The Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant Gives People a Blast into the Past

Last Updated by Nate Wek on
South Dakota Department of Tourism

The Theater on the Prairie near De Smet, South Dakota continues their performance of “By the Shores of Lake Silver." Since 1951, people have flocked to De Smet for the annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant. This one-of-a-kind event brings back the stories of living life on the prarie. 

There will be performances this weekend and next weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) during the evenings.

Pageant Photo 3.jpg

Here's a little history about the pageant, via desmetpageant.org

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.

Pageant Photo 2.jpg

Each show starts at 8 pm CT, but the doors open at 6 pm CT. General Admission is $12 for adults, and $8 for children 6-12. Admission for anyone younger than 6-years old is free.

People attending the pageant this year are encouraged to dress appropriately, because it can get cool at night. For more information on the pageant, click here.

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