The characters of “The Wizard of Oz” are some of the most recognizable in film history, and recreating their memorable costumes is part of the annual OZtoberFest in Wamego.
OZtoberFest returned to action Saturday, and attendees brought a little Emerald City magic to the costume contest.
People dressed as Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, the Wicked Witch of the West, Glinda, winged monkeys and munchkins.
“It’s always fun to be able to portray a favorite character and see it come to life,” said Megan Lee, who won the best Glinda costume.
The contest was hosted by Gabriel Gale, the author of the “Ages of Oz” book series. He determined the winners based on audience applause.
Megan and Jed Lee of Manhattan and their three sons all participated in the costume contest: Megan as Glinda; Jed as a winged monkey; Zach, 9, as the Lion; Lucas, 4, as a member of the Lollipop Guild; and Benjamin, 3, as the Scarecrow. Megan said they’ve participated in the contest several times.
Zach loved the movie from the time he was a toddler and added new characters as new family members joined in.
Megan said he’s now old enough that he wanted to pick out a new character and create his own costume. She said being from Kansas, the film is even more special.
“Everyone grows up on it and learns to love it,” Megan said.
Jon Pachta, a member of the OZtoberFest committee, said the connection between the film and Dorothy’s home state runs deep.
“Everybody all over the world has heard of it, and part of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is Kansas,” Pachta said.
Pachta said he frequently drives past the Oz Museum and sees people taking photos in front of it.
He said the museum draws people — around 40,000 a year — from all over the United States because of how beloved the film is.
After being canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Pachta said it was fun to see people out to celebrate a film people are still interested in more than 80 years after its release.
“It’s neat that people still like it and I think that will be true for years to come,” Pachta said.