Chesterton Tribune

Wizard Oz Festival a a big disappointment at new location

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Three Letters to the Editor:


Attended the OZ Fest Sunday Sept 17 and just want to let you know how disappointed I was in the site this year. The fest has lost itís charm and quaintness. Please go back into town.

Beth Magoon



As a long time attendee of the Wizard of Oz Festival, from the Chicago area, I would like to voice my disappointment in the change of venue. The switch from being in a lovely small town with atmosphere and charm to the fairgrounds was startling, to say the least.

My friends and I look forward every year to attending the festival, not only for the festival itself, but for the charm of the Chesterton community. Every year we would get there early and have breakfast in a quaint little diner, not this year because we had no idea there was nothing around the fairgrounds. We were not about to eat pizza or B-B-Q beef sandwiches for breakfast. Bringing us to lunch: Nothing but fast food, where in town there were actual restaurants to sit down and eat, without bees?

In speaking to some of the local people we discovered that the festival will be back at the Porter County Fairgrounds next year. Hopefully, whoever is in charge will move it back to a more pleasant atmosphere, keeping with the heart of the Festival. Munchkinland was a small green community, not a paved midway.

Sue Arden



My family of 6 all from Kalamazoo, Michigan came to Chesterton/Valapraiso this past weekend for the 2006 - 25th Wizard of Oz Festival for the first time ever, and I was DISGUSTED! What a waste of time and MONEY!

We spent over $200.00 on tickets for events that were poorly organized, and to meet rude people that were running the events. The "munchkins" were great. Dont get me wrong. They were sweet, kind, and just wonderful people!

The directors of this event (which I assume I am not allowed to name) on the other hand left MUCH to be desired. The volunteers and workers in green shirts were just as bad. You would ask a question, simple questions to which no one knew the answers to. No one knew where anything was. They ran out of children's t-shirt by 1:00 the very first day. They would sell a souvenier for $3.00 to one person, and $9.00 to the next. I was in SHOCK!

I felt like I was attending a COUNTY FAIR / Craft Show - and the crafts were all NON-OZ related. I thought I was coming to the Wizard of Oz Festival, but this definitely was NOT AN OZ FESTIVAL!!

The organizers of this event were unprofessional, rude and non-human like this past weekend. I approached one of the directors to talk to about some of the things that were promised but didn't happen, and was treated HORRIBLY, and basically told SORRY ABOUT YOUR LUCK and had them turn their back on me and walk away. I was in tears!


They made promises BEFORE you bought the tickets of things you would receive such as, games and prizes at Ozapooloza at Zao Island, which there were games, but no prizes. They promised costumed characters at luncheon, to which the costumed characters showed up 10 minutes before the event ended, so we missed that. They promised that with your purchase for the $15.00 ticket to breakfast that you would get free autographs from all the munchkins and oz celebrities, but that wasn't true either. Your ENTIRE Party had to be present in order to get an autograph, so because my child wanted to see them drop the monkeys from the plane, so grandma took her over there, (since they were doing yet another thing at the same time) - my daughter didn't get her autographs. My daughters are 5 and 4 years of age. People in the line were saying that was unfair... but the "ambassador" as he called himself said, "listen lady, not my problem!"

They had events running at least 25-35 minutes behind schedule...including that $15.00 breakfast.

And again, I tried to approach one of the directors who was as rude as anyone I've ever met in my entire life!

So many terrible things happened during that weekend....nothing was as it was printed in the event guide. Things were changed, and the excuse was always the same, they had all memorized the response..."this is our first year doing the festival here, it'll be better next year."

I'm sure I"m not the only one who will complain, lots of people were disgusted and sick to their stomachs as I was about this past weekend. A child was hit by a car, another woman thought she was having a heart attack during the breakfast, and there were no emergency professionals to be found. I encountered a family of 8 in the parking lot who had been stranded in their vehicle (battery died) for over an hour to which they had asked all of the people working at the festival for help, and no one ever came. I jumped their van for them with jumper cables in my car, and they were so appreciative, they offered me money.

I'd be EMBARASSED to be a part of the festival this year if I lived in Valapraiso/Chesterton, or on the committee. And the rudeness that was shown will ASSURE that myself and my family will NEVER be back. I plan to share my horrible experience with everyone that I know. I plan to post my experience on the Internet for others to read as well. I'm glad I got to meet the "munchkins" and "oz celebrities" but the committee and directors of this festival need to take a lesson from the Wizard of Oz. First off, they need to get a BRAIN, Second, a HEART for compassion and the COURAGE to accept the responsibility that the TRULY screwed this years festival up as terribly as they possibly could have!

A Very Angry Mother!

Jodi Trimble


Posted 9/19/2006