By Roz Weis,
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum recently announced candidates for the Little Miss Laura Pageant in conjunction with the upcoming Laura Days in Burr Oak.
This year’s celebration is June 25 and 26. Activities include a Wilder 5K run and kids’ 1-mile run on Friday; many activities on Saturday including a 50/50 raffle, tours of the Masters Hotel every half hour; food tents, a petting zoo, children’s pioneer games, craft demonstrations, sack races, butter-making, three-legged races, wagon rides, used books and sheet music sale, pie auction, coloring contest, skillet toss, rubber chicken toss, checkers tournament, live music, a bean bag tournament and entertainment during the weekend provided by Bruce Bearinger, the Freeport Social Club and DJ Dewy.
The annual parade down
236th Avenue in Burr Oak (north to south) is scheduled at noon Saturday.
The 2021 Little Miss Laura candidates include the following:
• Autumn Wagner, daughter of Cody and Jamie Wagner of Decorah. She is 10 years old, and will be in fifth grade in the fall.
• Gwenyth Rein, daughter of Jeff and Ashley Rein of Mabel, Minn. She is 9 years old, and will be entering fourth grade in the fall.
• Hazel Steege, daughter of Dave and Stephenie Steege of Waverly. She is 11 years old, and will be entering fifth grade in the fall.
A 1 p.m. Saturday program will feature the Volunteer of the Year recognition, and announcement of the 2021 Little Miss Laura.
When noted author Laura Ingalls Wilder was nine years old, back in 1876, the Ingalls family left Walnut Grove in Minnesota after suffering through two years of a grasshopper plague. They traveled to Burr Oak to help manage the Masters Hotel. The original hotel was built by Samuel Belding in 1851. The Masters Hotel was later owned by an Ingalls family friend, William Steadman.
Burr Oak’s Masters Hotel (named for another former owner William Masters) is the only childhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder remaining on its original site. It is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. The time in Burr Oak is mentioned in “The Missing Link” in the Little House on the Prairie” book series, penned by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
In 1973, the hotel was purchased by four area residents, with the dream of restoring it and opening it as a Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum. After many years of fundraising, donations and grant-writing, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Park & Museum opened to the public in June of 1976. More than 6,000 visitors each year visit the museum and visitors center, from all 50 states and throughout the world. For more detailed visitor information, visit the website: lauraingallswilder.us.