SISTERS AND FRIENDS — Callie Highby (left) and Tara Roberts have forged a strong friendship thanks to their work with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant. They debuted as sisters in their first pageant seven years ago. (Photos courtesy Dianne Raymond)

The story of Laura Ingalls Wilder bridges generations and brings people from all over the world together. The annual pageant in Walnut Grove on the banks of Plum Creek has done the same, and there’s no better example than Tara Roberts and Callie Highby.
The two young girls — one from Tracy, one from Lamberton — met in 2011 as cast members. This year, they are performing in their seventh pageant together.
“Callie was my sister my first year in the pageant,” Tara said. “We became good friends and we continue to be friends, and we even do things together once pageant is over.”
Callie took it a step further.
“We have been best friends since the first year we saw each other and it started to become more than friends, but in our hearts, sisters,” she said.
Two years separate the girls. Tara will be a freshman at Tracy Area High School this fall, while Callie will be going into the seventh grade at Red Rock Central.
Tara was 8 years old for that first pageant in 2011 and didn’t have any speaking parts, but she remembers how much fun she had being a part of the production.

“It’s always fun to perform, and it’s a great feeling when the crowd loves it,” she said. “I have performed in community plays and school plays; it’s always sad when it is over, as you don’t always see the new friends you make once its over.”
Callie, who said her close friend is an “amazing person,” calls acting in the annual event a fun experience and likes to see people’s faces light up when they see the show. And she’s far beyond the point of being nervous.

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.