Oz in the News 4.8.16

e071949675936ac6eb4136a5bfa60124North Carolina’s Abandoned ‘Wizard of Oz’ Theme Park Will Haunt You  Written as a novel by L. Frank Baum in 1900, the Wizard of Oz became an acclaimed Technicolor film in 1939. The success of that film led to the exploration of prequels and sequels desperately seeking the fame and recognition that the orignal musical film garnered. Perhaps the boldest iteration was the recreation of the Land of Oz as a theme park in North Carolina’s Beech Mountains. The park was a tremendous attraction for Wizard of Oz lovers, but it closed just ten years after it opened, after project developers fell into bankruptcy. It has since become a grim artifact where nature is aggressively reclaiming Oz. Photographer Johnny Joo visited the site and photographed the ruins, full of wild roots and thick fog. His eerie portraits capture a magical place that has gradually become the perfect setting for your worst nightmares.

Clarksville hopes to set world record at ‘Day in Oz’ event Aug. 27  Jackson Bishop is counting the hours until Aug. 27. He’s also praying for good weather. Bishop is planning a party that he hopes will attract worldwide attention to the 442-population city of Clarksville, Mo. Bishop, the marketing director for the Clarksville Community Chamber of Commerce, is organizing the second Day in Oz Festival, a family event celebrating the nation’s ongoing affection for the 1939 classic movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” Bishop hastily put together Clarksville’s inaugural Day in Oz Festival last year. He had just five weeks for planning and implementation, but it still drew more than 3,000 people and earned high praise from visitors. Bishop is planning a bigger and better festival for Aug. 27. He also hopes Clarksville can set a world record in the process by having the largest gathering of people dressed as Wizard of Oz characters. He decided to try to make the 2016 festival even grander by bringing in a larger Spirit of Oz troupe and scheduling more attractions, including the world-record attempt, slated for 2 p.m. at the city’s downtown square.
In addition to rehiring the Spirit of Oz troupe, organizers also are bringing back an old-fashioned marionette puppet show with hand-carved Wizard of Oz characters. “Their presentation last year was awesome,” he said.

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