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home : columns : columns May 24, 2016

7/8/2014 3:59:00 PM
Big 'Reunion Weekend' coming
If you were a fan of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books or, more aptly, a fan of the 1970s TV show Little House on the Prairie, you will want to make Walnut Grove your stay-cation destination, July 25-27.
Friends of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum have a big weekend on tap with a Little House cast reunion planned.
Eleven former stars of the TV series will be in Walnut Grove that weekend for the reunion, which will include autograph sessions, special presentations and more. It's all part of the TV show's and museum's 40th anniversary event. Little House premiered on Sept. 11, 1974 and a month later, the Wilder Committee formed to start a Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Walnut Grove.
So, who's coming, you ask?
If you haven't heard by now, a couple of the big names are Alison Arngrim, who portrayed the unforgettable "Nellie Oleson" and Dean Butler, who portrayed "Almanzo Wilder," Laura's husband, in the show's later years.
Who else, you ask?
You'll no doubt remember Laura's little sister, "Carrie Ingalls." The part was played by twin sisters, Rachel Lindsay Greenbush and Sidney Robin Greenbush. The twins will be at the reunion.
Another unforgettable character in the show - and one for whom I had a mini-crush - was Miss Beadle, the Walnut Grove school teacher, played by Charlotte Stewart. She will be returning for the reunion, too.
Other actors from the show's nine-year run returning for the weekend include:
•  Lucy Lee Flippin, who played "Almanzo Wilder's" sister, "Eliza Jane Wilder" in the show's later years.
•  Hersha Parady, who played "Alice Garvey," the wife of Jonathan Garvey, who was protrayed by the late Merlin Olson. Olson's acting and broadcasting career was prefaced by a Hall of Fame career in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams.
•  Radames Pera, who portrayed "John (Sanderson) Edwards," the son of Mr. Edwards and a love interest of Mary Ingalls in the show's first three years. Pera is also known for his role as "Grasshopper" in the 1970s show, Kung Fu.
•  Twins Brenda Lea and Wendi Lou Turnbaugh, who shared the role of "Grace Ingalls," the youngest of the Ingalls sisters.
•  Dan McBride, who played "Henry Riley" also known as "the man in Nellie's Restaurant." He always seemed to have problems with the Oleson family, namely Harriet and Nellie. His recurring role on the series lasted for about five years.
Now, some of those not scheduled to return for the reunion include the show's star, Melissa Gilbert, "Laura Ingalls"; Melissa Sue Anderson, "Mary Ingalls"; Karen Grassle, "Caroline (Ma) Ingalls"; Katherine MacGregor, "Harriet Oleson"; Jonathan Gilbert, "Willie Oleson"; and Matthew Laborteaux, "Albert (Quinn) Ingalls," the Ingalls' adopted son.
Nevertheless, it's still quite a collection of stars from the show who will be together in Walnut Grove for the weekend.
If you're wondering (and in addition to Merlin Olson), those who have died since the TV series ended include: Michael Landon, "Charles (Pa) Ingalls"; Richard Bull, "Nels Oleson," who died in February; Victor French, "Mr. Edwards"; Kevin Hagen, "Dr. Baker"; and Dabbs Greer, "Rev. Alden."
Jeffers connection
in Wilder Pageant
If you happen to take in one of the performances of the annual Wilder Pageant in Walnut Grove presented weekends in July, you may want to take notice of the young lady portraying "Nellie Oleson."
She is 16-year-old Lauren Frommelt of Hopkins, the daughter of Brenda (Beukelman) and Mike Frommelt and the granddaughter of Dennis and Marlys Beukelman of Jeffers.
Since June 9, Lauren has been staying with her grandparents in Jeffers so she could be a part of the production.
Lauren has been accepted into the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley. She will be a junior at the school in the fall, studying theater.
Yoga for a Cure
Kris Luebbert, certified yoga instructor and owner of Sky Blue Yoga in Windom, led a group of supporters for the first annual Yoga for a Cure event in Sleepy Eye recently.
The group spent a morning doing yoga outdoors in the shade of the sunshine with hopes of raising money for The NephCure Foundation, an organization dedicated to researching and fighting chronic kidney disease.
The fund-raiser brought in a total of $500 for The NephCure Foundation.

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