Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Minnesotans, along with much of the rest of the world, have come to know "A Prairie Home Companion," along with its "Mr. Minnesota" host Garrison Keillor, on National Public Radio over the past 40 years.
"Garrison Keillor, for a lot of people, is a household [name]. And some people arrange their schedules on Saturday so they can listen to the show."
From its humble beginnings on July 6th, 1974, at the Janet Wallace Auditorium at Macalester College, the radio variety show has grown to a weekly audience of 4 million listeners on more than 600 public radio stations.
Even President Obama is no stranger to the character of Guy Noir, The Guys All–Star Shoe Band, and the latest News from Lake Wobegon.
"Y'know, I've been wanting to visit a place where all the women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children are above average, said Obama during last Friday's visit in Minneapolis, "and this clearly is an example of what Minnesota produces."
To celebrate the show's 40th anniversary, Duluth is joining communities across the state in becoming Lake Wobegon, Keillor's fictional home town featured in every broadcast, for the weekend.
Mayor Don Ness says the show has become a part of Minnesota's heritage.
"My wife and I are huge Garrison Keillor fans. We listen to the show on a regular basis, when he comes to Duluth we try to catch those shows," smiled Ness as he spoke from his city hall office, "and 40 years is a huge milestone," he added, noting that this year is his 40th birthday, and that he was an infant at the conception of A Prairie Home Companion.
Now in 2014 the show is showing no signs of slowing, with a major anniversary festival in St. Paul throughout the weekend.
To follow along with the 40th anniversary celebrations of A Prairie Home Companion: