Sunday, June 6, 2010

Its a TWISTER! Its a TWISTER! ...but what a finish!

Oz-Stravaganza! 2010 came to an early end this morning, when a tornado paid a visit to the park. While sightings of witches on broomsticks and bicycles were few, one vendor reported seeing debris in the funnel of the tornado.

The park was closed, and the Munchkins were set up in the American Legion in Chittenango, for autographs. The silent auction was also completed at the Chittenango American Legion Post.

I had an opportunity to speak with several of the authors from this year's "Author's Alley". Julienne La Fleur gave me a copy of her book, Lessons From Oz. Julienne has a very natural and pleasant joy about her, and I hope to have an opportunity to interview her for either this blog, and/or the official Oz-stravaganza! Website. The book appears to be an easy read, with great insight into applying the varied scenes of the movie "The Wizard of Oz" to every day life in a way that is uplifting and encouraging.

I had some time to speak also with Jane Lahr and Maya Gottfried, our mother and daughter Grand Marshal team. Jane is the daughter, and Maya the granddaughter of Bert Lahr, who played "The Lion" in the original motion picture "The Wizard of Oz". I was lucky enough to get to see some great black and white photos of Bert posing in costume. Maya is promoting her book, Our Farm By The Animals Of Farm Sanctuary, which contains her poems and paintings by Robert Rahway Zakanitch.

I also had an opportunity to speak with Dennis Anfuso, who drew me a picture of "The Nome King" while we talked about some of the Oz books that character appeared in. Dennis is a talented author and illustrator who has done such works as The Winged Monkeys of Oz, The Astonishing Tale of the Gump of Oz, and A Promise Kept In Oz.

I briefly touched base with Joshua Dudly as well. He is the author of Lost in Oz; and, I'm hoping to have more time to talk with him about his works at some point in the near future.

Lastly, I had the great privilege of meeting John Fricke, whom it seems everyone in "the Oz world" knows. John is not only a well of Oz and Oz-related information, but also a memorable personality and an impressive public speaker. I'm looking forward to talking more with John about all things Oz.

Oz-Stravaganza! 2010 has ended - and it is now time to wrap up things with a rainbow of thank-you notes. Once the Oz Committee has their final wrap-up meeting - it will be time to start preparing for Oz-Stravaganza! 2011!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Oz-Stravaganza! 2010 Has Kicked Off!

As always, the fireworks display was great! With synchronizations to soundtrack clips from The Wizard of Oz, I felt like the Wizard was right out on the baseball field for a moment. :)

I can't wait to see you all at the festival tomorrow and Sunday. Don't forget to pick up a set of collector's buttons!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Best Wizard of Oz Festival is Only One Day Away!

We are only one day away from the kick-off of the World's Best Wizard of Oz Festival: Oz-Stravaganza!

We have been busy making the website as useful as possible to all of the Oz Fans. We are looking forward to seeing Oz Fans from all over the world! The farthest place I know folks are visiting from this year is Scotland! If you know of a visitor from a farther place, please leave a comment on this blog and let me know! :)

There is so much to do this coming weekend, that I hope you all download a copy of the Oz-Stravaganza! Program in advance of your arrival. You can find the Program at: Oz-Stravaganza! Program

If you are interested in participating in the Silent Auctions that will be taking place throughout the weekend, you should really get a leg up on your competition, by checking out what is on the auction block: Oz-Stravaganza! Silent Auction Items

Both the Coloring Contest, and the Writing Contest Winners have been announced on our website:

Coloring Contest Winners

Writing Contest Winners

Also the Finalists for Emerald City Idol have been announced! You can check out the list of the up-and-coming Emerald City Icons on the Oz-Stravaganza! Website.

You won't want to miss these folks sing! So, make sure you plan your Oz-Stravaganza! Weekend ahead of time, by checking out the Oz-Stravaganza! Program.

When I see you this weekend, you will no doubt be able to agree with me, that Oz-Stravaganza! is the Best Wizard of Oz Festival in the World... after all - It is Where Oz All Began!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bring Back The Emerald City To Chittenango!

It is that time of year again! It is just about time to light the village green for Oz-Stravagana!

Starting on June 1st, 2010, the Oz-Stravaganza! Committee is asking businesses and homes in and around the village of Chittenango to decorate their homes and businesses with green lights.

Some local businesses have already started getting in the spirit by displaying oz-related memorabilia in their store-fronts. It is a great time to catch the wave of fun that is Oz-Stravaganza!

The "Light the Village Green" event this past winter was a huge success; and we look forward to seeing all of the creative displays of green lights again starting on June 1st.

For folks who have yet to buy their green holiday lights - I heard a reliable source say that there is a limited supply still available at Kinney Drugs in Chittenango. ;)

Oz-Stravaganza! is so close I think I can hear the munchkins singing! :)

Wizard of Oz Writing Contest Being Judged!

All of the entries have been received, and the judging has begun. Preliminary news is that there has been an even better turn out this year than last.

We are all looking forward to learning the names of the winners in each age category, on Oz-Stravaganza! weekend.

The winners will each receive a copy of the book The Hidden Prince of Oz, written by Gina Wickwar and signed by Bob Baum.

We can't wait to see you this year at Oz-Stravaganza! Where Oz All Began!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The BEST Wizard of Oz Festival on Earth!

What is the best festival in the world for lovers of The Wizard of Oz? Oz-Stravaganza! Not only is it where it all began, but we celebrate "all things Oz". Every year there is a different theme. This year the theme is based on "The Emerald City of Oz", which is the sixth book in the series.

Many folks aren't even aware that there is more than one book about the Land of Oz! Last year was my first Oz-Stravaganza! I had no idea there was more than one book. Before last year's event, I thought I was going to attend a festival honoring the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I thought that there was going to be a bunch of stuff about the movie, The Wizard of Oz. I was right - but there was SO MUCH MORE! The biggest thrill was to find out that there is a large collection of books all written by L. Frank Baum, which were set in the fairyland called Oz. Chittenango, being the birthplace of Baum, really is where it all began.

I hope you come to Chittenango, in Upstate New York, this June 4th, 5th, and 6th, for our Wizard of Oz festival we call Oz-Stravaganza! From hot air balloon rides to enjoying the presence of Munchkins from the original movie, you will be filled with a joy only found in the Fairyland of Oz! There will be rides for the kids and artisans selling their crafts. There will be contests and displays. You will, without a doubt, have passed Land of Oz 101 by the end of the weekend. Learning about the fantastic is like cotton candy for your imagination!

If you loved the Wizard of Oz - treat yourself this year with a trip to Oz-Stravaganza! You can get more information about our festival at our Oz-Stravaganza! website.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Last Chance to Make Money of Oz-Stravaganza! via Pizza Hut!

Come and join some of the local characters! Pizza Hut will donate a portion of your bill to Oz-Stravaganza! up until 10PM tonight!

There isn't a more tasteful way to earn some cash to help support Oz-Stravaganza!

I just finished eating there - and the pizza was excellent, the company was above average, and a generous portion of our bill will be donated to help fund Oz-Stravaganza!

Why are you still reading this blog post? Time is running out! Go get some pizza at Pizza Hut!

Last Day to Help Raise Money via the Pizza Hut Deal!

Today is the last opportunity to help raise money for Oz-Stravaganza! by eating pizza at Pizza Hut!

You need to get to Pizza Hut between the hours of 4PM and 10PM Today, Wednesday, March 31st, 2010.

Tell your server that you would like a portion of your bill to be donated to Oz-Stravaganza! and they will make it so!

I'll be there tonight signing autographs. So, I hope to see you all there!

Yea! Pizza!

Enter the Oz-Stravaganza! Writing Contest!

Oz-Stravaganza! is sponsoring a writing contest! And you can enter to win Oz-Stravaganzically!

Below, you will find the beginning of your story, complements of Greg Ellstrom, who is no stranger to good fiction.

Greg Ellstrom was an English teacher, department chairman, and drama director at Chittenango High School for 33 years. He has written and directed 9 plays, which were presented both at Chittenango High School and as part of the Village of Chittenangoʼs SUMMERPLAY.

Ellstrom also won the POST-STANDARD Holiday Fiction Contest in 2001 and 2003. His blog is called “The Blue Moon Grille.” You can check out that link to see that he hasn't retired from writing.

Just complete "The Things One Stumbles Upon" (below), in three-hundred words or less, and you are on your way to entering the contest.

Please see the rest of the rules, submission form, and submission information at the bottom of this post.

The Things One Stumbles Upon
by Greg Ellstrom

After she returned from Oz and moved back in with Uncle Henry and Auntie Em, life
for Dorothy became very normal. She went off to school like the other kids of her age, did
her homework, helped Aunt Em around the house, took Toto for walks--but always, in the
back of her mind, were her memories of her wonderful adventures in the Land of Oz.
As happens to all children, Dorothy quite quickly grew up. And when she was 18
years old, she went off to college at the Kansas University in the city of Lawrence. There
she lived in what was called a rooming house and met many interesting people.
Dorothy couldnʼt figure out just what to study in college. She thought that perhaps
she would study writing, so she could tell the stories of her magical adventures. Or
perhaps, she would study painting, so she could create great works of art depicting the
Emerald City and the lands around it. Or perhaps, she would study to be a veterinarian, so
she could help dogs like Toto or even work at a zoo and, maybe, take care of lions.
Sometimes when she was trying to figure just what she would study to be, she would take
a walk around the campus or through the city or around one of the nearby parks, and think
One day, while taking one of these strolls, she wandered farther away from her
college campus than she ever had before. Just when she was considering going back to
the rooming house, she came upon a little bit of a forest, just some trees really, growing
around and on top of a little hill. This was very unusual for the flat lands of Kansas. A little
path led through the trees, and her curiosity made her follow it. She went up and down the
hill, jumped over a little brook, and went through thick trees and thin trees, as the path
twisted along. Then all at once, the trees came to a stop, and Dorothy couldnʼt quite
believe what she saw in the meadow in front of her. (Part 1 ending point)

Information and Rules for The Oz-Stravaganza! Writing Contest

  • Information
The object of the contest is for each entrant to complete the short story begun here. Entries
must be completed in 300 additional words or fewer. There are four groups for entrants:

A. the 3rd to 5th Grade Group
B. the 6th to 8th Grade Group
C. the 9th to 12th Group
D. the Adult Group

Participants will complete the story titled “The Things One Stumbles Upon.” (Above)

First, Second, and Third Prizes will be awarded in each Group.

(Questions may be addressed to

  • Rules
  1. Only one entry per person.
  2. All entries must be typed, double-spaced, on one side of sheets of white printer paper. Entries of more than one page should be stapled in the upper left hand corner.
  3. Electronic entries will not be accepted.
  4. Entries will not be returned.
  5. The information form below (which you should print) should be clipped, filled out, and attached to the entry. Be sure your name and page # is on each page of your entry.
  6. All entries should be sent to:
    Writing Contest, Oz-Stravaganza!
    Village of Chittenango
    222 Genesee St., Chittenango, NY 13037

  7. All entries must be postmarked by midnight on Friday, April 30, 2010.
  8. The entries will be judged by a group of writing professionals.
  9. The winners will be announced the week of May 31 , 2010, on the Oz-Stravaganza! Website. The 4 first place story endings will be printed in the SYRACUSE POST STANDARDʼs Sunday Edition, on June 6, 2010 .
  10. Prizes will be awarded and winning entries will be read at a reception to be held at a time and place to be announced.
(Members of the Oz-Stravaganza! Committee are not allowed to enter the contest)



Group: (circle one) A. B. C. D.

E-mail address:______________________________________


Phone #: ( )_________________________________________


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Help Raise Money for Oz-Stravaganza! by eating Pizza!

You can help raise money for Oz-Stravaganza! by eating pizza at Pizza Hut in Chittenango on the following evenings between 4PM and 10PM:
  • Monday, March 15th
  • Tuesday, March 23rd
  • Wednesday, March 31st
Just tell your server that you would like to support Oz-Stravaganza! and a portion of your bill will be donated to the cause.

You WIN! We WIN! Pizza Hut WINS! Everybody Wins! It's a WIN/WIN/WIN situation!

Enjoy the Pizza Hut Pizza!! I know I will ;)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Emerald City of Oz, Chapter 3 Discussion

I has been a while since we've had a chance to transport ourselves into fairyland through reading another chapter in The Emerald City of Oz.

We are in Chapter 3, right now. You can look through older blog posts to find the discussions on chapter 1 and 2. The great thing about the Internet is that these discussions can go on as long as anyone wants to post a comment.

Of Oz-lopedic note in this chapter, we see the term "Ozite" used. This term describes any of the half a million people living in the Land of Oz - at the time this story takes place. Some of whom were not flesh and blood!

Some of those who might not have been of flesh and blood could include a group of people called the Hammer-Heads, whose necks are like rubber. They live in the South of the Land of Oz, in the mountains. Also, there are creatures who have the bodies of bears and the heads of tigers that are called the Kalidahs-beasts. And almost certainly of the 'not flesh and blood' category would be the Fighting Trees who have their own forest and a tendency to hurl away intruders!

Of Oz-o-Graphic interest, we find that in addition to the well known Munchkin Country, there is also mention of a Winkie Country. I wonder how big a fairyland Winkie is. Do you think they are related to Munchkins?

We also learn that the palace housekeeper is named Jellia Jamb. Doesn't she sound sweet? I hope she has help cleaning the palace. Since everyone in Oz works half the time and plays half the time, she must have help.

Well, the short side of the Chapter is that Ozma of Oz, the girl Ruler of the fairyland of Oz agrees to bring Aunt Em and Uncle Henry to live with her and Dorothy Gale in the Land of Oz. They are all set to bring them via the magic belt the next morning after breakfast. It is going to be a big surprise. Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are to be brought without any warning. The plan is to then have Dorothy explain anything they don't understand.

I'll see you all in Chapter 4!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Annual Oz-Stravaganza! Station Postal Cancellation

Don't miss out on the annual Oz-Stravaganza! Station postal cancellation. The design this year is based on the theme "The Emerald City of Oz" and will be available Friday June 4th from 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm at Chittenango High School and Saturday June 5th from noon - 4:00 pm in Oz-Stravaganza! Park.

Bring your letters and mail them from the Land of Oz. 2010 Oz-Stravaganza! souvenir envelopes will also be available for purchase.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Advertise on the Oz-Stravaganza Website!

As well as being handed out along the Oz-Stravaganza Parade Route on the day of the event, Programs will be available from a variety of locations throughout the entire weekend. You can help Oz-Stravaganza while gaining visibility for yourself, your business, or your organization, by purchasing advertisement space in the Program.

As an added bonus, anyone placing an advertisement in the Oz-Stravaganza Program, will have a similar advertisement appear on the Oz-Stravaganza Website at no additional charge.

To advertise: Download the form

For more information, you can contact Colleen Zimmer at 415-8546.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Updates to the Oz-Stravaganza! Website, the Graphics Division of CyberCede Corporation has posted some updates to the Oz-Stravaganza! Website. You can check them out here.