This was the third year for this festival and I can say that it was a huge success, both for myself and everyone who came to explore the Yellow Brick Road of Oz.
It all started the night before with a grand Wizard of Oz 75th Birthday Party in celebration of the film's release 75 years before.
Of course, the Fab Four, Glinda and The Wicked Witch of the West were in attendance and provided a wonderful evening's worth of entertainment for the large number of kids who were in attendance.
I had a great time doing balloon animals, a few small bits of magic and telling the kids a wonderful story about Billina the Hen and how she once laid Deviled Eggs. Look for this short story, and many more, later this year when Tails of Oz is published.
The next morning was a bit wet, but only for a half an hour or so, then the rest of the day saw cool temperatures and no rain.
Here I am early on before I had a chance to get completely set up.
Once things got going, the crowds were steady and seemed to be really enjoying themselves.
One of the highlights of the festival was Bob Walls Marionette Show, featuring Steven's Puppets.
As you can tell, the kids were absolutely captivated by the performance of the Wizard of Oz. I've seen this show before in Chesterton during that wonderful Wizard of Oz festival that is no more. The performer, Bob Wall is a most amazing talent with a wickedly twisted sense of humor. The best thing the festival organizers did was to book this show for their festival. In this day of video games, television and Kindle, seeing a live performance is such a rarity and kids need more of this in their lives.
The puppets themselves are quite detailed and very unique.
Later in the day, the Grand Parade down the Yellow Brick Road was a huge hit for all the kids, especially those in costume... and there were a LOT of kids in costume.
After a fantastic day that saw book sales do very well, the whole Gang of Oz got together for a group photo under the rainbow.
Then, it was time for the closing ceremonies. Lots of thank-you's for the many volunteers who helped make the event as good as it was.
And the closing event was a wonderful colored balloon launch in celebration of 75 years of the Wizard of Oz movie.
Of course, I had to get in one last photo with the great costumed characters that I've known for a number of years now from all the Wizard of Oz festivals I've attended.
Yes, it was a great day to be in the Land of Oz over in the Land of Lincoln. I look forward to next year and I expect great things as this festival continues to grow and prosper.
James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison of Oz