Events and Tours

Check here for all of the latest History Alive Lanesboro events!

Events 2024

History Alive Lanesboro proudly announces regular Lanesboro history tours for summer Saturdays 2024!

Walking in their Footsteps,  a Guided History Town Tour 

Brand new! 

History Alive Lanesboro has plenty of fun true tales to tell! Some guides will portray a surprise  character! Tour scripts written by Jane Skinner Peck. Our tours occur weekly, Saturdays only, and begin June 1 at 11 am and also 5 pm. Tours will leave from Stone Mill Suites, across from Sylvan Brewery, and last about 45 minutes. Cost is  $10 for adults and free for accompanied minors (under 18 yrs.)  Tickets are available in advance (recommended) below!  We do have a maximum tour size.  Walk-in registration is cash only. Bring your umbrella for sun or rain and walking shoes.  

Past Events 2023

March - "Pop-up Plays: Feelin’ Groovy 1969”

Cancelled abruptly on behest of HAL's Board

April 6th - Movies and Stories from Pop-up Plays WW 2

An opportunity to again enjoy some of the favorite pop-up plays by HAL featuring Lanesboro during World War 2.

June to December - On Hiatus

Thanks for your patience as we work with our new board to realign, reorganize and refocus on HAL's mission.

Past Events - 2022

March 30 - “Honoring Elders” - A Celebration

Eleanor Davidson and Bertram Boyum and the actors who portrayed them in the fall History Alive! show 'Lanesboro WW II ‘ will be honored. Their dual portraits from our videos will be awarded to them.

May 8 - Sunday Best- Fashion Show

A Mother’s Day history fashion show with voice and piano accompaniment. A partnership between History Alive and Lanesboro History Museum.

May 29 -"Censors, Swimsuits, and Scandal” - Presentation

A presentation based on a new book by Ted St. Mane .

June 25 -  Ladies' Business- Short Play

A short play version of Henrietta Turner’s Dress Shop from “Founding Lanesboro”. It features Henrietta Turner, her students, as well as Harriet Stevens, an abolitionist of Rushford, and Sarah Stearns, the first suffragist of Rochester, and a few early Forestville residents. 

September 17,18,24,25 - “Pop-up Plays Lanesboro 1935:  Roma, Norskies and Bumtown”

History Alive Lanesboro, takes you into the world of 1935 in a small town in SE MN.  Experience a local Roma or gypsy camp (from an elder’s memories) and watch a revived local Norwegian play and drill team from 1935. Meet local ‘character’ Cyclone Johnson as well as Cecil Ward- local journalist, and movie projectionist! Area farmers, CCC workers, and hobos portray the Great Depression. Experience a President’s Birthday Ball with live band! These scenes are filled with a variety of live music and costumes of the era. True stories.

Funding by Lanesboro Community Foundation, Heidi and Phi Dybing, and Southeast MN Arts Council with Legacy Funds from Minnesota Legislature.

Past Events - 2021

August 15 - Courageous Compassion: Garden of the Righteous

Stories of daring WW II rescues of Jewish people told  by Judith Eisner and Caren Stelson with live Yiddish music for violin by musician Judith Eisner.

September 18,19,25,26 - Pop-up Plays: Lanesboro WW2 and Beyond

2021 Pop-up Plays feature fascinating local World War II veterans’ tales! After months of oral interviews by playwright Jane Peck brings to the stage local accounts of soldiers in D Day,  German prison camp,  the Norwegian Resistance,  Pacific Theater battles, and farmers growing food for Europe.


The show is packed with 1940’s life:  the Hormel Girls, vintage cars, the first sci-fi hero Buck Rogers, Andrews Sisters music , a swing band, and a past  visit by Norwegian royalty is recreated! 

Area veterans Orval Amdahl, Don Ward, Bob Earley, Dr. Westrup, Paul Abrahamson, Ruby Nelson, Signe Soma will come to life again with Grace Obata, Japanese nurse from Rochester.

The scenes are staged across our historic town, with audience led by costumed characters. Show has 36 performers and 7 scenes. We will follow CDC orders about masking indoors. There are 3 indoor scenes and 4 outdoor scenes.

This activity made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council and a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. And by Lanesboro Area Community Foundation.

Past Events - 2020

February - Votes for Women! Rally 1920- A Touring Show

Feel the passion of early feminists! Meet some key Minnesota suffragists and be part of their rally through the crowd, if you choose! Hear of the arrest and hunger strike by firebrand Swedish–Minnesotan Berthe Moller!  Leaders Nanny Mattson Jaeger (also Swedish-Minnesotan)  and Clara Ueland (Norwegian–Minnesotan) move the crowd with descriptions of the long struggle.  Nellie Griswold Francis (African-Minnesotan) tells of her leadership with the Rondo community  in St. Paul. Learn a short suffrage song!

To commemorate the centennial of women's suffrage in the United States, this short play featuring prominent Minnesota women suffragists toured to Winona State University, Austin High School, League of Women Voters, MN Capitol Suffrage Day, and the American Swedish Institute. 

Future engagements were cancelled due to pandemic restrictions.

March - “Votes for Women! Rally 1920” - Video Production

A full video recording of the short play was filmed at Winona State. The video was later included in an exhibit on women’s suffrage at Landmark Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Past Events - 2019

April 28 - Ancient Mysteries along the Root River- A Lecture

Archaeologist Tom Trow's slide show and account of his explorations on early Native American life in our region thousands of years ago. 

May 26 - Underground Railroad in Southeast MN- A Lecture

History researcher Laura Deering of Rushford, MN will provide a slide show and account of her discoveries about the Underground Railroad in Southeast Minnesota with  music by Sister Luv vocal group.

September 21,22,28,28 - “Pop-up Plays: Founding Lanesboro 1869

This show is in honor of the 150th anniversary of Lanesboro and other Minnesota towns experiencing their own 150th  birthdays. A brass band, a stagecoach, a zany traveling “medicine” show, and a mini-Wild West scene with Buffalo Bill will fill the streets and Sons of Norway of Lanesboro the last weekends of September! 

1869 was a time when many small towns in Minnesota were beginning.  Audiences will meet some of the people  that Midwestern  towns of 1869 share:  immigrant farm families like the Knutson Belles, displaced Native Americans like the Winneshiek family, land investors like James Thompson, Civil War veterans like B. A. Man, visiting speakers  like Frederick Douglass  and visiting snake oil charlatans from Chicago!

Dakota and Hochunk communities had been banished from Minnesota by 1869  (but not from this show!)

Telling this story will involve over 40 actors, musicians, and dancers  and countless behind-the scene-volunteers. We will be joined by visiting Native-American actors Larry Yazzie and Sean Soukkala as well as excellent fiddlers and a banjo player.

This activity made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council and a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. And by Lanesboro Area Community Foundation.

Past Events - 2018

March 19 - Lanesboro Ted Talks for History Alive - Event

A talk by Theo St. Mane on Lanesboro town history.

May 20 - It's the Dam Party!- A Celebration

A party to commemorate the construction of Lanesboro Dam 150 years ago.

May 27 - “Laff Your Bluffs Off Comedy Night” - Event

A comedy show by John DeBoer.

September 17,18,24,25 -Pop-up Plays: Lanesboro 1918

Ragtime music, a vaudeville  show complete with Charlie Chaplin, a suffrage parade with visiting suffrage leaders and World War One  soldiers and nurses  will all fill the streets and Legion of Lanesboro the last weekends of September. 

The world of 1918 was both very different but also very similar to ours. In order to tell this story 45 performers are involved with 25 volunteers. With a focus on the Lanesboro region, the soldiers and nurses included in the plays are: Ole Hareldson, Oscar Johnson, Henry Hoff, Luther Nelson, Irwin Ellestad, Father Devlin, Josephine Brown, Minnie Quanrud, Anna Boyum, and Dr. Lommen. All area towns had very active Red Cross units supporting the men and the hospitals, so their stories are included as well. 

Local family ancestors represented this year included the Browns, the Hareldsons, the Davidsons, the Hoffs,  Ellestads, the Spandes, Langlies,  Habberstads, Lommens with non military  characters  Gilbert  Ellestad, Father Devlin,  Ole Habberstad, Mrs. Leslie Spande, Mrs. Albert Langlie,  Palmer Gullickson, Rudy Elstad , and key woman suffrage figures from the Twin Cities. Ragtime music and vaudeville acts include St. Paul ragtime pianist Gail Olszewski, local singers, Beth Hennessy, Sara Kling-Punt, Todd Juwziak  and victrola, as well as the CBB Jazz Band of Chatfield, and singer Rachel Storlie .  Jane Peck has choreographed dancing of the era by children and adults. All ends with a victory parade to welcome the soldiers, and a memorial to them.

With funding by many local donors and the Lanesboro Community Foundation.

Past Events - 2017

May 30,31 -Tour of Lanesboro with Pop-Up Plays

More true stories of Lanesboro will be enacted in authentic locations the FREE 1 and half hour walking tours begin at Sons of Norway, 108 Parkway Ave. South, Lanesboro MN, then continue for four blocks. 

The History Alive! cast with Director Jane Peck have really pulled out the stops this time! With a focus on 1930s true events in Lanesboro, the mini-plays include a gypsy camp, FDR President’s Birthday Ball, vintage cars, Sons of Norway 1936 Midwest Convention, Civilian Conservation Corps boys, and a hobo camp. Featuring live music by singer-guitarist Bob Bovee as well as the CBB Jazz Band (as Jack Joker and the Aces) with plenty of dancing, things will be lively!

This activity made possible by the voters of MN through a grant from the SE MN Arts Council and a legislative appropriation from the Arts and  Cultural Heritage Fund.

Past Events - 2016

May 30, 31 - “History Alive! 1930s Lanesboro with Pop-up Plays”

Historic stories and characters will once again fill the streets of Lanesboro.  Creator and director Jane Peck has written a brand-new version of the popular Pop-up Plays for the weekend:  History Alive! 1930s Lanesboro with Pop-up Plays.  

Last year’s tour plays brought over 250 people to this lovely historic town. This brand new set of plays with music and dance will feature Civilian Conservation Corps stories, 1930s radio enactments, and a dance marathon by 27 area actors and musicians. 

Creator Jane Peck has gathered the stories through interviews with area residents who  remember 1930s Lanesboro and the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp. Several of the interviews were recorded by John Gaddo and will be in the Lanesboro Museum collection.

Sponsored and produced by the Lanesboro History Museum and made possible by a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Fund.

September 26, 27-History Alive! 1930s Lanesboro with Pop-up Plays

A second run of the show that debuted in May!

December 20 - Incorporation as a Nonprofit in Minnesota

History Alive! becomes a nonprofit 501.c.3 business with a board of directors. 

Past Events - 2015

May 30, 31 - Tour of Lanesboro with Pop-up Plays” 

Come if you can to our lovely town full of historic buildings, which become the stage for the 3 musical plays I wrote and now direct. With 27 characters in 3 eras, there’s something for everyone! It’s very much a community effort.   Happy summer!

September -The People Behind the Characters- An Exhibit

The Lanesboro Museum and Jane Peck are offering an exhibit, featuring the bios and photos of each of the 25 actual people portrayed by our cast in this summer's "Tour of Lanesboro with Pop-up Plays". The exhibit gives a closer look at these former residents, as well as the process of writing a script. 

September 26, 27 - “Tour of Lanesboro with Pop-up Plays”

A second run of the show that debuted in May!