Category Archives: Oz Events

Oz in the News 6.16.18

Reception takes art gallery guests over the rainbow Vocalist Chelsea Low sang the wistful lyrics of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as guests explored “The Wizard of Oz,” a new interactive exhibit at The Frank art gallery in Pembroke Pines. Created by Miami Children’s Museum and licensed by Warner Bros. Consumer Products, the exhibition opened on Thursday, June 7. Reception visitors embarked on a multi-sensory experience as they traveled from the Gale Farm along the Yellow Brick Road to the colorful Land of Oz and explored Munchkinland, the Crossroads, the Witch’s Castle and the Emerald City. The Frank’s Chief Curator Joshua Carden combined the exhibition with contemporary artwork by Jason Aponte, Franklin Gonzalez, Gabriele Gutwirth, Aaron Miller, Brian Reedy and Santiago Rubino. “Any chance we get to invite the community in to experience art in a new way is always a victory for us,” Carden said. “The Wizard of Oz” is on display through August 18. Admission is $5. The gallery will also host related workshops, lectures and events throughout the summer. For more information, visit

Tavares’ Wizard of Oz Train Ride brings old favorite to life “This has been a wonderful experience overall and certainly telling the story has been a dream come true. I must have seen this move hundreds of times as a child,” said Katherine Riley from Celebration, who plays Dorothy. “It’s just amazing to know that this is a classic story, it’s a classic film and there are so many generations that we have found connecting to it.” Clermont’s Bob Wright, who plays the Wizard, said, “It has been just a really terrific experience for me. I get to work with a lot of extremely talented young people and then, I get to interact with the guests on the train as well as in the Emerald City and that s so much fun. It is just awesome. The people seem to love it.”


Oz in the News 6.9.18

A ‘Wizard of Oz’ train opens in Central Florida this weekend The Wizard of Oz Train Ride will finally be making its stop on the Orlando and Northwestern Railway in Tavares tomorrow. From June 8 to June 24, guests will board in Munchkinland and ride along the Yellow Brick Road with Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion as they try to vanquish the notorious Wicked Witch of the West. When the train reaches its destination of Emerald City, guests will have the chance to meet the Great and Powerful Oz himself at a live stage show.

Oz in the News 6.7.18

Hoosier Lottery releases ‘The Wizard of Oz’ scratch-off The Hoosier Lottery announced the special release of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ scratch-offs available in retailers Tuesday. The $2 ticket gives ‘The Wizard of Oz’ fans the chance to instantly win up to $20,000 and comes printed in six different iconic scenes for fans to collect. The ‘Wizard of Oz’ ticket estimated overall odds are 1 in 4.47. 2nd Chance promotion odds are dependent upon the number of entries received.

Follow the yellow brick road to this Oz theme park open just a few days a year Fans of The Wizard of Oz look no further than Beech Mountain, North Carolina, to make lollipop guild dreams come true. Located in the Appalachian Mountains, the Land of Oz theme park is only open a few days each year — Fridays in June and for a short festival each autumn. Visitors become part of the story. Guests are picked at random to play the Scarecrow, TinMan, Lion, and Witches opposite of Dorothy on a guided tour of Oz as they travel down the Yellow Brick Road on the “Journey With Dorothy” that occurs on Fridays in June. Miss Gulch and the Wizard also make an appearance. Autumn at Oz takes place September 7-9 this year. In it’s 25th year, the festival celebrates all things Oz where guests can follow the Yellow Brick Road and meet all of their favorite characters, including the Scarecrow, TinMan and Lion, as well as Munchkins, Flying Monkeys — and Toto, too!

Oz in the News 6.5.18

Village celebrates its 41st “Oz-Stravaganza” celebration From the yellow brick road to the main streets of Chittenango, there really was no better place than home for Wizard of Oz enthusiasts this weekend when the village held its 41st “Oz-Stravaganza.” The village celebrated the longest running and largest “Wizard of Oz”-themed festival from June 1 to 3, painting the town yellow with many costumed Dorothys and Glindas, “Wizard of Oz” historians, authors, Broadway stars and many Chittenango citizens and students marching through the village streets on Saturday afternoon. First held in 1978 by Librarian Clara Houck to honor L. Frank Baum, the author of “The Wizard of Oz,” and his birthplace, the event has since grown from a parking lot party to a multi-day celebration run by the International L. Frank Baum and All Things Oz Historical Foundation. The celebration featured live music, from BeatleCuse to the Chittenango Select Choir, costume contests, festival food, rides, games, fireworks and a museum dedicated to All Things Oz. Gita Dorothy Morena, the great granddaughter of L. Frank Baum, was the celebration’s grand marshal for the third year in a row.

On top of a sheet metal business in Juneau stand nearly a dozen charming Wizard of Oz statues On the roof of Reliable Sheet Metal along Glacier Highway stand colorful sculptures of Toto, Dorothy, a flying monkey, the Wicked Witch of the West, Munchkins, Glenda the Good Witch, the Wizard of Oz himself (along with the giant green head), and even the windblown farmhouse and the yellow brick road. The unusual tableau started with the Tin Man, just about the most famous all-metal fictional character there is. The local story goes that employees at the sheet metal company were bored one day and created the Tin Man—out of actual tin—just for fun, positioning the figure on top of the roof. The statue became so beloved, workers made the rest of the characters to join him.

Oz in the News 6.4.18

Michigan Wizard of Oz festival will be June 8-9 A tribute to the world created by author L. Frank Baum, the fifth annual Wizard of Oz Festival kicks off June 8 at the Ionia Free Fair grounds. Favorite characters from the L. Frank Baum books and the 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” will greet families at the Michigan Wizard of Oz Festival, set for June 8-9 at the Ionia Free Fair grounds. The two-day, family-friendly event will amuse, educate and entertain fans of all ages from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There’s both a change in name and in venue for this year’s celebration of the Emerald City, said Ionia Downtown Development Authority Director Linda Curtis, who brought the festival to the city. The addition of “Michigan” to the event’s title is a hat tip to the fact that it’s the only such festival in the state. Recognized as one of the Top Ten Michigan Small Town Festivals to Visit in 2017, it’s now on the national Oz festival circuit as well. “We’re starting to get some great national attention because of the way we’re growing, so that’s wonderful, too,” said Curtis, noting that visitors come from across the Midwest, Texas, Florida, New York, North Carolina and Georgia. “I think it’s because there are only a few Wizard of Oz festivals, and they really enjoy it.”

Review: book explores witches in film, TV from Oz to Sabrina Almost four decades after the Wicked Witch of the West plagued Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, the green-skinned, bushy-browed one lost her broom on, of all places, Sesame Street. Actress Margaret Hamilton reprised her famous role in an episode of the children’s TV series that aired on Feb. 10, 1976, writes Heather Greene in her new book Bell, Book and Camera: a Critical History of Witches in American Film and Television (McFarland, April 2018, 234 p). “With the exception of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, the inhabitants of Sesame Street are visibly frightened of Hamilton’s character,” Greene writes. The Wicked Witch also scared the hades out of young viewers, just as she had done for decades since the release of Oz in 1939. Parents flooded the producers of Sesame Street with letters complaining that the episode was too scary for young children, and the “now infamous” segment “has not been released to the public in any form since that point,” Greene writes.


Oz in the News 6.3.18

Photos: Oz-Stravaganza transforms Chittenango Hundreds of people flocked to the Village of Chittenango for Oz-Stravaganza on Saturday, June 2, 2018.

Oz in the News 6.1.18

The Wizard of Oz Festival returns to Ionia Residents of Ionia will be able to follow the yellow brick road once again at this year’s Ionia Wizard of Oz festival. Join the characters of the Wizard of Oz and other fans from 10 a.m–6 p.m. on Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9, to meet two celebrity guests and Ralph Zellem, owner of the world’s largest Wizard of Oz memorabilia collection. Festivalgoers can also meet six renowned authors of Wizard of Oz related books, including authors James and Amanda Wallace and Ron Baxley at book signings held at the Floral Building. Fans can have tea with Glinda the Good Witch at the Princess Tea party on the Floral Building veranda and visit the Wicked Witch and her soldiers as they walk down the street. Just like in 1939, when the movie first premiered, tickets to watch the movie will cost 25 cents per ticket at the Ionia Theater. Other fun activities include a costume contest with the Wizard of Oz cast, a witch-cackling contest and a Cowardly Lion makeover before he receives his crown and cape. Starting at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, two speakers will be talking about their Wizard of Oz items like Oz-themed jewelry and the history of Oz books. New this year is the Footbridge Walk with the Wicked Witch and her Winkie Soldiers.

Explore Oz Park, Chicago’s ‘Wizard of Oz’-themed park Did you know Chicago has a “Wizard of Oz”-themed park? Author L. Frank Baum wrote the children’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in 1900 while he was living in Chicago. More than a century later, Oz Park in the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood pays tribute to the magical world he created. Statues of Dorothy and Toto, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow preside over their own corners of the park. Visitors can also explore “The Emerald Garden” and “Dorothy’s Playlot,” named for Baum’s character and Dorothy Melamerson, a retired local school teacher who helped pay for park improvements. The park is open to the public from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 2021 North Burling Street.