Mansfield Date Changes

Laura’s Memories, the Wilder pageant in Mansfield, used to be the hardest one to find dates for. Now they have a minimal webpage where you can find the dates.

For those of you unfamiliar with the production, it’s staged in a built-in arena near Laura Ingalls Wilder Elementary. The seating is the most comfortable I’ve found at any Wilder pageant. The plot starts off with a take-off on Laura’s recorded conversation with Docia Holland (identified only as librarian in the play). As Laura remembers back over her life, stories from her childhood on play in her mind and on the stage behind her. It’s a musical and frankly I think the songs were better than the major production at the Guthrie last year. Be aware though that the cast shares the parts (for example, the same girl doesn’t play Laura all the way through, but does continue to appear on stage as other characters). Also, notice its early start time. They don’t use the dark for special effects, so it starts a full hour before the other two pageants (and they even offer afternoon performances sometimes). It ends early enough so driving to your hotel isn’t a challenge.

Long time fans will notice some changes in the date pattern this year. Usually they split the pageant dates between early or mid-summer and then re-stage it around Wilder Days. This year they’ve moved to the first two weekends in August and the first three in September, which I would think would be easier on the production. They’ve also got the date for Mansfield’s Wilder Day (most activities are on Saturday, although there is usually some Friday and Sunday spillover) set for Sept. 19th. This is the third weekend of September where for the last couple of years they were on the second. I hope this sticks because that takes them out of competition with Wilder Days in Pepin and means that I might have a chance to visit during the days again and hear Pa’s fiddle. Be warned Pepin is about 6 1/2 hours north of where I live and, depending on your route and road construction, Mansfield is about 9 hours south. Don’t try to do them both in one weekend.

This change in dates comes on top of Burr Oak’s earlier announcement of moving their Wilder Days from the second weekend in June to the last, moving them out of direct competition with Prairie Days in Independence. It’s getting more and more possible to not have to choose between events, assuming you have the time for multiple trips. 😉

Hand Dug Well

One of the most well-known features of the Ingalls farm site outside of Independence, Kansas, is Pa’s hand dug well. In fact it was the existence was one of the ways they narrowed it down to one modern place. Pa’s well might be lost under concrete, but we can see another one and help a Tornado damaged town. See the world’s biggest hand dug well.

Update to website March 20, 2013:

Sarah Uthoff