What's Happening at Laura Days 2013

For the Boys...The Cousin Charley Contest!

Who’s Cousin Charley?

In Laura’s first book, Little House in the Big Woods, Laura tells about her visit to Uncle Henry’s and Aunt Polly’s farm at harvest time. There was a lot of work to do and Cousin Charley was expected to help. But Cousin Charley was lazy and spoiled and didn't like to work. In fact, he was set on making mischief.

 He hid the sharpening stone that Pa and Uncle Henry used to keep the cutting blades sharp. He refused to bring water when the men were thirsty. He played pranks that interrupted the work and eventually got himself into trouble, getting severely stung by a swarm of yellow jacket bees. His whole body became swollen and feverish; he had to be covered in cool mud and wrapped in a wet sheet. Laura and her sisters stood and stared at him. 

Perhaps he learned a lesson from his naughty antics. Even though he wasn't punished or even scolded for all his pranks, Laura mentions (in a later book) that Charley did turn out much better than ever expected. 

We hope our Cousin Charley contestants are more cooperative and well-behaved than Cousin Charley was. We do see bees around the park, but they’re not yellow jackets (thankfully).

Here's what you need to know

  1. Cousin Charley Contest participants must be boys, age eight through ten years.

  2. Due to limited space, the Cousin Charley Contest participants will be limited to 15. Contestants must obtain free entry form at the information table. These will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

  3. All Cousin Charley contestants will be on stage at the same time to answer a short series of questions related to the late 1800’s time period. The contest will take place on the stage immediately following the announcement of the winner of the Laura Contest 9-year-old division.

  4. Cousin Charley contestants are invited to ride on the Laura parade trailer in the Sunday parade. Parade line-up is ½ block from the intersection of County N (Dunn St) and Hwy 35. This intersection is 6 blocks south of the park – see map. If you are going to ride in the parade you must be there between 1:30 and 1:45 pm. After the parade the boys will be dropped off at the motel across the street from the Main Stage in the park.

For a printed version of the above, Click Here.

Need more information. Use this form to contact us.

Laura Contest Update

In the past there has been a low number of participants in both the 10 and 11 year old categories.  Therefore these two age groups will be combined into one category and one winner will be selected from this combined age group.

There will still be a category for 8 year olds and a category for 9 year olds.

Check the complete rules for this year's Laura Contest. Click Here

Laura Days is bringing back the old time medicine show for the second year!

When Laura Ingalls was just a little girl entertainment options were few. 

No computer games, texting or Facebook. Mostly it was real books. Of course Pa might have made toys for the kids out of wood, and Ma would have made dolls.

But the real excitement for turn-of-the-century folks was when the medicine show came to town. Music, dancing and comedy would liven up the pioneer weekend and that's just what you'll hear in Pepin as we bring The Medicine Show Music Company to the Laura Days celebration on Sunday from 11:45 AM to 1:00 PM.

Bring the whole family September 15th 2013 and enjoy this blast from the past!


While you're here you'll want to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum. The museum is undergoing remodeling and features a new gift shop addition which should be all finished by Laura Days.

Visit their website at:  www.LauraIngallsPepin.com

News Blog

Click the headline to see the full post

  • Merry Christmas from the Birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder

    "Ma asked if they were sure the stockings were empty. They put their arms down inside them to make sure. And in the very toe of each stocking was a shining bright, new penny! They had never even thought of such a thing as having a penny. Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy and a penny. There had never been such a Christmas." – From Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House on the Prairie"

  • A cure-all for laziness—reading the Little House series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder

  • A really nice blog post from a Pepin visitor. It includes a letter from Laura, herself.

  • Mabel Tainter Theater Menomonie, Wisconsin Presents a Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas

  • 2012 Little Sisters singing Froggie Went A Courtin'

    Great pictures of the 'Little Sisters' at Laura Days 2012 singing Froggie Went A Courtin'. Yata Peinovich (left) is accompanying the girls on guitar. John Nelson (center) and Wilbur Orne (right) help out. The girls are age 5 to 7.

    Little Sisters 2012 

  • 11th-Annual Old Tyme Fiddle Contest Winners Announced

    The 22nd Annual Laura Days Festival in Pepin, Wisconsin was the scene of the 11th Annual Old Tyme Fiddle Contest on Saturday, September 8, 2012.

    Fiddle Contest Winners 

    Young Adult age 14 – 19
    5 participants
    Kelsey Erickson, age 16, Menomonie, WI (left front)

    Pee-Wee age 9 and under
    9 participants
    Penny Corbett, age 8, Stillwater, MN (middle front)

    Junior age 10 – 13
    15 participants
    Holly Reyner, age 13, Independence, IA (right front)

    Adult age 20 and older
    6 participants
    Mary Pat Kleven, St. Louis Park, MN (left rear)

    Trick and Fancy all ages
    5 participants
    Alita Weisgerber, St. Peter, MN (right rear)


    2012 Fiddle Contest Results

    Pee-Wee (age 9 and under) – 9 participants

    Penny Corbett, age 8, Stillwater, MN
    Chloe West, age 9, Lakeville, MN
    Karina Ostrom, age 9, Brook Park, MN
    Kailyn Walkos, age 8, Eau Claire, WI
    Lily Benedict, age 8, Burnsville, MN
    Maddisen Laren, age 7, Menomonie, WI

    Junior (age 10 – 13) – 15 participants

    Holly Reyner, age 13, Independence, IA
    Kayla Schuster, age 12, Lakeville, MN
    Liliana Goodwin, age 10, Bloomington, MN
    Abby Inlow, age 13, River Falls, WI
    Gretchen Kelly, age 11, Holmen, WI
    Jacob Charpentier, age 11, Oxford, WI

    Young Adult (age 14 – 19) – 5 participants

    Kelsey Erickson, age 16, Menomonie, WI
    Amanda Berthon, age 16, Montello, WI
    Tessa Gustum, age 18, New Auburn, WI

    Adult (age 20 and older) – 6 participants

    Mary Pat Kleven, St. Louis Park, MN
    Alita Weisgerber, St. Peter, MN
    Ralph Isaacson, Iron, MN
    Tanya Johnston, Wausau, WI

    Trick and Fancy (All ages) – 5 participants

    Alita Weisgerber, St. Peter, MN
    Penny Corbett, Stillwater, MN
    Kelsey Erickson, Menomonie, WI

    Thirty-five fiddlers from Wisconsin and Minnesota and one from Iowa competed in four age categories and all participants were eligible to compete in trick and fancy fiddling. Emcee for the festivities was Yata Peinovich and guitar accompanist was Tom Weisgerber. Sound system provided by “Community Mike” Murphy and PA operator was William O'Brien.

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Movie

    Here's a great post about the Laura Ingalls Wilder movie with links to the video trailers and DVD ordering info. 


  • A Potters Mission; Darrel "Chopper" Bowman Shares His at Laura Days 2012 Sunday Morning

    Darrel "Chopper" BowmanDarrel "Chopper" Bowman has been making functional stoneware pottery off and on for the last 30 years. He has always sought to make works that are both useful and beautiful.  "Useful and Beautiful" is also the theme of the message he will present beginning Sunday morning at 10:00 AM during this year's Laura Days. 

    Chopper will present God's word concerning the relationship between the Potter and the clay while making pots on a foot-powered potter's wheel.

    If you attended Arrowhead Bible Camp back in the day, you'll remember "Chopper" and want to stop by to say hi.

    Join Darrel on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/darrel.c.bowman

  • Storytelling Through Quilts

    Large and small quilts made by today's quilters demonstrate styles of the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Furthermore,  quilting designs of Wilder in the early 2000's are done by a Wisconsin quilter.   Speakers tell Laura stories that are associated with various quilt blocks.  

    Visitors can win prizes afterward by accurately matching the stories with the blocks.  Visitors are invited to sew 4" x 4" pieces of cloth into a quilt block for themselves.  

    Approximately 25 quilters, speakers, and workers make the show happen for visitors from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa and across the USA.  Quilting will be at Ingalls Cabin, seven miles north of Pepin, WI on County Road CC. 

    There is a shuttle bus available from the park to the wayside. The schedule is here.

  • Sarah S. Uthoff will be presenting a program on Laura Ingalls Wilder

    Packing Up: A Visit with Laura Ingalls Wilder

    Sarah UthoffReference Librarian and historical interpreter Sarah S. Uthoff will be presenting a program on Laura Ingalls WilderUon the main stage in the park during Laura Ingalls Wilder Days. Uthoff appears in character as Laura Ingalls Wilder and shares the story of her life.

    Come be transported back in time to 1894. Life hasn’t been easy for pioneer Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family. Since she married her Manly, they’ve tried to farm in South Dakota, Minnesota, and even Florida, but they’ve met problem after problem. Now having saved up a stake to start again in the land of the big, red apple, Mansfield, Missouri, Laura is packing up to leave De Smet for the last time. Each artifact in the old trunk holds a story and Laura will share them with you. Using slides she will show you the various places where Laura lived. Afterwards you can ask her those pressing questions that you’ve always wanted to know.

    Uthoff is a respected authority on Wilder’s life, her interest in Wilder began before she can remember and before anyone knew what was happening, she was “playing Laura,” visiting the Laura sites, and learning how to do the things Laura did around her family farm. In the words of one cousin, “Laura took over her life and everybody’s who knew her.” When Sarah grew up, she got her degree in history education, got actively involved with living history and historic foodways, and began to research the history around Laura Ingalls Wilder. Uthoff is a contributing editor to the Laura Ingalls Wilder newsletter “The Homesteader.” She is a much in demand Humanities Iowa speaker and also has spoken at several of the places Laura lived, in addition to being the annual keynote speaker at Laura Ingalls Wilder Remembered at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa. When Sarah grew up, she got her degree in history education, got actively involved with living history and historic foodways, and began to research the history around Laura Ingalls Wilder.

    Currently Uthoff is the Vice-President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association which puts on a national conference on Wilder. Uthoff is also host of the only podcast dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder (available for free online and through iTunes). Her latest project is searching out copies of letters written by Wilder to fans and press about it has appeared in many publications. One of the letters she located confirms that Laura visited Pepin as an adult with daughter Rose. To learn more about Uthoff, the quest for letters, visit www.trundlebedtales.com

    The show will be great for both children and adults and both are invited to wear period clothing! EVERYONE will enjoy the show more if they’ve read at least one of Wilder’s books.

    Sara's visit is sponsored by the Pepin, WI Public Library. 

    Visit them here: http://www.pepinpubliclibrary.org/

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