Such as it is, here is my views on what Amanda and I experienced at this wonderful festival celebrating all things from the Land of Oz.
As usual, we start near the beginning as we pass the Pinwheel Fields, which show up in our latest book, Nomes of Oz.
Naturally, no trip to Ionia, Michigan (and this is our third journey there) would be complete without a lighthouse at the border.
I must confess that the journey northward was not without its share of unusuality.
Once we arrived at the American Inn & Suites on Thursday, which was a wonderful place to stay, both in the accommodations and the staff, we attended a very pleasant dinner for the local Council on Aging group. They served cake and I wound up eating Dorothy. Bwahahahaha!
The next morning started out oddly, as it seemed to be snowing in June.
Turns out it's a form of seed pods from the local trees, though no one we asked knew what type. The entrance into Ionia is very pleasant and we soon found ourselves upon the Red Brick Road and set up for the day.
We were soon joined by Vincent Myrand and his lovely lady, Alicia, along with a couple of Vincent's trained minions.
The crowds were excellent, especially given the heat, which wasn't awful, but a bit intense. Fortunately for Amanda and I, we don't do air conditioning at home, so we're used to heat and Amanda did very well. Our location beneath the Ionia Theater marquise helped a great deal too. We like being there. A quick trip into the back of the theater confirmed that Enarc Brenkert was still around.
For those who may be interested, Enarc Brenkert is a major part of our latest book, Nomes of Oz. Turns out the residents of Oz get to experience what everyone out here in the Great Outside have enjoyed since 1939.
Soon, the whole gang showed up and then it was on!
This was Friday and everyone was in a very Oz mood.
Saturday was equally as hot and full of Oz. For me, the highlight was the appearance of a Corvette Show, which just happened to park right across the street from us.
One of the very unique things about this festival is that they show The Wizard of Oz (1939) at the theater for only a quarter. That's the 1939 price, so I'm told.
They even had a costume contest...
... and we got to spend a little time with the Guest of Honor, Mary St. Ellen Aubin (Munchkin-by-Marriage), who has been attending this fine festival for as long as we have, 3 years. We call ourselves Charter Members of the Ionia Wizard of Oz Festival and both Amanda and I always look forward to seeing and visitng with her.
By the end of Saturday, we were fully spent, but thrilled to be a part of the Closing Ceremonies and were grateful for the Love shown us by all in attendance.
We left Ionia on Sunday, unable to stop talking about the whole weekend and how much fun we had. We vowed to return next year... if they'll have us.
Amanda and I can't thank Linda Curtis, the fine folks who volunteered their time, sweat and effort, as well as the town of Ionia, Michigan for everything. We have watched this festival grow and grow, getting better each year and making us long for the next.