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July 02, 2012
SMALL TOWN LIFE
Wilder Pageant starts 35th season
Little House stars Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle) and Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson) will appear in week 2 and week 3 respectively
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- Walnut Grove — The cast and crew of Fragments of a Dream, Wilder Pageant have been busy practicing, painting and in some cases rebuilding sets.
Director Bill Richards, who has been associated with the pageant since its inception, talked some major set work. “We had to completely rebuild the set for Oleson’s Store.” A new metal frame was built to support the inside of the store set. The new set will roll out on rubber tires, and will be hydraulically operated. A concrete pad has been poured in front of the store to accommodate rolling out the set.
Richards said “we have had to switch some of the parts, but most of the main adult parts have stayed the same.” Errol Steffen continues to play Pa Ingalls a part he has done for several years. Caroline Ingalls continues to be played by Jan Mason.
Anna Larson who played Laura last year will play Mary this year. Playing Laura will be Emily Linden (see related story). Carrie will be played by Sami Ward, Grace will be played by Kaia Christensen.
Willie and Nellie Oleson will have new actors this year. Nellie will be played by Hannah Jones, and Willie is played by Tyler Keithan.
Richards said, “with new actors and those doing different parts, it offers a different interpretation of the parts.”
“With over 80 parts in the pageant and many of those child parts it is a challenge keeping them all on task,” said Richards.
Ticket Sales brisk
Errol Steffen said ticket sales have been very good, and ahead of last year. “We actually have a sell out for Saturday night July 7. We have about 30 tour busses coming that night,” he said. However general admission tickets are still available for that performance.
People worry about the weather, but they do not call off the pageant until 9:00 p.m. most of the time. You might have rain showers in the morning or afternoon, but then it will clear off by evening.
Little House stars coming
Two former Little House on the Prairie stars will be coming to Walnut Grove.
Charlotte Stewart who played Miss Beadle on the television show will be making her first appearance in Walnut Grove July 14 and 15.
Alison Arngrim will be making her third appearance. The popular star and author will be appearing on the weekend of July 20.
The Family Festival has a full line up of entertainment and activities for young and old.
Saturday July 7 there will be entertainment from 11:00 to 5:30 p.m.
Demonstrations during the day will be old time blacksmith, corn shelling, weaving, wood carver, seed art, corn husk dolls and much more.
Dave Doubler will present a Civil War re-enactments and demonstrations.
Music and presentations will progress throughout the day. Clairseach Ann & Charlie Heymann will perform Irish Gaelic Music.
Western author and Jesse James authority, John Koblas will give his presentation. Laura and Nellie Look-a-Like contest (registration begins at 1:30.)
There will also be free kids activities, historic bus tours, crafts and vendors, and pageant supper in the evening at the community center.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Information Center will be open all day.
The museum has several new displays, an expanded gift shop, and a new hands on area ready for visitors.
So if you are looking for a great time, come to Walnut Grove for the opening of the Wilder Pageant, The Family Festival, and the Wilder Museum.
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