Last night was the final performance of the year for the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Fragments of a Dream” pageant in Walnut Grove, and it marked the 15th year our family has acted in the outdoor play.
Long-time readers might remember that Victoria and Rhia (then known as Annalee) started in the pageant at ages 6 and 4, all those years ago. Daryl joined the next year, playing Reverend Alden. The girls were in it for about 10 years each and Daryl has acted in it every year since. Eventually they were joined by Jack and later Alex, and Fiona started acting in it 3 years ago at age 3.
This year’s pageant was quite the drama. We experienced a “hundred year flood” the week of opening night that completely washed out a road and put the entire pageant set under water.
Here’s the road leading to the pageant site, or what was left of it after the rushing water in the drainage culvert under the highway literally blew it out from under the road and destroyed the road completely.
Some of the crew even took a row boat to rescue the calf (“Spot”) from the set.
The #wilderpageant is canceled for opening week and I'm so sad for everyone affected but I love that some of the crew took a boat to the pageant site to rescue the calf. ❤️ . . . . . #plumcreek #lauraingallswilder #lauraingalls #flooding #walnutgrove #minnesotaweather #animalrescue #walnutgrovemn #onthebanksofplumcreek
We didn’t know if we’d be able to have a show at all, or even if the set could be saved, but the cast and crew came together, cleaned everything up and fixed it all, and scheduled 3 shows a week for the next two weeks to make up for the missed first shows.
Here’s a a few shots of my crew this year, featuring Daryl, Alex, Jack and Fiona (who played two parts — Alice Kennedy in the first half and little Grace Ingalls in the second half later when the family returned in real life and spent more time here). Fiona is in the yellow dress. The boys are shaggy blonde boys in white shirts and suspenders, so they’re often harder to spot. 🙂
Scenes from last night's dress rehearsal of the Wilder Pageant. Tonight is opening night after flooding canceled last week's shows. It's raining again in Walnut Grove and there's another flash flood warning but they are headed out to hope for the best. #lauraingallswilder #wilderpageant #lauraingallswilderpageant #walnutgrove #summertheatre #actingfamily #onthebanksofplumcreek
And even though there is no video taping allowed, here’s a tiny clip of the rehearsal for the children’s dance in the town social, since I’m such a rule breaker and I consider it good advertising. 😉
It was a grand, exciting, exhausting, worrisome, wonderful season that showed how hard work and a team effort can make anything happen. The cast and crew worked tirelessly and once again put on a really incredible performance night after night.
My kids are sad that it’s over. They’ll miss their pageant friends (some of whom travel from as much as 3 hours away and camp or stay with relatives in order to take part as a family!) and the acting, singing, dancing and play with their fellow cast mates.
If you ever happen to be in the Walnut Grove area around July, I highly recommend coming to see the show. There’s drama, comedy and history, complete with an incredible prairie fire, a grasshopper plague, singing, dancing, sad times (Mary goes blind, crops are destroyed, Pa has to leave to find work in Mankato, and more) and fun and funny times — even a pie in Mrs. Oleson’s face. 🙂
And now we rest for a good 15 minutes before starting the next summer adventure…