In case you can't quite make out the three words at the top of the mini-poster being displayed in the photo above, they proclaim:




Both the flyer and catch-phrase hark back to August 1989 and Macy's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer WIZARD OF OZ film. (For several weeks, the famed department store transformed much of its New York City flagship retail establishment into the Land of Oz.) But the slogan and sentiment are perfect NOW, as well:  It’s OZtoberFest Time! -- and Wamego, KS, has pretty much finalized its exciting plans for events covering Friday and Saturday, October 5th and 6th.


As was noted here in THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF OZ blog in August, the five principal speakers (appearing on Saturday only this year) are -- alphabetically! -- Jane Albright, JP Cafiero, Gabriel Gale, Paul Miles Schneider, and out-of-correct-order-but-lecturing-and-also-serving-as-master-of-ceremonies, John Fricke. (That’s me!) Additionally, on both Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30, entertainer Mandy Kerridge will perform THE JUDY GARLAND SONGBOOK, accompanied by a live band. All these presentations will be held at The Columbian Theatre (apart from Jane’s talks; please see below for further details). As stated above, additional information about the OZtoberFest special guests and ticket prices (and their availability) can be accessed in last month’s blog:


Incidentally, the only reason I’m not echoing all those August specifics here is that there’s so much more 2018 OZtoberFest information to share! Among the other activities, sights, and sounds you won’t want to miss:


The “Mini Toto” Statues -- Located at The Swogger Gallery in the historic Columbian Theatre, there are twelve Mini Totos, depicted in a wide variety of unique, artistic, and thrilling designs. These have been imagined and created for OZtoberFest by a dozen members of The Columbian Artist Group, and their whimsical incarnations of Dorothy’s beloved pet will be available for purchase. (Each Toto is individually priced.)



[Photo credit to Columbian Artist Group's Facebook]


And speaking of Toto: Don’t miss out on the OZtoberFest Scavenger Hunt! The rules are simple:  1) There are painted Toto dogs in downtown Wamego! Find thirteen of the fifteen of these canines -- along with two OZtoberFest vignettes. 2) Take a photo with your phone of each for a total of fifteen pictures -- and bring those images to the Columbian Theatre between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 6th.  3) A Columbian Artist will be there to verify your photos, and everyone who enters will win a prize.  4) Beyond that, each person who participates will also have the possibility of winning other prizes, and the final drawings will be held inside the Columbian at 5 p.m. on Saturday.


OZ Puppet Show and OZ Trivia -- Young and old (or “children of all ages”!) will enjoy a hand-puppet show at The OZ Museum theater on Saturday, October 6th. So that everybody will have an opportunity to enjoy it, the production will be presented multiple times; you may see the show at 11 a.m., 12 Noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., or 4 p.m. Also: buy a chance at a raffle to win a set of the hand puppets used in the puppet show!  (Meanwhile, between performances, Jane Albright will try to stump you with Oz Trivia, and she’ll talk about the famous WIZARD OF OZ books, movies, and legends. Jane is current president of The International Wizard of Oz Club.)


Finally – and among many competitions during OZtoberFest – what could be more Ozzy than the Flying Monkey Banana Bread Contest? Entries will be accepted at the Columbian Theatre on Saturday, October 6th for just one hour, from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 AM, and judging begins at 11:00 o’clock. Prepare your favorite banana bread recipe and bake it in a standard-size bread pan. Then cool it, wrap it, and bring it to the theater on a paper plate. The bread will be evaluated by celebrities and judged according to their own individual likes and tastes. Portions of the bread that remain after the contest will be sold to benefit the new OZ Museum “Flying Monkey” marquee attraction on our facade.  



Well, as you might surmise, that’s just a sample of some of the Ozian escapades at the Museum and Columbian, taking place just two weeks from now. And as was referenced in the August blog, countless additional activities will occur outdoors and up and down Lincoln – the town’s main thoroughfare – on that same Saturday, October 6th, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. You can thank the Wamego Chamber of Commerce for the extraordinary scope of family fun, entertainment, exhibitions, contests, music, dancing, and food -- and you can visit for detailed information. Thanks to the Chamber’s capacity to imaginatively create and produce, downtown Wamego will host such astonishing and magical offerings as the OZ Costume Contest, the Toto “look-a-like” contest, the Classic Car Show, Professor Marvel's Backyard BBQ Cook-Off, the Wizard's Beer & Wine Garden, Munchkinland, Auntie Em's Boutique, the OZ Market, the Tin Man's Garage, and many more OZsome activities. There’ll also be a street dance on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.


What else can be said . . .  except, perhaps, “You’re off to see the Wizard!”

For any questions, please call:

The OZ Museum:  866 458-TOTO (8686)

The Columbian Theatre:  800 899-1893

The Wamego Chamber of Commerce:  785 456-7849


And a heartfelt P.S.: Many thanks to Lydia Lierz, marketing adjunct at The OZ Museum, for providing welcome details about some of the additional OZtoberFest events! 😊


Article by John Fricke


OZ Museum
511 Lincoln
Wamego, Kansas 66547

Toll Free: (866) 458-TOTO (8686)
Local: (785) 458-8686

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