Frequently Asked Questions
What is LauraPalooza?
LauraPalooza is the only academic and fan gathering of its kind, celebrating the literary, historical, and cultural impact of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, and their families. It was first held in 2010 in Mankato, Minnesota, where it won the Greater Mankato Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Bring It Home Award. It returned to Mankato in 2012. The third LauraPalooza conference, was held July 16-17, 2015 at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. Beginning in 2017, we made the decision to host the conference at a hotel and conference center, in order that we might have access to a wider range of amenities and event facilities.
The next LauraPalooza conference will be held in 2022.
Who else does conferences like this?
Nobody. That’s why we started it.
Who runs the conference?
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association and its volunteers. For LauraPalooza 2019, co-chairs are Karen Pearce and Melanie Stringer.
Is the conference always in the same place?
No. The first two (2010, 2012) were in Mankato, Minnesota, and the third (2015) moved to Brookings, South Dakota. The fourth (2017) was in Springfield, Missouri, and the last conference was held 7-10 July 2019 in Onalaska, Wisconsin.
How many people attend LauraPalooza? How many speakers and presenters?
Generally, we plan for about 150 attendees. Our programming typically features a keynote speaker and several invited guests, as well as a selection of about 20 presenters who offer a wide range of academic talks, panels, workshops, and other activities.
How often does LauraPalooza happen?
There was a three-year gap between the second and third conferences, but from now on it will happen every two years.
What’s with that weird name?
The conference combines academic and research-oriented topics with hands-on activities and sociable. “LauraPalooza” captures the festive atmosphere of this group of scholars and enthusiasts.
Get the latest 2022 LauraPalooza Updates!
July 11-14, 2017
Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy Award was presented to Jean Coday. Featured guests included LIW biographer William Anderson leading panels of citizens and acquaintances of the Wilder family in Mansfield, Libertarians on the Prairie author Christine Woodside, Pioneer Girl editor Pamela Smith Hill, Library of America collection editor and 2018 Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Prairie Fires Caroline Fraser, horticulturalist author Marta McDowell, and several recurring fan favorites. The conference concluded with a guided tour of sites around Mansfield, MO and a birthday celebration at the Laura Ingalls Wilder-Rose Wilder Lane Historic Homes, better known as Rocky Ridge Farm.
July 16-17, 2015
Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy Award presented to biographer John Miller of Brookings, South Dakota, and Sally House of New York. Featured guests included LIW biographer William Anderson, Pioneer Girleditor Pamela Smith Hill, author Melanie Fishbane, Dr. Beth Tarini, Japanese translator Yumiko Tamiguchi, and a lively panel that included author Erin Blakemore, author Sandra Hume, and Eddie Higgins. The conference concluded with a guided tour of sites around De Smet, South Dakota.
July 12-14, 2012
Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy Award presented to Barbara Walker and Shirley Knakmuhs. Featured guests included LIW biographer William Anderson, Alison “Nellie Oleson” Arngrim, The Wilder Life author Wendy McClure, Dean “Almanzo Wilder” Butler, and Dale Cockrell of Pa’s Fiddle Recordings.
July 15-17, 2010
Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy Award presented to LIW biographer William Anderson. Featured guests included Anderson, Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little Town author John Miller, Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life author Pamela Smith Hill, best-selling novelist Wendy Corsi Staub, and Dean “Almanzo Wilder” Butler and his documentary, Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura.