As usual, we take Glinda's advice when she says that "it's always best to start at the beginning."
The journey from the Land of the Hoosiers to the Land of Oz usually takes us 2 days as we don't like doing a 12 hour drive all in one day. As such, we overnighted near Erie, Pennsylvania, which is the halfway point of our journey.
Once there, it's no secret that we've made it to Oz.
And what birthplace of L. Frank Baum wouldn't be complete without a field of poppies, as well as a tribute to the Royal Historian of Oz.
Arriving on Friday, we joined in the opening ceremonies and found our place in the Royal Tent, where all the Special Guests, Authors and Artists were situated.
The following morning found us at the local church for the Pancake Breakfast Meet & Greet with the local parishioners. The food was wonderful and we found Ron Baxley, Jr., my co-author on our Oz/Wonderland trilogy and a good friend as well.
Before the madness of the festival began, we made a trip down to the Sullivan Free (Chittenango) Library to donate a copy of Tails of Oz,
a habit we got into years ago when Magician of Oz first premiered at Oz-Stravaganza 2010. We also stopped by the local All Things Oz museum to see the new building.
a great midway of vendors and such,
and a fine carnival with many fun rides and attractions.
Over the two days of the Ozian madness, book sales were were excellent and we got to meet some wonderful guests, including:
Ken Page; who played the Cowardly Lion in the 1976 Broadway musical play, The Wiz,
Emma Ridley; who played Princess Ozma in the 1985 Disney film, Return to Oz,
John Fricke; the world's preeminent Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland historian alongside Myrna Swensen; Munchkin-by-Marriage,
Ryan Jay, popular TV and radio film critic,
Tom Hutchinson, noted comic book author and artist,
Vincent Myrand is a very talented artist whose talents I hope to utilize as an illustrator for my previous Magician of Oz book series.
Ron Baxley, Jr. is a very talented author who I have collaborated with on a fine trilogy of Oz/Wonderland books that are now published by Maple Creek Press.
And what visit to Oz would be complete without a visit to the Chittenango Falls?
And on our way out of Oz and back to home, we ran into a most unusual site.
A Yellow Brick Road Casino! Naturally... Go figure? We went in and tried a few machines, but left a couple of bucks lighter. Such is Oz~
Overall, this year's Oz-Stravaganza 2015 was fantastic on numerous levels. Marc R. Baum, Colleen Hummell Zimmer and all the great volunteers of Oz did a wonderful job. Most people would be amazed at how well things went, but having coordinated a number of large-scale festivals, I know that a large number of hours, people and devotion goes into any successful Oz festival. Knowing Marc and Colleen and many others in Chittenango, their devotion and countless hours of volunteer efforts are showcased in a wonderful festival for all in attendance.
We hope to return next year with a new book, Even More Tails of Oz, as well as Nomes of Oz. For us, this event is one of the highlights of our year.