The Ninth Annual OZtoberFest is for kids. That fact was made clear today when festival co-chairman, Mary Lyn Barnett, announced that this year’s event, on Sept. 28 and 29th, would feature more inflatables, more animals in the petting zoo, more contests, and more to do than ever before.
“All of us have grown to love the Land of Oz from our first exposure to it as children. That’s the secret of OZtoberFest - keeping it for the children,” Barnett said at the monthly Wamego Chamber of Commerce luncheon meeting.
The Entertainment Stage, set up in the middle of the festival grounds on Wamego’s Lincoln Street, already has scheduled contests where youngsters can compete as “Dorothy Look-Alikes” or bring their pet dogs for judging as “Best Toto.”
A children’s play area will feature numerous, oversize inflatable toys for jumping, sliding, and romping. Riley County 4-H will host a large petting zoo, featuring up close and personal encounters with animals from local farms. In the weeks prior to the festival, local schools will encourage participation in Oz-related coloring and writing contests for their students.
The Museum’s Little Theatre will feature special presentations throughout the OZtoberFest weekend, including meet-and-greets with Roger Baum, great-grandson of the original author.
Also a noted writer of children’s books, Roger Baum will autograph his Dorothy of Oz, which serves as the basis for the new animated feature film “Legends of Oz: The Return of Dorothy.” Scheduled for release next May, the film stars the voices of Glee’s Lea Michele, Kelsey Grammer, Martin Short, and Bernadette Peters.
“Just as we never tired of the annual televised ritual of The Wizard of Oz, kids never tire of revisiting the enchanted Oz festival attractions,” Barnett said.