Monday, July 29, 2013

American Outdoor Pageants

While in Amarillo, Texas for the celebration of my Aunt's 90th birthday party, I had the opportunity to attend a performance of Texas!  (The exclamation point is part of the show title.)

There is something unique yet strikingly similar about the outdoor pageants that take place every summer all over the United States.  They are part history, part hokey drama, part pure patriotism, with lots of singing and dancing.  There is often a love story between young people of two different factions.

Texas! is put on at the Pioneer Ampitheater in Palo Duro Canyon in a beautiful setting.  The action takes place from the stage to the clifftop above. Horses, lightning, fire and the six flags of Texas play important roles in the drama.  The two warring groups here are the farmers and the cowboys.

My love affair with outdoor drama started as a preteen, a time when forbidden love seems exciting and the denial of such love incredibly unfair.  I remember seeing Ramona, the official state play of California.  My clearest memory of the play is the scene directly after intermission when what seemed to be hundreds of Native Americans magically appeared on the cliffside to challenge their Mexican rivals. Dramatic indeed!

Then there is The Lost Colony, the longest running symphonic outdoor drama.  Although the play is about the first English colony of Roanoke in Virgina, to see it, you need to go to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  I don't remember it well, although I am sure there was singing, dancing, and a love story.

And there are at least two more outdoor dramas that I know about yet haven't seen.  The Wilhem Tell Pageant is performed in New Glarus, Wisconsin and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant in Walnut Grove, Minnesota.  Although I have missed both of these pageants' dates for summer 2013, I can put them on my calendar for summer 2014.

I am sure there are more outdoor dramas exist than I have listed here.  Do you know of any to put on my outdoor drama bucket list?


  1. WALK three times a week with the commitment you have dedicated to your blog. Start at ONE mile divided into three walks. Add a mile each week. Continue to eat the SAME amount that you normally currently eat. If you experience MAJOR pain, take two weeks off, subtract five miles and start over. When you reach eighteen miles, divided however you like over three days, enter a marathon and WALK it whenever it is scheduled, but continue your training until that time comes. If you succeed AND you have lost 25% of your current body weight AND you still want to run the 26 mile distance; then take two weeks off and start the whole regimen at mile one but always jogging for one minute and walking for two minutes. When you reach five miles, enter a 5k and jog it whenever it is scheduled. Take a week off and continue your regimen. When you reach 10 miles, enter a 10k. When you reach 18 miles, enter your marathon. The whole effort will have been a TREMENDOUS success whether you get through the jogging stage or not. Most bodies are not able to handle a lot of jogging. There is no quick way that you can safely jog a marathon. Keep us posted on your blog if you decide to commit to this extraordinary challenge.

  2. Found another outdoor drama - Unto These Hills - also in North Carolina, but quite a distance from the Outer Banks. It's in Cherokee, on the Oconaluftee River. The drama " ... traces the Cherokee people through the eons, through the zenith of their power, through the heartbreak of the Trail of Tears ..."

    Unto These Hills

  3. There are also the six annual Mormon pageants--all of which fulfill your description of "They are part history, part hokey drama, part pure patriotism, with lots of singing and dancing," with the added benefit of religious fervor. (Hill Cumorah is the longest running, Manti is the largest, Mesa has the most community support, Nauvoo is the most emotional, Clarkston and Castle Dale both feature down-home charm.) Check them out!