By Roz Weis,
Burr Oak’s 2023 Laura Days celebration is Friday-Sunday, June 23-25, and this year’s festivities promise something for all ages.
Lynn Urban of Racine, Wis., is this year’s guest “schoolmarm” with two presentations titled “Time for School!” on Saturday.
Urban has been researching Laura Ingalls Wilder for more than 30 years. She has given programs on Laura, her life and writings at numerous schools, libraries, churches and historical sites throughout the Midwest. She has volunteered in Burr Oak and Pepin for their Laura Days celebrations. She has also given presentations at the Old World Wisconsin Laura Days event.
The guest speaker has served on the board of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association, and has traveled to the homesites numerous times. Urban has an elementary education degree, and has served as schoolmarm and coordinator for the Racine Heritage Museum’s 1888 Schoolhouse. She lives in Racine with her husband John and has two adult children David and Julie (Scott).
The Burr Oak Laura Days celebration commemorates the time author Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family resided in the northeast Iowa village. The Ingalls family traveled to Burr Oak back in 1876 to help manage the Masters Hotel. The hotel is now a museum, and it is the only childhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder remaining on its original site.
A full slate of activities is planned for this year’s celebration. Venues include the park and museum grounds and Barney’s Bar & Grill in Burr Oak.
Entertainment by the Buck Hollow Band is planned Friday, June 23, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Saturday’s special events include a smoke-off cooking contest, with judging from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tours of the Masters Hotel will be available every half hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A large food tent will be set up, serving brats, hot dogs, walking tacos, pie, drinks and more, starting at 10 a.m. The grand parade down 236th Avenue is scheduled at noon (rain date will be Sunday for the parade). Lynn Urban will present “Time for School!” at 12:30 p.m., and again at 2 p.m., at the schoolhouse. Children’s pioneer games, rendezvous craft demonstrations and hands-on activities will be offered behind the hotel from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
The popular pie auction is planned under the main tent at 1:30 p.m., followed by
announcement of coloring contest winner and smoke-off contest winners. Kids’ waterball is scheduled at 3 p.m. A bean bag tournament also will commence at 3 p.m. Entertainment by JR Brink Band from 7 to 11 p.m.
Sunday’s activities include coffee and donuts at the food tent at 9:30 a.m. A gospel music service is in the main tent with GrassRun Band and Pastor David Werges from 10 to 11 a.m. The annual raffle drawing is scheduled at 11 a.m.
(tickets may be purchased at the museum or by contacting museum board members prior to the Laura Days celebration). Tours of the hotel will be offered from noon to 3 p.m.
The Museum Gift Shop and Visitor Center will be open from noon to 4 p.m. throughout the weekend. Rain location for many of the events is the Burr Oak Lutheran Church.