BEECH MOUNTAIN, N.C. – When the old Land of Oz theme park awakens the first weekend in October for its yearly Autumn at Oz party, it will celebrate two milestones.
The first milestone is the 75th anniversary of the “Wizard of Oz” movie, while the second is the 20th anniversary of Autumn at Oz itself, which began two decades ago as a reunion for park employees to pay tribute to a once-popular place that time had forgotten.
This year’s Autumn at Oz is set for Oct. 5-6. On those dates, fans will come from near and far to spend a few hours touring Dorothy’s House and Uncle Henry’s Barn, as well as enjoying a nostalgic stroll with Dorothy and friends along the yellow brick road.
There will be vendors selling Oz-related merchandise, vendors selling a variety of foods, and a mini-Oz museum with artifacts from the park and from the actual movie.
“It never ceases to amaze me how much of an impression this little mom-and-pop theme park made on so many people’s lives,” says Cindy Keller, long-time organizer of the event. “It’s just amazing.”
As always, Keller will recruit a troupe of actors from across the East Coast to play the roles of Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Glinda the Good Witch, Wicked Witch of the West, and the Great and Powerful Oz, plus a group of flying monkeys.
Live bluegrass and country music will entertain guests as they wait to enter Dorothy’s house and start their journey. New this year will be a Kansas skit performed by cast members.
Hours are for the 20th Autumn at Oz celebration are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day, and attendees are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite Oz character.
Tickets are $20 a person and sold in sessions each day, or fans can opt for Wonderful Wizards tickets. These are $50 and offer preferred parking, expedited entry, and access to a hospitality suite with refreshments and a television showing the Wizard of Oz movie.
Tickets are available online at: www.AutumnAtOz.com. For further details or lodging specials, call (800) 468-5506.
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