PIERRE, S.D. – Since the 1930s, readers have been enchanted by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s tales of the struggles and joys of life on the prairie. Her story began with her first novel, Little House in the Big Woods, which was published in 1932 and described her early childhood in Pepin, Wisc.
The series continued to trace her family’s journey west, where they eventually made their home in De Smet, South Dakota. The final books of the series are set in South Dakota, and it is in the little town on the prairie, De Smet, that her words are brought to life each summer in July.
Since the 1950s, De Smet community members have been performing Wilder’s books. In 1973, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant Society was founded, and the following year, 30 acres of land near the Ingalls’ homestead were purchased to be a permanent home for the pageant.
This year, the Society is performing The Long Winter for three weekends in July on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Please visit http://www.desmetpageant.org/ for specific dates and show times.
- Photo: Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant. Credit: South Dakota Department of Tourism