My Trip to De Smet 2017 Day 2 Part 1 July 14

I hope you enjoyed Day 1. Here is the first part of Day 2.

I got up early on Friday and redid my blog post featuring my podcasts about the event and published it. The wireless was completely unstable and fairly unusable the night before. I was staying at the Super Deluxe Inn and I’ve never had that happen before.

We had breakfast there in the hotel and this time brought along some bakery of own to add back in our room. Bakery is something their breakfast is lacking so you might want to bring along some on your next trip. You can even keep them in the refrigerator. (FYI it was pumpkin bars.)

I was hoping to head over first thing, but spent a lot of time chatting to people I know instead. The schedule seemed like things would start at 9am so I headed over about then. I was concerned about getting parked in if I drove having no idea how many people would show up. I had driven around the night before and realized it was just 3 blocks from the hotel to the event area by the Surveyor’s House. So I walked over from the hotel and that worked rather well. If you’re doing a full tour including a drive over to the Third Street House, you’ll want your car, but it was a nice walk. Here’s is the street sign for the corner you turn on to get the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society area, Olivet and 4th.

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Oliver St #desmetevent

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They were still getting set up when I arrived and they got a couple of these great banners.

Judy Thompson was already on hand signing books and selling prints of her work. Thompson had been an artist in residence at the Homestead National Monument. Her series was displayed at the South Dakota State Historical Society Museum, the same building that houses the SDHS Press. Nancy Koupal saw them there and commissioned Thompson to do covers for the Pioneer Girl series to a set of requirements.

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Judy Thompson #PioneerGirl illustrator

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Although they spoke a couple of different times each day, people crowded under the tent for each performance by Alison Arngrim and Dean Butler. Here’s the crowd waiting for them to come out.

Paul Valenti introducing Alison asks “What show has the number 1 fanbase?”

Alison as always puts on a great show and managed to look great too despite the hot temperatures.

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Alison Arngrim on stage @Arngrim @alisonarngrim

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Dean Butler said to remind him never to follow Alison, but he put on just as good a show.

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Dean Butler #lauraingallswilder #desmetevent

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Me and Pauly Tee who not only takes trips to both TV and real Laura sites, but generously shares his photos online.

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Me with Pauly Tee #lauraingallswilder #desmetevent

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Judy Thompson talking. One of her most interesting points was that she doesn’t consider herself an illustrator, but a watercolor artist. She seeks to show artistic truth rather than literal truth.

Look for the other report posts soon.

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 Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

De Smet Event 2017

It’s FINALLY here! Today starts the De Smet Event 2017 (July 14-16). Below find links to my interviews about it and other places you might want to know about. I’ve also written up summaries of the interviews if you just want to scan them instead. (Oh and by the way, I looked it up and first De Smet Event was 2005.)

Horses and Covered Wagon
Horses and Covered Wagon at Ingalls Homestead

De Smet Event

I interviewed Tessa Flak back in May. Here’s all the scoop.

Find the Schedule

Dean Butler and Alison Arngrim will start with the paid autographs at 10:30am. They will break at noon and will cut off the line ahead of the break. Everyone who buys a ticket will get signed.

They’re not going to do photos during the signing because they want people to attend the autograph session on Sunday morning with a photo session.

On Sunday they are going to do a Confession from Prairies show with Alison Arngrim. It’s the family friendly version of her show. It will be at 2pm  and include a reception. Tickets are required.

Nancy Koupal is a Memorial Society board member from the 1990s. She’ll talk about the Pioneer Girl Project and Bill might jump in.

Judy Thompson is the artist behind covers of Pioneer Girl and Pioneer Girl Perspectives. She’s present and demonstrate drawing. Her original artwork will be on display.  The prints of the covers are available for sale.

William T. Anderson is the main Laura authority. He’s going to talk about how he got involved with Laura and his history with De Smet.

All programs will be varied so not the same each day.

Programs will be held in a tent in the museum’s park which is besides the city park with the one-room school that serves as a hands on discovery center. The street between the Surveyors House and Gift Shop and the park will be closed.

Dean and Alison signatures will be $6 per item signed. You want six signatures, you need six tickets. There are no official limits on what to sign. If you don’t have anything you want signed, they will have photos available for sale in the gift shop.

At the pageant Dean and Alison will have a question and answer session before the pageant starting at 7pm. They will only take cash and check. The pageant starts at 8pm. There is food available on grounds and a gift shop.

Tip bring own chairs. The food is like what you would find at a high school sporting event.

They will have additional wagons on the grounds this summer. When you go through the gate. You get a prize drawing slip, a wagon riding ticket, a newspaper of the event. They will do a state roll call. The rule is you have to yell for your home state and EXTRA loud for Iowa.

New to the Memorial Society’s collection is the restored 1880s covered wagon and 3 new archival cases.

The gift shop has the Surveyors House Cookie Cutter. There is also going to be a new, updated, and extended edition of the Ingalls Family of De Smet in honor of the 60th Anniversary of the museum.

Dean Butler

I also interviewed Dean Butler about the De Smet event.

Dean Butler was interviewed previously on the show in 2014 in honor of the TV show’s 40th anniversary event.

I was glad to welcome him back to talk about some of his most common “Little House” questions, what signing events are like in general, and what’s going to happen in De Smet in particular.

A note about the sound. It’s a little low so you’ll want to turn it up, but be aware there are a couple places where it will suddenly pop loud. Unfortunately the connection could have been better.

Dean Butler, a died Pepsi person, who played Almanzo on the NBC version of The Little House on the Prairie TV show. He started actin in High School in a production of Once Upon a Mattress. (Fun fact: I was also in a completely different high school production of Once Upon A Mattress – made famous by Carol Burnett – as a unnamed and unnumbered lady in waiting.)

His big break was in a movie version of Forever by Judy Blume. Michael Landon’s daughter was a fan and helped get him an audition. He was hired two weeks before graduation. Later he would appear as Moondoggie in The New Gidget and Buffy’s dad on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He was associated with several iconic young woman characters and is honored to have those associations.

He thinks people like the Chicken Cinnamon episode is popular because it’s a good example of Laura’s gumption. Almanzo’s favorite food was really Liver’n’Onions.

Almanzo-Almonzo Dean has finally been convinced to pronounce it Almanzo the clincher being the recording of Laura saying his name. You can buy the recording, it’s called Laura Ingalls Wilder Speaks. Find it at any of the homesite museum giftshops online or in person. He always points out Lucy Lee Flippin was the first to pronounce it that way and he got pounded by fans for pronouncing it wrong from the beginning.

Dean attends a couple of signing events every year. He has 6 scheduled this summer. It’s important to be out there and keep the show alive to pay back the fans for their investment and support. His wife always says he’s going off for another weekend of adoration. One of the best parts of signing is the multi-generational component. He often signs books for daughter-mother-grandmother.

It’s a different signing experience at homesites and much better. Once at a mall a teenager got very aggressive and drew attention to how there really is trust between signers and signee. There is also a balance in signing how to make a connection with each person, but not to let them monopolize your time. Signing body parts doesn’t phase him, but he doesn’t like signing things people probably won’t keep like a wadded up napkin or a ratty piece of paper. He prefers something solid, like a book or a photo.

Dean’s programs are extraneous and focus on his experience with the TV show. The cast mostly gets together at appearances. He has been to the location of the exterior of the show set many times since the show ended. You can really tell where the Ingalls homestead was, but the town site is completely grown over. The last time he was there you could still find some debris from the big explosion and it took him right back to the day they watched it explode. I asked a follow up about the covered bridge with open sides. He says it’s on the Disney ranch. Besides, Little House look for that bridge on shows like The Dukes of Hazzard, Remington Steele, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, NCIS, etc. Those are off the top of my head, feel free to add to the list in the comments below. Keep an eye out for it. Info on visiting the site.