was in.

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I really liked how they did the crows with flying crows on sticks which fit in well with the fact they were supposed to be beating the crows off.

Really clever blackbirds on poles while they knock "off" with poles. #DeSmetevent #desmetpageant.

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Another really great part was when Mary said she desperately wanted to go to Iowa, to which we say “natch.” Everyone wants to come visit Iowa — or should.

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A few years ago the highlight of the pageant was because the romance between Laura and Almanzo played the best I’ve ever seen it done (there were other issues, but THAT was incredible). This year the relationship between Mary and Laura was the best I’ve seen portrayed. You really felt a sisterly bond between them and it really sold why Laura was willing to do things she didn’t want to do in order to help, not just the family in general, but Mary in particular.

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There was also a lot of really good comic relief this year.

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Some extra information.

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Another really great thing was that they did a lot with live horses this year. Normally they leave most of that to Walnut Grove, but live horses were in multiple scenes throughout the pageant including reenacting Almanzo’s buggy race win with two horses and wagons where one pulls ahead.

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They did the July 4th scene complete with lemonade.

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I’m still not sure why this spontaneously happened. Normally you only stand for the national anthem. I don’t know if people were mistaken about what song it was, were just feeling especially patriotic, or what?

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I was also really surprised about the weather. My classic pageant advice was to bring sweatpants and a sweatshirt to pull on for later. After sweating to death the last couple of pageants, I had stopped following that advice. Apparently those were the exceptions, I wanted and didn’t have sweats that night.

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They had Miss Wilder use the “Birds in their little nests agree” poem. I love its use in Laddie.

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Of course, they said Almanzo wrong. — But that’s all right Almanzo got Laura’s name wrong in one scene he called her Miss Wilder several times.

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After that I went back to the hotel. Alison and Dean had stuck around and watched the pageant from the back and took some photos with the pageant cast afterwards, but I had left before that. Catch you tomorrow!

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on  FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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trundlebedtales

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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