In my elementary school days, I was a bit obsessed with the Little House on the Prairie books and TV series. My best friend and I would sit in her basement, watching episode after episode of the show. My mom even signed us up for a one-room schoolhouse adventure once so we could feel like Laura Ingalls for a day. A few years ago, when Melissa Gilbert starred as “Ma” in the musical adaptation of Little House on the Prairie at Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater, we were there. So, of course, I’m interested in sharing two ways you can revisit those stories this summer.
alison arngrim, actress (nellie Oleson) and
Author, confessions of a prairie bitch
Though Laura Ingalls Wilder only lived in Walnut Grove, Minn. for a short time in the late 1800s, the entire television show was set in this Minnesota city. Walnut Grove celebrates this history each summer with the Wilder Pageant. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the pageant, which is billed as “an outdoor drama based on the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder in Walnut Grove.” The pageant runs July 6-7, 13-14, and 20-21. Schedule: gates open at 7 p.m., pageant singers at 8 p.m., performance at 9 p.m. Tickets: $12-$14. Fireworks on July 6. Besides the pageant, summer in Walnut Grove features a variety of family-friendly activities. Several stars from the television series will make an appearance for the Wilder Pageant events, including Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson) from July 20-22 and Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle) on July 14 and 15. Other attractions in the city include the Ingalls Dugout Site and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum.
For more from Alison Arngrim, head to Camp Bar and Cabaret in St. Paul on July 18 and 19. The actress and stand-up comic will be sharing stories from her memoir, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, in which she chronicles her role as the “original mean girl” on the TV series and shares what it was like growing up in Hollywood.