By Felicia Naoum
It all came to be with a man who loves The Wizard of Oz more than most. Don Davis is a Wizard of Oz collector and vendor. Davis has been traveling to WOZ fests for over 20 years. “I travel to New York, Chicago, Indiana, North Carolina, and I kept thinking, I want a festival of my own. I want a festival close to home.” Davis’s WOZ passion and desire to create his own festival brought the birth of Macedonia’s Wizard of Oz Fest at the Longwood Park running the weekend of September 23-24. Davis is the Event Director for the festival.
In an interview, Davis explained to me how people would predominantly talk to him about the WOZ at various flea markets he would attend. “The first thing people kind of harbor to is WOZ stuff. I’m always talking to people most about WOZ, so it’s time.”
Time indeed. There are many versions of the WOZ but it is the 1939 classic that most people are familiar which is the one Davis’s festival is closely mimicking.
For this celebration of WOZ, Macedonia is the hosting city, and it is giving you a real life yellow brick road that leads to none other than Kansas, Munchkin Land, and Emerald City. If you want to get as close to the 1939 classic that still lives in the hearts of many, then this is the road you must travel. Davis is sure of it! “I knew Macedonia was a very nice area of town. I lived in Macedonia for about four years. As time went on and I got to know the area, I heard about Longwood Park and actually drove to the park and thought it was the perfect fit for it.”
With this perfect fit at hand, and ready to bring every WOZ lover together, I wanted to know why Davis thinks we’re still talking about this classic today. His answer might be just a tad nerdy! “In some ways, it’s a simple story,” said Davis. “It’s a story that resonates with a lot of people. Especially people that may be a little awkward or different. I guess if you want to call it nerds in some ways.”
WOZ fan Bailey Smith of North Ridgeville was able to identify with the characters and even find herself in the process. “I always try to think who I have more in common with – not having a heart, a brain or courage. I usually came to the conclusion that I lacked courage. But Dorothy was inspiring. She was determined and followed through.”
So, if your ties to the WOZ are sentimental like Smith’s, you’re just ready for some nerdy fun, or courageous enough to rock a pair of ruby reds, tin armor, or some wicked apparel, then visit the Macedonia Oz Fest September 22-24. Have a heart and help Davis out as he is on a world-record-breaking quest. The WOZ fest needs around 1200 dressed characters that resemble the original 1939 film to break dress-up records. All you need is a little courage to put on your best WOZ character! You can do it.
If you don’t feel like dressing up, but perhaps feel like getting out some wicked aggression, in a safe, playful way, of course, there will be a Wicked Witch dunk tank!
In addition to the dress-up contents and games, you can find a classic car cruise, and a WOZ game show to name a few. If you’re hungry, barbeque, hamburgers, and other carnival foods will be available.
One of the signature events this year will be the Guinness Book of World Records attempt for the Largest gathering of people dressed as characters from the Wizard of Oz.
And as a fun trivia fact, there is still one original WOZ cast member living, Jerry Maren, who is the last living munchkin. However, you won’t see him at the festival. “Unfortunately, he no longer travels, so he could not attend our festival,” confirmed Davis.
But just because the last living munchkin can’t be there, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be. In fact, you can always come dressed liked Maren or other characters as you know, because they will all be there in spirit. Celebrate Macedonia’s ode to the classic WOZ below.
Davis provides more information on how to be a part of this classic event:
Go directly to our website, www.wizardofozohio.com.
There are still spots available for anyone interested in being a vendor. You may find vendor forms on the website. Tickets can be purchased on the website as well.
Email Don Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-261-7947