Pageant History

1951   Families gathered around their radios to listen to the Hallmark Playhouse presentation of "The Long Winter."

1955   After receiving permission from Hallmark Playhouse to use its script, local actors performed "The Long Winter" in the high school auditorium at no charge to the public.

1968   As part of the summer arts festival, local actors once again performed "The Long Winter" in the high school auditorium. People poured in, and extra chairs were brought in from the Lutheran Church, and still more people continued to come in.

1971   Encouraged by the overwhelming response to the 1968 production, a group of local volunteers developed plans for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant, an outdoors family drama to celebrate the life and writings of our home town author. Several local civic organizations-- the Kiwanis, Jaycees, and Chamber of Commerce assisted in the production.

1973   The Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant Society was founded, a non-profit organization committed to the preservation of Laura's legacy.

1974   The LIW Pageant Society purchased thirty acres of land to become the pageant's permanent home. This beautiful section of land is nestled between the Ingalls Homestead, the big slough, and Silver Lake.

Over the years, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant has become a local tradition. Each summer more than a hundred volunteers combine their talents to present a family-friendly drama based on the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder. People from all over the world gather together on the beautiful South Dakota prairie and step back into history to a time when the West was just opening up to a wave of pioneering men and women. It is our goal to preserve--through drama--the family values and pioneering spirit of the Ingalls family.