Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas Shopping Guide 2019

Whether you are looking for the perfect present for the Laura Ingalls Wilder fan in your life or just what you want to know what to put on your Christmas want list, check out these suggestions!

This is the ninth year I’ve put together a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan shopping guide. Check the first post for basic gift ideas. Read that first and use this post to look for new items, other ideas, and a list of which Laura homesites are offering Christmas mail order and the cut off dates for shipping by Christmas this year. Trundlebed Tales encourages you to do at least a little Christmas shopping from the Laura homesites because they are all local museums, highly dependent on admissions and gift shop revenue to stay open and preserve the homesites for Laura fans, so do your part. If you are buying from Amazon, make sure you go into Amazon Smile and they’ll donate part of cost to your selected charity – select a Laura Ingalls Wilder homesite.

And don’t forget you can also get your Laura fan gift memberships to the museums or a donation in your Laura fan’s name! Most of the presents that I suggested in 2011 2012 , 2013 , 2014 , 2015 , 20162017 and 2018 are still available so take a look at previous shopping posts for more ideas.

Keep Laura in Your Thoughts All Year

Once again the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites have put out a calendar. It includes glossy full color photos of the homesites. Some photos you will have seen before others that are brand new. The calendar also features dates from things like the pageant dates to birth and death dates of family members. They are available from most of the homesites.

Put the China Shepherdess on the Mantle

Last year’s big return was a china shepherdess replica. I was shocked a couple of years ago when all three of the homesites that were selling different versions had stopped due to separate production issues. Last year 3 of the homesites (Mansfield, [as of 12/7/19 they’re on sale] Walnut Grove, and Independence) each introduced their own new version of the shepherdess. They cost about the same. Watch me unbox the shepherdesses from Independence and Mansfield.

Selected Laura Letters

Does your favorite Laura fan have a copy of The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson yet? If not, make sure they get a Christmas copy! Find it at any of the homesites.

With Rings on Her Fingers…

Walnut Grove has been offering a duplicate of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s engagement ring for sometime. It’s designed following what’s believed to be the one Almanzo bought her from the Montgomery Ward catalog. The cost is a little expensive (much more than Manly paid), but as many complements as I get when I wear mine, it’s a perfect gift! I thought it was worth another shout out!

Cat’s Meow!

Lauri Goforth is the Cat’s Meow star! At least she should feel like she is because it was her efforts this year that lead the company to roll out a new set of Laura Ingalls Wilder figures to go with what they originally had in 1998.  Mansfield is still selling their two set pieces from the 1998 batch.

Watch me unbox them!

HarperCollins

Cover of new edition of Little House Cookbook in front of a Xmas tree
Little House Cookbook – New Edition

HarperCollins hasn’t put anything new for this holiday season, but last year they rolled out a new edition of the Little House Cookbook. The new edition is hardback and replaces the hardback version that has been available since 1979. Its design follows the book design of a trio of books in the series released with an introductory essay by a famous woman. The design of the text is different and the Garth Williams illustrations have been replaced by full color photographs that are lovely, but I’m fairly confident what they cooked to photograph wasn’t done by a historic cook. A lot of focus is put on these photographs that are either full page or 2 pages. The book is printed on half-chalked paper (which is in vogue for all kinds of books right now for some reason) which is traditionally used to give a better surface for photographs. I should warn you that the use of chalked paper also makes the book much, MUCH heavier than you’d expect. The paperback version will continue to follow the design established in 1979 by the original hardback edition and themed to the gingham covers version of the books which came out in the early 1990s. Walker herself has told me she prefers the Williams edition, but the actual content, apart from the illustrations and design (font, etc.) are identical.

You can buy the first 5 books in the “Little House” series as an ebook package from HarperCollins for use on the BookShout App only. This ebook package actually came out in 2016, but has missed the list until this year.

A Rose and a Prayer

I want to point out two books that I got copies of this year. The first is the graphic novel style nonfiction Credo: The Rose Wilder Lane Story by Peter Bagge. I still haven’t written a review of it because I’m still mulling it over, but I will say that I think overall he has a pretty good idea about how Rose saw herself and none at all about anything about Laura. If you read it, let me know your take. I was surprised by not really seeing it in many of the giftshops this year. It may have to be a bookstore purchase.

The other one is A Prairie Devotional by Wendi Lou Lee. A devotional is a book that gives you a story and a prayer every day. Lee, who was one of twins who played Grace on the NBC series, fills in with stories of the show and working with cast members. She also dealt with some serious health issues she talks about in-depth. I think it’s a read that is aiming at a particular audience and if you are it, you’ll love it. It was available through several different giftshops.

Queen’s Treasures

When Friendly Films and their Little House on the Prairie TV show started authorizing products again one of the first things licensed was a set of dolls and accessories for a Laura doll. They have everything from a covered wagon to all the miniature equipment you need to fill it up. You can outfit your doll in a typical pioneer dress or in one based on Laura’s good dress from the TV show. This fall they rolled out a second doll so now you can purchase both Laura and Mary.

Some Homesite Highlights

Honey Bear and Maple Syrup Cabin Containers
Pepin Label Honey and Maple Syrup

One of the most exciting additions to Pepin’s store for fans of the “Little House” picture books is that Pepin now is selling high quality prints of Renee Graef’s illustrations. There are several and appear in different sizes. Another cool thing is that they are now selling private label honey and maple syrup.

Pepin also has The Ingalls Family: The Pepin Story by William T. Anderson. It’s back in print as the most current update to his original book published in 1967.

If you’re looking for normal trip stuff to bring back between the stuffed animals, specialty coffee, and candles you’ll find all sorts of that kind of thing with a Laura theme at the Independence store. The are connected with one of those make everything custom printing places which gives plenty of choices. I should warn you though I bought a t-shirt there this summer and it not only was very light weight, it tore the very first time I wore it.

Walnut Grove Limited T-shirt of 2019Walnut Grove also has some of its 2019 Little House on the Prairie Cast Reunion t-shirts. They are my favorite color – red! With a real pretty design. Whether you attended the reunion or not, you’ll want one of these limited supply t-shirts (scroll to bottom of online catalog page) for your collection. Another product are the Beadle Bags created by Charlotte Stewart each is unique. If you have a TV show fan in your life, they’ll probably want one.

 

Two tin-punch lanterns that say Laura Ingalls Wilder
Photo courtesy of Kitty Latane

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet had Kitty Latane make some specially designed tin lanterns. A hot new item there is the sweatshirt blanket. It’s available in different colors with an image of the Surveyor’s House. Their next china ornament out this year features a design from On the Banks of Plum Creek. Also find a quilt for your favorite Charlotte doll! Finally if you don’t have a copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Education in Kingsbury County by Nancy S. Cleaveland, you need one.

The Ingalls Homestead is having a special on right now. Between now and December 11th they are having a special sale. 10% off on everything online and if there is anything you remember seeing in person that isn’t on their online store, call and ask. They also are offering free regular shipping as part of the sale. Used the code word “Suspenders.” Order by Dec. 16th if you’re using the free shipping for Christmas delivery. Order by Dec. 20th for priority shipping.

Luggage Tags
Photo Courtesy of Ingalls Homestead

Two new things the Homestead are offering are a wooden bookmark featuring Laura’s signature and a brand-new and a redesigned crate holding a set of the original series. Personally I’m excited about their luggage tags. I’d been bugging them to get these for years because I love my Disney ones and I’m excited they got them! The tags aren’t online yet, but give them a call, they’ve got them!

Mansfield is focused on its metal ornaments. Originally they came out year by year, but if you don’t have them all your tree is sorely lacking. 😦 My favorite thing in their gift shop was the fiddle shaped flashdrive! They also have t-shirts specifically for the Wilder Days fiddle-off. One thing Rose and I agree on is loving huge cups to drink out of. Get one in a Blue Willow pattern from the gift shop. The most unique product is a Valentine’s meal for two that includes a tour of the farmhouse. Or registration is open for the 2020 season of Pioneer Camp for your kids.

If you love “18-inch dolls” aka “American Girl Doll Size”, Thimbles and Acorns has been printing dress patterns for specific doll dresses. There are publications of various lengths and with patterns around various themes. Most of the homesite giftshops have them now.

Malone has continued to offer limited products in the Almanzo Wilder farmstead  Facebook shop. Malone is offering branded maple syrup bottles. They have a red stocking ornament with Almanzo’s name. They also have a fundraising raffle. The grand prize is a quilt made to Linda Halpin’s pattern.

When I teach one-room school sessions I’ve been surprised by questions about where to buy McGuffey’s Readers after I tell them they are still in print. (100 years of reprints and counting after they fell out of print for about 20 years.) You can find them online at Pepin (under Books keep clicking show more until they show up it’s a long way down), Walnut Grove (scroll down linked page), and Mansfield (note the covers that are all brown are the 1830s ed and the blue/orange-ish covers are 1890s-ish).

Also find some interesting fabric projects. You can get prints directly from Renee Graef. If your budget is really big you can get original Garth Williams art.

I recommend contacting the sites by e-mail or online store instead of by phone, except where noted. Even places that have been easiest to contact by phone in the past I’ve had trouble calling, but most responded quickly by e-mail.

Check out the shipping dates from the United States Postal Service, if you have a question about shipping dates.

Pepin WI

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
Online Store
Best to order online, but can also reach by phone 715-513-6383, or by sending a letter. Neither museum nor gift shop is open during the winter.
Last Day for Priority – They didn’t give me a date, use your own judgment.

Independence KS

Little House on the Prairie Museum
Online Store
Last Day for Priority Mail – They didn’t give me a date, use your own judgment.

Walnut Grove MN

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
Online Store
Phone 1-800-528-7280
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 18, 2019

De Smet SD

Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society
Online Store
Phone 1-800-880-3383
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 18, 2019

Ingalls Homestead
Online Store
Phone: 1-800-776-3594
Last Day for Regular Shipping – December 16, 2019
Last Day for Priority – December 20, 2019

Mansfield MO

Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum
Online Store
Phone 1-877-924-7126 (Toll free)
Last Day for Priority – They didn’t give me a date, use your own judgment.

Malone NY

Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Farm
Online Store
Facebook Store
farm@almanzowilderfarm.com
Last Day for Priority – They didn’t give me a date, use your own judgment.

Spring Valley MN

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum (Store not online)
wilderinspringvalley@hotmail.com
Recommends using e-mail to order for Christmas, but you may want to include your phone number in the e-mail so they can get back to you with questions quickly.
Last Day for Priority – They didn’t give me a date, use your own judgment.

Burr Oak IA

Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum
Online Store
Last Day for Priority – They didn’t give me a date, use your own judgment.

The best way for people to shop during the winter is through the website gift shop and then pay through Paypal. You can email the museum with questions. They are no longer accepting checks for orders because of some bad check incidents.

 

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 ,  TwitterLinkedIn ,  SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Walnut Grove Reaper

One of the fun things that exists on Twitter are archives hashtag parties. Someone picks a particular date and time and a theme giving museums/libraries/special collections/archives a chance to dig out or take photos. They then cockily send them back and forth with the hashtag so people following can find a lot of cool things they’d probably never see any other way.

The Reaper

This entry was sent out by the Library of Virginia.

Walnut Grove is the name of Cyrus Hall McCormick‘s family farm in Rockbridge County, Virginia. It was on this farm that McCormick and Jo Anderson developed a reaper. You can visit the place today. The information I found also recommended the book The Century of the Reaper by Cyrus McCormick.

Modern Farm Equipment

In Little House in the Big Woods Laura describes Pa harvesting with a scythe. The late 19th century saw a big step forward in mechanical equipment for farming. One of these was the reaper. A horse-drawn reaper would go through a field of grain (oats, wheat, etc.). The cutting bars on the front have metal teeth (like those for the mowing machine that Laura and Carrie fetch from town and then get lost in the slough) and paddle wheel sweeps the cut grain on to the platform behind that then the person working with the machine could then tie into bundles to create a shock. The entire stem of the individual stalk is cut off.

Separating the grain from the stem, etc. is a separate process. Both the more basic flail (Farmer Boy) and the threshing machine (Little House in the Big Woods) are described in the books. Combines – machines that combine the functions of a reaper and a thresher into one machine – later took over but generally not until the 1930s. It was only in the second half of the 20th century that they became the self-moving vehicle of today.

Walnut Grove Creeper

Although I knew the story of McCormick – my family have always been strong International people – I didn’t realize his farm was called Walnut Grove so it gave me a bit of a shock when I first saw this Tweet. I was so glad to find another – if slight – connection between Laura and agriculture history.

I must admit it made me think of “The Creeper of Walnut Grove,” too.

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.

July 2019 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

July is always a big month for events.  I hope you have a Laura trip planned for this month. Catch up on all of Laura Ingalls Wilder fandom this month.

Me in covered wagon by Walnut Grove Museum Sign
In the Photo Wagon outside Walnut Grove

Walnut Grove MN

Fragments of a Dream Pageant

Museum/Pageant 2018 Brochure

  • July 5-6, 2019
  • July 12-13, 2019
  • July 19-20, 2019

The Little House on the Prairie Cast Reunion is July 12 and 13. Tickets for those nights of the pageant are $35 for Reserved Seats and $33 for General Admission.

Family Festival held in Walnut Grove City Park on pageant Saturdays
July 6, 12-13, and 20, 2019. The festival goes from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm Check the Walnut Grove website for full schedule and more details as it gets closer. 

July 11-14, 2019 they will have a Little House on the Prairie TV show cast reunion. They are still under negotiation so no cast list has yet been announced. Watch for more information. Check out my podcasts about my trip to the 2014 Walnut Grove Reunion.

“On Friday July 12th, 2019 there will be a “Little House” Luncheon with the Stars. Each Star will have a table with additional seats. All 11 Stars will be at the Luncheon, so 66 seats are available. Luncheon to begin at 11:00 a.m.”

De Smet SD

By the Shores of Silver Lake

  • July 5, 6, 2019
  • July 7 – 12, 2019
  • July 13, 14 – 19, 20, 21, 2019

Spring Valley MN

    • Eliza Jane School House Days – End of July

Mansfield MO

Note: Recently Mansfield has been scheduling small events without a lot of notice. If this trend continues I will add them to list as soon as I find out about them. This year Mansfield has a theme – A Season With Rose.

July 8 – 12, 2019 Rocky Ridge Adventure Pioneer Camp
July 24 – 28, 2019 Rocky Ridge Adventure Pioneer Camp

 

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Association is excited to announce the addition of “Rocky Ridge Adventure Pioneer Camp” to our 2019 season! The camp will be for children ages (9-12) and we will offer two different weeks, June 24-28 and July 8-12. Camp will cost $50 per child and will include a week of exciting adventures around Rocky Ridge Farm. Campers will enjoy many learning activities, bringing a hands-on perspective to the pioneer lifestyle. This week of adventure will run from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily. There will be a special rate of $5 off each registration with 2 children or more. Camp will take place, rain or shine!! Your child will not want to miss this special week of historic fun and memories!!!! Register today and reserve your spot in the first summer camp to take place at Rocky Ridge Farm!! Registration cost includes 5 days of camp, tin cup, badge, book, shirt and a hat (bonnet for girls and coon skin cap for boys). Download the Registration Form here 2019 Camper Registration Form For more information, call 417-924-3626.

Malone/Burke NY

Find more on events.

Celebration of Youth and Morgan Horse – July 20, 2019

  • Children’s art on display, along with students’ essays. Award ceremony and the announcement of Honorary Laura and Almanzo
  • Kids art activities, 19th century games, vendors, food
  • Entertainment & more!

Conference

LauraPalooza July 8–10, 2019, Onalaska, WI

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 , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

2014 Little House Cast Reunion

Cast on Stage Courtesy of Linda Starbuck
Cast on Stage
Courtesy of Linda Starbuck

It’s a big anniversary for the TV show again this year (2019) and once again the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and the Pageant in Walnut Grove are hosting a reunion. The first episode of NBC’s Little House on the Prairie TV show aired September 11, 1974. In 2014 the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove and the Walnut Grove Pageant hosted a reunion of 11 cast members. For those of you who are looking forward to the reunion and those who will be left behind, take a virtual visit to the 40th reunion back in 2014. Here’s the top things to know.

If you enjoy this blog, here is a directory to my TV show themed posts and for the real town of Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

Medical Mishap

During 2014 I attended the reunion. While I was there I took an unusual route to get around a group of people and tripped. I went straight down and scraped up my face pretty badly as you can see in the videos. People who were there that time are probably going to remember me because of that and the huge bandage on my face. If you would have a similar problem while you are there, Walnut Grove doesn’t have a hospital. They do have an EMT unit and although its members will be doing other things, stop at the museum as a first stop for basic medical needs and they should be able to grab an EMT for you if necessary for evaluation for needing further care. Band-aids, etc. are for sale at the town grocery. If it’s a BIG emergency, dial 911 like you would normally do.

Although it was a nasty fall and ruined several of plans for the day and broke my camera, I’m happy to report that I recovered fully. I didn’t break my nose or any teeth and no scars.

2014 Podcasts

Find descriptions of my 2014 Reunion podcasts with descriptions and alternate ways to listen.

2014 Videos

In addition to my video a class took videos that they hoped to release as a DVD. They didn’t, but did post it on YouTube. Sadly they’ve since been pulled down, but my navigation notes will tell you what was covered.

I’ve put my video diaries into a playlist. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Finally find this round up on Walnut Grove posts and videos from 2014 that needs updated. LOL

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 , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

45th Cast Reunion at Walnut Grove FAQs

Here are the official FAQs. Thanks to Paul Valenti for putting these together. I added a few additional statements marked as Blog Ed. Notes and reformatted it a little bit with bold highlighting key points for easy scanning.

Also, for more information check out my interview with museum director Amy.

Before we jump in, I’d also like to give everyone a heads up that the pageant grounds suffered massive flooding in 2018. Part of the income from this event will go to continuing repairs of the pageant to help keep it being a star attraction for visiting Laura fans. – SSU

Paul’s FAQs

1. DO I NEED A TICKET?
[Blog Ed. Note: There are two answers because there will be 2 major events going on.]

Answer A: [Blog Ed. Note: A pageant is an outdoor play almost always put on by volunteers and amateur actors. There are many of them across the country nearly all historic, Shakespeare, or Biblical. This one tells the story of the Ingalls family during their time in Walnut Grove and Burr Oak, Iowa. It’s pretty impressive. Even if you don’t make it for this reunion, always include the pageant if possible on any Walnut Grove Laura trip.]
You need a TICKET to attend the PAGEANT. The pageant occurs in the evenings, both on Friday & Saturday. You can purchase tickets online. You should also be able to buy tickets the day of the pageant, you just may be sitting in one of the back rows!

Answer B: There will be a BRACELET available [for purchase] at the museum store as well as at the City Park where the autographing sessions are being set up. The bracelet will cost $35 for a single day or $60 for the entire weekend. This bracelet enables you to obtain autographs from all of the cast members appearing in Walnut Grove. The cast members will also be selling their individual photos in the museum store and at the City Park for you to purchase separately to have autographed. You will be allowed to bring up to 2 items through the line, per trip, to have autographed. In other words, if you have 4 items, you will be asked to get back in line after your first two items have been signed. Please note….please do not ask the cast members to sign scraps of paper, programs, ticket stubs or photos printed from the internet. They WILL be glad to sign your books, DVDs, CDs, “Little House” related items and their photos which have been purchased from the museum store and on the grounds of the City Park. Anything purchased from the museum store is acceptable for autographing!

2. WHERE DO WE STAY?

Answer: Anywhere you can find a place. Lodging close to Walnut Grove has been sold out for about a month now so you will probably end up at least 30 minutes away as it stands currently. [Blog Ed. Note: Seriously, finding lodging is always the first step in planning a successful Walnut Grove trip. If you do not live close enough to drive home at night do NOT plan on coming until you have lodging worked out. Do that FIRST!]

3. WHERE DO WE FLY INTO?

Answer: Most people coming to Walnut Grove events use the Minneapolis/St Paul (MSP) airport due to its favorable connections and better prices compared to the airport in Sioux Falls, SD, even though Sioux Falls IS closer.

4. WHERE DO WE EAT?

Answer: There are several restaurants in Walnut Grove and most people want to make at least one stop at “Nellie’s Cafe”. Be prepared to wait awhile due to the large number of people who are descending on Walnut Grove that weekend. There will also be various vendors situated around if you are looking for something quick. [Blog Ed. Note: The evening of each pageant night local service clubs serve meals in the community center which is on the far end of the block that houses the museum – the distance is a long block and note you will most likely end up walking on gravel for part of it. I highly recommend these pageant suppers to support the town and to get a taste of small town life. They only do the evening meal, but they start serving late afternoon. Also note that Nellie’s is a very small mom and pop/small town cafe style restaurant. It’s actually a little small even for the type of restaurant it is so turn around time to get a table is pretty long. Nellie’s extending their hours during the reunion from 6am to 7:30pm.]

5. HOW DO WE GET AROUND TO THE REUNION EVENTS?

Answer: If you are driving to Walnut Grove on Route 14, IGNORE the DETOUR SIGNS. They are there to keep thru traffic continuing on Highway 14, but you are not going through, you are going TO Walnut Grove. Once you are in Walnut Grove, you’ll find it to be a nice cozy sized town, you can literally walk anywhere in town in about 15 minutes at the most, including to the church to ring “Pa’s Bell”. The pageant, Plum Creek and the LIW dugout site, however, are about a 10 minute drive from Walnut Grove. [Blog Ed. Note: To repeat the detour is for thru traffic so it drives you AROUND the town and you want to stop there so don’t take it. Also, note that the pageant and the dugout site are in opposite directions from town. The dugout is north and the pageant is south. I personally STRONGLY advise you to plan on parking your car and walking wherever you want to go, except to the pageant or the dugout site, because with the town population basically quadrupling during the event free parking spots near the action will be fairly non-existent during most of the day.]

6. WHERE IS THE AUTOGRAPHING TAKING PLACE?

Answer: The actors will be set up in the City Park, which is right in the center of town and across the street from the museum and museum store; those of you who have been there before know that this is where the large gazebo sits. Autographing sessions are the main event over the reunion weekend, happening most of the day on both Friday & Saturday, beginning around 10 am in the mornings and around 2 pm in the afternoons of both days. There will be a separate line for each of the actors, so expect to see fans running around, jumping into various lines. PLEASE BE NICE TO YOUR FELLOW FANS! Cutting in lines is frowned upon and is something that we will be keeping an eye on.

7. CAN WE TAKE A PICTURE WITH CAST MEMBER?

Answer: To have your picture taken with the actor whose line you are in, simply turn around IN FRONT of the table that they are sitting at. They will lean forward after signing your item for the picture opp. PLEASE HAVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER READY! I and various other staff members will be floating around to help with the photo taking; otherwise, ask the fan standing behind you or whoever might have come with you to help. Please help us keep the lines moving!

8. CAN WE TAKE A GROUP PHOTO WITH ALL OF THE CAST MEMBERS?

Answer: On Sunday, the cast will be set up in a room with a “Little House” theme in the Community Center and the fan(s) will be set up amongst them, there will be staff there to take the photo using your camera/cell phone. This photo opportunity will cost $10.

That’s it for now….feel free to feed me more questions as we get closer to this event. I will be updating periodically as needed!

UPDATED July 3 2019: The photo opportunity will be in the Community Center.

This is Sarah just adding this one from the interview you should add to above. There will be a lot of portapotties around, but flushable toilets not in restaurants are 1. Museum 2. Community Center 3. Gas Station across the street from the train tracks which last time everyone seemed to forget was there.

Laura Homesites Open for the Season 2019

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Season has officially gotten underway again. If you plan a Laura trip before they open, make sure you call ahead. The homesite museums that are not fully open, may or may not be able to accommodate you by opening the museum, etc. or giving lists of what there is to see.

Although you should double check before making a special trip, homesites tend to open on very similar, if not the same, dates every year so use this to plan for next year.

Wagon Ride at DeSmet Pageant
Wagon Ride at DeSmet Pageant

2019 Opening Dates

Pepin, WI
– Opens May 1, 2019

Independence, KS
– Opened April 1, 2019

Walnut Grove, MN
– The visitor/gift shop stays open all year round with reduced hours in the off season.
April 1, 2019 the ground open and the hours expand to include weekends.
(Mon.-Sat. 10:00 am-4:00 pm; Sun. 12 Noon-4:00 pm)
May 1, 2019 they expand weekend hours again
(Mon.-Sat. 10:00 am-5:00 pm; Sun. 12 Noon-5:00 pm)
June 1, 2019 hours extend to 10:00 am – 6:00 pm daily.

Dugout Site normally not open until sometime May. The date is dependent on weather conditions, if there is still snow or if it’s flooded it won’t open as early. Call ahead and check. But it’s now open for this year.

Burr Oak, IA
– Opened May 1, 2019 MonSat limited hours through May.
(Monday-Saturday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm –Last tour 3:  on all days– Sunday: Noon – 4:00 pm) Hours expand with Memorial Day, May 28, 2019
(Monday-Saturday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm-Last tour 4:00 pm- Sunday: Noon – 4:00 pm Last tour 3:00 pm)

DeSmet, SD
Memorial Society – Opened limited hours in January – April, expand to Saturday during May (Monday thru Saturday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm)
Goes to 7 days a week June 1, 2019 (Monday thru Friday 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Sunday 9:00 am to 5:30 pm)

Ingalls Homestead – Opened Memorial Day Weekend for regular hours 9:00 am – 7:00 pm every day with activities from 10:00 am -6:00 pm. They host school visits M-F through May so if you plan on a visit before they officially open next year, you may not be out of luck.  Visitors are welcome to join up with a school group, but should call or email first to get specific times as they vary daily.  800-776-3594 – mail@ingallshomestead.com

Mansfield, MO
Opened March 1, 2018 (Monday thru Saturday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday: 12:30 pm to 5:00 pm)

Malone/Burke, NY
 – Opens Sat., May 26, 2018

Spring Valley, MN 
Open Daily starting June 1, 2019

Keystone, SD
– Opened May 15, 2019

Vinton, IA
– As of now the school remains closed. The School for the Blind was combined last year with the The School for the Deaf and they moved to Council Bluffs (which honestly I still don’t understand how that was legal).

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 , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Plum Creek Park Camping

When the Prairie Whispers CoverLooking for a place to camp? Walnut Grove now has an online system to make a camping reservation.

If you don’t want to camp, still consider a visit. You can also get a tour guide booklet called through the museum gift shop.

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