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The Waltons cast members holding fan event in Portersville in October

This 1974 photo shows, from left, David Harper, as Jim-Bob Walton; Eric Scott, as Ben Walton; Michael Learned, as Olivia Walton; Kami Cotler, as Elizabeth Walton; Richard Thomas, as John Boy Walton; Mary McDonough, as Erin Walton; Judy Norton, as Mary Ellen Walton; Ralph Waite, as John Walton; Ellen Corby, as Ester “Grandma” Walton; Will Geer, as Zeb “Grandpa” Walton; Jon Walmsley, as Jason Walton, in the television show The Waltons. CBS Photo Archive via AP

Though “The Waltons” television series was canceled in 1981, the show maintains a cult following to this day. Many of those fans come out by the thousands each year to attend meet-and-greet events all over the country with the surviving cast members.

“While many of the actors grew up and moved onto other careers, the cast still feels like a family,” wrote Kami Cotler, who played Elizabeth Walton on the show.

This October, several surviving members of the cast will make the trip to Western Pennsylvania for a meet-and-greet event scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 4 through 6. The events will take place in Portersville, as well as in nearby Edinburg, Lawrence County.

Cast members confirmed to take part in the event are Mary McDonough (who played Erin Walton), Eric Scott (Ben Walton), Kami Cotler (Elizabeth Walton), Leslie Winston (Cindy Walton), and Tony Becker (Drew Cutler), though other cast members may be added to the list later.

Mary McDonough, left, who played Erin Walton on the 1970s TV series The Waltons, and Kami Cotler, who played Elizabeth, appear at a fan gathering for the show in Bon Aqua, Tenn. this May. Submitted photo.

According to Cotler, the location of the Waltons’ meet-and-greet this year was decided upon by the event’s producer, Gravel Road Markets.

“We enjoy spending time with each other and having the opportunity to visit new places,” Cotler said. “We know not all Waltons fans can travel to Los Angeles for fan conventions, so we work with our event producers, Gravel Road Markets, to visit different parts of the U.S. and make it easier for folks to join us.

“Not to mention, Western Pennsylvania in October will be beautiful”

The events will shift between Portersville and Edinburg throughout the three-day weekend, starting in Edinburg on Friday, Oct. 4 as the cast members have dinner with fans at the Gatherings Banquet Center at 7 p.m. The following day, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the cast will hold a meet-and-greet at the Cheeseman Farm Pumpkin Festival on Kennedy Road in Portersville.

A photo of the cast of the 1970s TV series The Waltons. Submitted photo

On Sunday, Oct. 6, at 9 a.m. the cast members will have breakfast with fans at the Gatherings Center in Edinburg before heading back to the Cheesman Farm for another meet-and-greet session.

Cotler says that approximately 3,000 fans attended a Waltons meet-and-greet last fall.

“What we say depends on the guests’ interests, but we often are often asked whether the close family ties were real. They were and are,” Cotler said. “We describe how the cast and crew became like a family, after spending hundreds of hours working so closely together. It’s been 50 years, and we are still like family.”

The show premiered on CBS on Dec. 19, 1971 with a television movie entitled “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story.” The movie drew such an audience that CBS eventually ordered a full season of “The Waltons,” which eventually became nine seasons and 221 episodes between 1972 and 1981. After the show was canceled, it spawned six made-for-TV movies between 1982 and 1997.

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