While August was quiet, September has one last big splurge of big Laura events before most of the sites close down for the winter.
Laura Days – September 14-15, 2019
Their big Laura event of the year it includes all manner of celebration of Laura including a Little Miss Laura contest, a regional fiddle contest, activities at the birthplace cabin, historic crafts, and Sarah Uthoff as a keynote speaker. The other keynote this year is Renee Graef.
Fall Fest and Used Book Sale – September 14, 2019 –10:00 am – 2:00 pm
September 20, 2019 – in the Evening: Annual Wilder Benefit Dinner- Special Guest Alison Arngrim – not sure on the time yet
September 21, 2019 – Wilder Day and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Fiddle Off
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum – West Branch, Iowa
Laura Ingalls Wilder Remembered – Sunday, September 1, 2019 2pm
Sarah S. Uthoff
Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.
Annual Ice Cream Social – June 16, 2017 from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
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.
Join host Sarah Uthoff as she reviews the recent Laura Days event in Pepin, WI. Whether you like sailing, Laura Ingalls Wilder, quilting, or fiddle playing you’ll enjoy Laura Days. Laura Days in Pepin WI will be held next year Sept. 12-13, 2015.
Little Miss Laura, Little Sister, Cousin Clarence – sorry misspoke Cousin Charlie
Historic Clothing for boys
Little Plum Schoolhouse on Cty. Hwy. N three miles southwest on Ella
Traditional Crafts Area
Old Time Fiddle Contest
What’s to eat? – hot dogs are natural casing at all vendors in park
Candlelight Demonstrations plus music by the camp fire – no seating is provided
Sunday morning – my schedule
Parade – once parade line up starts entire town is locked down & no one can get anywhere between about a little before 1 pm until 3 pm or some after and there is no reasonable way to get around town without a major detour
This year’s days will be September 12 and 13, 2015
During June check out these Laura Ingalls Wilder related events around the country.
Mansfield, MO, Laura Ingalls Wilder/Rose Wilder Lane Home and Museum, Fundraiser Dinner – June 7, 2014
Independence, KS, Little House on the Prairie Museum, Prairie Days June 14, 2014
Mark your calendars! Prairie Days 2014 will be on Saturday, June 14th. This all day event features living historians in all of our historic buildings and on the grounds bringing the 19th century to life before your very eyes. The event runs from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. With music, food vendors, craft demonstrators, living historians, a Little House character competition a day on the prairie is great for the whole family. Our full schedule of Prairie Days activities will be posted on this website as we are closer to the festival. Keep checking for updates. To see photos from Prairie Days 2013 visit our Facebook page.
Admission: $6 adults, $3 children under 18, $3 seniors 65 and older. We do not offer group rates for Prairie Days. http://www.littlehouseontheprairiemuseum.com/Little_House_on_the_Prairie_Museum/2014_Events.html
Pepin WI, Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum – New Addition Opens June 21, 2014
Independence, KS, Little House on the Prairie Museum, – Pioneer Women in KansasJune 28th, 2014 Join director/historian as she brings pioneer women of Kansas to life from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. She will portray a pioneer woman in the cabin, a working woman in the post office and a school teacher in the Sunnyside School. From 11:00-1:00 visit the cabin and meet a pioneer woman, from 1:30-2:45 visit the post office and meet a post mistress, from 3:00-4:00 meet a one room schoolhouse teacher. http://www.littlehouseontheprairiemuseum.com/Little_House_on_the_Prairie_Museum/2014_Events.html
Almanzo Wilder Farm – Malone/Burke, NY – July 6, 2013 Children’s Gala and Independence Day Celebration Children’s activities, artwork on display in the museum. 10:00 AM -4:00 PM Self guided tours. Reduced Admission: Adults $5.00, children 6-16 $3.00, 5 and under free; Bring a picnic lunch! Food and beverages will be available.
Laura’s Memories Pageant – Mansfield, MO – July 5-6, 2013 (One weekend only in July, other dates will continue in August and September) The evening shows are on 7:30 PM both days and the morning performance on the 6th only at 10:30 AM. http://www.laurasmemories.com/calendar-of-events
Note: The De Smet, South Dakota and Walnut Grove, Minnesota Pageants are normally on the same weekends to facilitate you attending both. However, it looks like they got thrown off this year. Also, note that De Smet still does Sunday shows and Walnut Grove doesn’t.
De Smet Pageant – De Smet, SD – July 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 2013 Little Town on the Prairie is the selection for this year the pageant starts at 8:00 PM with the gates opening at 6:00 PM. http://www.desmetpageant.org
Unfortunately it can be very hard to find Laura Ingalls Wilder events without searching multiple websites. The homesites don’t turn in their event dates to any central location and to find the special events at locations around the country can be by accident. But here’s a partial list of Laura Ingalls Wilder events in June. Please feel free to add comments with any I missed.
Once again this year I was honored to be a keynote speaker at Pepin’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Days. Even better I accomplished two long term goals. First, having modified my plan to put together one big video of what there is to see in Pepin and instead to put together a video diary of my trip, I actually got almost all the video I needed taken, edited, and mostly uploaded before I even left Pepin. Second, having given up on ever getting to Pepin early in the afternoon on Friday on my way in to town (too many places to stop along the way) I tried to go out with Sail Pepin on Sunday morning instead, it got moved to early afternoon, but I got to go out and I have to tell you it was well worth the trip.
If you haven’t been to Pepin before, you should realize that modern day Pepin is strongly effected by two things. First, is the lake. There are more boats in the marinas on Lake Pepin than anyplace on the Mississippi and that brings in tourists from all over who might not have even heard of Laura in to use the lake and marinas. Its relatively close proximately makes it a popular weekend stop for people looking to get out of the Twin Cities for awhile, much the way Galena serves as a similar special weekend getaway for people from Chicago. This gives Pepin an unusual flavor for a small town. There aren’t any chain restaurants, but there are a large number and variety of restaurants, more than a town this size could normally support. There is also a bit of an artist colony with stores showing off locally made art and crafts. The Great River Road, a promoted tourist marketing plan to get people to drive through picturesque
country, also passes through Pepin bringing in both classic car and motorcycle cruisers on a regular basis (actually that’s one of the reasons they had to rebuild the replica cabin in the 1990s because with the previous design of two doors plus a ramp on each motorcycle groups on a ride would literally ride through the house), so they are frequently seen. So there is a lot diverse stuff going on in Pepin that doesn’t have to do with Laura.
I got into town, checked in, and connected up with Linda Starbuck and her group from Iowa. She’s got three people now coming up and volunteering to help with the sewing quilts hands-on at the cabin during the festival. I’m always glad to catch up with Linda and we started off tonight at the outdoor restaurant the Garden Pub. It can get chilly, but they have good food and it’s always a fun time to eat in a garden. Plus they have an antique/ice cream store next door. http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Garden-Pub-Grill/108193362555399
Since I was determined this time to get video diary footage up as I went, I edited and uploaded that and then went to bed. In the morning I got dressed in my Laura outfit and began to work the grounds, checking in on the various places, the Buckskinners/Traditional Craft area, the vendor area, the Depot Museum, the main stage, and, a good walk away, the museum. The biggest changes were at the museum. They are well underway,
bank loan in hand, to re-doing their museum building. They will be building a connection turning their two separate buildings into one larger building. There will only be one door for entrance and exit and there will be public bathrooms which is a massively important thing for a tourist site. Not sure on how else it will rearrange things otherwise and they are taking on debt to do this, but I think it will be a positive thing long term. I should warn you though where previously they were pretty flexible on their hours at the museum during Laura Days, they now still pretty firmly to the regular stated hours, so plan accordingly.
Since I last reported my presentation has changed a little. While the Pepin Public Library is still sponsoring my talk, and I strongly encourage people to visit the library if it is open while they are there (they have a lovely Laura display in a lawyer’s bookcase), they felt that since they always had something scheduled on the main stage against me that it would be better to have me on the main stage where everybody could see instead of having to choose. That of course eliminates the possibility for slides so I have to go with one of my PowerPoint-free programs and I hope to have a new one in place in time for next year’s since I seem to be getting more requests to present out of doors. The stage was a real challenge this year facing a strong wind, but I think it went real well anyway. I was especially pleased that a large number of people came up to ask a question afterward and one fan remembered my pitch for Laura letters from last year and brought two along that are waiting to go to the Walnut Grove archive. (Yay!) Changing to the main stage also moves the time back so I go on between the Little Miss Laura contest and the fiddle contest in late afternoon. The Little Miss Laura contest is more of a look alike contest than at some of the sites and if you are the right age you can participate no matter where you live. Younger girls can also participate as Little Sisters, no winner, but a chance to take part and get the feel of the stage for when they are old enough. Sadly no Nellie or Almanzo options here. I’m pleased with how completely they’ve embraced Pa’s fiddle playing heritage. More than any other Laura homesite the Laura Days fiddle contest draws in people of all ages from the very young to the very old to play the kind of music Laura and Pa knew and loved.
Elsewhere around the festivities, they have some really nice games and activities for the kids as well. I really like the holes punch scavenger hunt and if I was smaller I’d take a ride on the barrel train. (I love trains.)
Next on my agenda was judging the Traditional Craft area, best display, best costume, etc. That is always a lot of fun especially because they had a couple of new impressive demonstrators this year to add to the tried and true, namely a treadle sewing machine and a treadle wood turner who both added different skills and some impressive set ups. After that I decided it was too late to go out to the cabin today so I headed back and got a hold of Linda and her crew worn out from a day helping kids sew a quilt square. We agree to meet for supper, but first I took the time to buy a ride on the horse drawn wagon that takes you on a lovely peaceful drive around Pepin. I haven’t stayed in a bed and breakfast actually in Pepin yet, but I’ve stopped by the one Linda likes to stay at a number of times and I am impressed.
A trip to Pepin almost always includes a stop at the Pickle Factory. Housed in a building that once held a literal pickle factory right on the shores of the lake, it’s an active, family style place. This time we ate on the deck for the first time and I really enjoyed it. The first year I went they had the waitresses all wear little bonnets for Laura Days and I’m very sorry they haven’t kept it up because it was darn cute. Ask them about it when you go, maybe they’ll bring it back.
Afterwards I took a few sunset photos of the lake and then back to the hotel for the night. I edited video and got some uploaded. The next morning I broke my rule about burning daylight by staying in the hotel when I’m in a Laura town and slept late. I must have needed it. Then more video editing. One thing I’m always sorry about at the Pepin Motel is that they don’t offer a continental breakfast which is something I’ve kind of gotten used to in my hotel stays. They are very accommodating though and even though it was fast approaching official check out time they let me leave my last video uploading while I went across the street for breakfast at the Homemade Cafe which has the best iced tea I’ve had in Pepin.
I was supposed to be down for the boat ride at noon, so after retrieving my computer and wishing a fond farewell to my friends at the Traditional Craft area, I drove out to the cabin. During Laura days quilting completely takes over the Wayside Cabin area and with the exception of the food stand out there (that disappeared a few years ago) it seems like there is more going on every time I visit. There are hands on quilt square projects, storytelling with quilts, a quilt show, patterns for sale, more old-fashioned games, and music. I was up against the clock though by the time I left heading back to the lake shore and my boat ride.
I first heard of Sail Lake Pepin a number of years ago. Usually when I go to Pepin for Laura Days I leave on Friday, it’s about five and half hours if I drive straight through, but I’m not good at that I’m afraid, there are too many interesting places to stop, so even though I leave in the morning with good intentions I usually don’t get to Pepin until just before dark and still haven’t stopped everywhere I wanted to. After trying and failing for a number of years to make it in time to sail on Friday, I totally gave up and just decided not to stop anywhere on the way home, except to eat, and to take the time on Sunday and just plan to take the sail then. Happily it worked out and I was able to get the inside take when I did a And One More on the Way post about them in preparation for LauraPalooza this year. http://beyondlittlehouse.com/2012/07/06/on-the-way-sail-lake-pepin/
The boat is a little smaller than I expected and more hands on. Everybody got a chance to man the wheel which was exciting. There was a cabin, but you spent your time on deck. I also got to sit out on the bow . It was an incredible experience. We pretty much
followed the same path the Ingalls Family did when they crossed the frozen lake in the covered wagon and much more safely. I have to say it was a wonderful experience and one that I can honestly recommend as unique whether you are looking for something special with a Laura travel buddy, with your family, or for a romantic couple. http://www.sailpepin.com
As it was I JUST got out of there as the parade was starting which involves pretty much shutting down the entire town. If you don’t get out of town before the parade starts, just hunker down until it’s over because you aren’t going anywhere. As I said I just made it out and pushed hard hoping to make in to Spring Valley before the museum closed. I missed it by 10 minutes I’m sorry to report. I was hoping to get the Spring Valley Christmas Ball, but since I didn’t and my back up
plan didn’t pan out either, I missed out. I AM happy to report though, at least as far as September the Wilder Barn is still standing despite a plan by the owner to take it down. I hold my breath every time I pull up on the road, but so far so good. REMINDER: The owner does NOT want Laura fans on his property, stay on the road.
And from there it was mostly driving home. If you haven’t made it Laura Days in Pepin before I highly recommend it. Visiting a Laura site during an event and not during an event are completely polar experiences, but there is so much more going on during Pepin Days that it’s worth a trip. Plus, you can see me and Linda and her whole crew, so that’s worth a trip right there. I hope to catch you Pepin next year! The dates will be September 13-14, 2013.