Oz in the News 6.3.13

article-2334437-1A19B444000005DC-114_964x478Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: The eerie abandoned Land of Oz theme park hidden at top of a North Carolina mountain  In the 1990s project Emerald Mountain was started by a group of kind-hearted volunteers who, with a little bit of the Cowardly Lion’s courage and the Scarecrow’s brains, have slowly restored the park. Weeds have been cleared from the Yellow Brick Road, the fountain and waterfall have been repaired and, proving that there really is no place like home, Dorothy’s house has been converted into a cosy cottage, which can be rented to holiday-makers. ‘Each summer we add something back to OZ. Sometimes it is original items returned to us from caring friends. One of my proudest moments was hauling back to OZ what I believe to be the very last balloon in existence,’ Cynthia Keller, who helps look after the park, said. Tourists are still welcome at the Land of Oz where they have the option of hiring a costume and going in search of the Emerald City. The park also holds a two-day festival each year, with a guided tour through the park, a picnic at the Kansas farmhouse and, for an additional $100, a whirlwind visit from Dorothy herself.

Oz-Stravaganza comes to an end  “I grew up on it and I love it. I moved here three years ago and I didn’t realize there was anything beyond the actual movie, and they got me in here three years ago, and they can’t get rid of me,” said Lise Yacco, Chittenango resident. “It keeps snowballing and every generation keeps falling in love with it all over again. I don’t think it is going to go away,” said John Fricke. To keep people coming back, next year, organizers want to break the world record for the most people wearing Wizard of Oz costumes in one location.

Tim Samaras’s Inspiration to Become a Storm Chaser: The Wizard of Oz  The deadly tornado that swept through Oklahoma Friday night – the second such disaster to strike the state in two weeks – claimed among its 13 victims three veteran storm chasers: Storm Chasers star Tim Samaras, 54, his son Paul Samaras, 24, and their colleague, Carl Young, 45.  Only last month, the elder Samaras spoke to the society’s namesake publication about his work, telling National Geographic that his interest in twisters began as a child, while watching the classic movie The Wizard of Oz, with its dramatic storm sequence.  At the time, he said, “[I] vowed to myself, ‘I’m going to see that tornado one day.’

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