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July 02, 2012
A dream comes true
When Emily Linden got the part of Laura in the Wilder pageant it was a dream come true
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- Walnut Grove — When 12 year old Emily Linden of Shafer, MN got word she had been selected to play the part of “Laura” in the Wilder Pageant, she was so excited she could hardly contain herself. When she told her dad Trent, he was as excited as she was.
To say Emily is a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan would be a huge understatement.
When she was about seven years old, she really had not heard of Laura Ingalls Wilder. But that all changed when she went to a friends house and they watched an episode of Little House on the Prairie.
It didn’t take long after that before Linden was hooked on Laura Ingalls Wilder. Then her mom Laurie bought her the set of the Little House books. Although it wasn’t until she got into the third grade that she really got interested in Laura Ingalls Wilder. She said she would watch Little House episodes during lunch hour with her teacher. She said, “my teacher also told me about Ingalls' sites in Walnut Grove and Pepin, Wisconsin. The first place I visited with my family was Pepin, we have been there several times because it is less than a couple of hours from my home.”
She has visited almost all of the Ingalls' sites and some of them more than once. She has been to DeSmet, Walnut Grove, Spring Valley, Burr Oak, IA, Mansfield, MO, and Independence, KA.
In later years Walnut Grove has been one of her favorite destinations for the past four years.
She came to Walnut Grove for the first time when she was nine years old to participate in the Laura and Nellie Look Alike contest, and to see the Wilder Pageant for the first time. “I loved it,” she said.
When she was ten, she returned to Walnut Grove again to participate in the Laura and Nellie contest. This time she won the Nellie Look Alike. She and her family received VIP treatment and Emily was given a cameo part in the pageant.
The following year Emily returned to Walnut Grove, and helped with the Laura and Nellie contest as a former winner. That was the year Alison Arngrim,who played Nellie on the Little House series, visited Walnut Grove, and she had her picture taken with the star, and she posted it on her Twitter page.
Linden said, “I had wanted to be in the pageant ever since the first time I saw it.”
She had talked to another family who came from a distance, and they decided to camp in the Plum Creek park for the seven weeks of the pageant.
So after discussing it with her family, her dad talked to his boss where he worked and was able to get the time off to come out for it.
Linden put on her application she really wanted a main part. “I was really thrilled to get the part of Laura, said Linden.
Of course after she found out she had gotten the part, Linden had to call all of her friends and relatives. She said, “it is great my friend Heather, who got me interested in the first place, is going to come and see me.”
“I feel like I am a lot like Laura in many ways,” she said. Having read the books and watched most of the episodes of Little House, she feels comfortable in the part.
Linden mused, “I don’t know if I will get another chance to be in the Pageant again, but I would like to come back next year and try out for the part of Nellie. But I am not getting my hopes up.”
Her dad, also has signed on with the set crew. He is a maintenance man at a golf course, and works on special construction projects.
Linden commented she really likes the changes that have been made in the new museum and gift shop.
“It really is a dream come true for me — I thank the Lord all the time for giving me this experience,” she said.
Only time will tell, but one has to think Emily’s path will continue to cross Walnut Grove in the future.
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