Chesterton is now in the process of being transformed into the Land of Oz
for its 29th Annual Wizard of Oz Festival this weekend.
The festivities kick off on Friday at 2 p.m. in Thomas Centennial Park with
the Party in Emerald City. Entertainment will be provided throughout the
park with food from George’s Gyro Spot, Third Coast Spice and Popolano’s.
Stroll through downtown shops and restaurants with the Oz Celebrity Walk.
Munchkin Flower Pot Lady, Margaret Pelligrini, will be at the Flower Cart. A
collection of Judy Garland dresses will be shown by curator Michael Siewert
at Indian Summer Boutique. Munchkins by marriage, Myrna Swenson and Mary
Ellen St. Aubin, will greet visitors at Peggy Sue’s Diner.
Meanwhile, individuals can get their pictures taken with artist Tim Wolak’s
life-sized figures in “Picture Yourself in Oz” at 101 Broadway. Roger Baum,
an author and great-grandson of L. Frank Baum, and his wife Charlene will
discuss the new animated 3D movie, “Dorothy of Oz,” also at 101 Broadway.
Centier Bank will host Caren Marsh-Doll, Judy Garland’s stand-in for the MGM
movie, as Dorothy.
In addition, Lollipop Guild Munchkin Jerry Maren and his wife Elizabeth will
sing at Red Cup Café. Munchkin First Trumpeter Karl Slover will be at the
Chesterton Duneland Chamber of Commerce. Baum will also give visitors a
journey back in time as he and his wife re-enact the story of Frank Baum and
wife Maud as only family can at the Westchester Public Library.
At 4 p.m., celebrities will march to center stage of Thomas’ Bandstand,
where the show begins. The audience will be welcomed by this year’s Mayor of
Munchkinland, Chesterton Town Council member Emerson Delaney. John Fricke
will take stage as master of ceremonies spinning the memories of the 1939
movie classic. The opening ceremony will also include the unveiling of a new
poster by artist Rick Ewigleben.
Festivities will end promptly at 6 p.m. with a song or two to keep people
singing through the festival over the weekend.
Two Oz celebrities have teamed up this year to make it easier for fans to
find them during the festival. Poster artist and illustrator Rick Ewigleben
and Emmy Award winning producer/author/Oz historian John Fricke will share
booth spaces 33 and 34 on Saturday and Sunday. The spaces are near the
center of the festival on Broadway in front of Chase Bank.
Ewigleben was an official Munchkinland Market Days celebrity for six years.
Produced by the Yellow Brick Road Gift Shop the same weekend as the Oz
Festival, Munchkinland Market Days was discontinued when the shop closed.
Ewigleben will unveil the eighth poster in the limited edition Ewigleben
Wizard of Oz series exclusively at the Wizard of Oz Festival. In 2003, he
began a series of Oz tribute posters created in the poster-art style of the
late 1930’s and early 1940’s. Each poster in the limited edition series has
become a sought after item by not only Oz collectors, but also by poster
collectors and movie memorabilia fans.
Fricke has been a friend/consultant to the Chesterton Wizard of Oz Festival
for 20 years. Acknowledged as the preeminent Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland
author/historian, he received a 2004 Emmy Award as co-producer of the
two-hour, PBS-TV “American Masters” program, “Judy Garland: By Myself.” This
was his second recognition by The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; he
won similar honors in 1997 as co-producer and co-writer of the A&E
"Biography" special, “Judy: Beyond the Rainbow,” based on his book, “Judy
Garland: World's Greatest Entertainer.”
In 2007, he consulted on the deluxe DVD release of the musicals Judy Garland
made with Mickey Rooney, and worked as well on two other new-to-DVD Garland
motion picture projects.
Visit the website at
details on Ewigleben’s exhibit and where to find him and Fricke at the Oz
Festival. For more information on the 29th Annual Wizard of Oz Festival, see
the festival’s website at