Those Summer Festivals….
(Pictured Above: Dean Butler and Melissa Sue Anderson at Heritage Hill, Green Bay, Wisconsin)
For years I have made author visits to schools, been a speaker in hundreds of public libraries and colleges, but a new twenty-first century venue has developed: the historical park-museum trend to hold “Wilder Days”. Many of the great historical parks, filled with reminders of pioneer days, have discovered that “edu-tainment” brings in crowds. Laura Ingalls Wilder has become a real draw, and since the historic buildings, blacksmith shops, farming operations, and old schoolhouses so resembles Wilder’s past, these summer festivals are popular.
My first invitation to one of these events came from Heritage Hill in Green Bay, Wisconsin, when Renee Graef and I were asked to appear the Wilder Days one sunny July weekend. We spoke, signed books, and generally had a fine time examining the historical wonders of the park’s historical collections, restored homes, and working craft areas. Thousands of people, mostly families, streamed in. Later on, stars of television’s Little House series were included in the annual celebrations. For the first time, I was confronted with the television series I knew little about. I respected the fact than millions enjoyed the show, but I hadn’t watched it during those years it was on network. Too busy. So I got latter-day exposure to the actors who played Almanzo, Nellie, Miss Bedal, Carrie, etc. It was fun to be paired with them.
Alison Arngrim and I do a Readers' Theater Show
I’ve been back to Heritage Hill many times, to Genesee Historic Village in New York, and other summer venues that celebrate the Wilder legacy.
Parade! At "Holy Terror Days" near Mount Rushmore, South Dakota. Super Event.