Everyone who knows me has watched my Wizard of Oz collection grow by leaps and bounds the last few years. I collect anything and everything related to this classic movie and then some. With a name like Dorothy, how can one NOT collect such things?!
The other day it was announced that the Wizard of Oz Festival held each year in Valparaiso, Indiana (formerly held in Chesterton), had seen its demise. Throwing out the bathwater with the baby, so to speak, was the closing of The Yellow Brick Road Shop, opened by Jean Nelson (who also founded the festival), presently owned by Marilyn Zengler. I cannot tell you how sad this has made Oz fans.
Where there is rain there are rainbows, and one may be appearing soon! There is hope for saving the shop's museum, which holds many Oz artifacts relating to both the movie and books: http://www.thetimesonline.com/articles/2008/12/02/columnists/offbeat/doc0ddaf3307127d8658625751200629a1d.txt
The reporter, Philip Potempa, is not just any reporter, he truly loved this festival and all that went with it, and he's been wearing his heart on his sleeve when writing about this latest news. Thank you, Mr. Potempa, for being the voice of so many Oz fans throughout the world.
I've been a member of an on-line Yahoo! group, The Everything Oz Club, since early 2000, which has met at the festival in Indiana since the early 1990s. http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/everythingoz/
We live all over, California, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Alaska and even England! EO is a diverse group of friends who have gotten to know one another simply because of our love of anything and everything Oz.
I attended the festival in 2007 and was gobsmacked to meet several of the remaining Munchkins who were in the 1939 movie as well as other Oz celebs (including Jean Nelson, L.Frank Baum's g-grandsons and John Fricke), and most importantly my EO friends.
We met up again in Hollywood, California, in November of 2007, to watch the Munchkins receive their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was that ever a trip to remember! My husband and I drove down and spent several days with EO friends and schmoozing with celebs, something I will forever hold close to my heart.
I'm holding out hope that the Oz fest will be saved and will keep you posted.