Community Spotlight: Follow The Yellow Brick Road To The Wizard Of Oz Festival
For 42 years, the Grand Rapids community has celebrated their favorite daughter, Judy Garland – better known as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.
“After 78 years now, it’s still recognized, it’s so much a park of American culture,” said Judy Garland Museum Executive Director John Kelch.
A Wizard of Oz Festival was held at the Judy Garland Museum to honor the movie star and celebrate her 95th birthday. It was all things Wizard; the day started with a Dash for the Ruby Slippers 5K run.
“It definitely brings people in from all over,” said Amber Schmitt,
“It’s definitely something to be proud of,” said Adam Hanson, festival attendee.
There was an OZ-tacle course and lots of children’s activities.
“Dorothy is my favorite character,” said Gwennie Bauchum, festival attendee.
The Wizard of Oz is the Baucham family’s favorite movie and they’ve seen it a thousand times.
“I think we’re most excited to see the characters and the carriage rides,” said Beth Bauchum, festival attendee.
The unique campus has many attractions including Garland’s old home. The Judy Garland Gallery features a 2,000 Wizard of Oz collection and other artifacts from the film.
Of course, the Wicked Witch of the West was not far away.
Rose Hoene was as the festival with Truman, the same kind of dog as Toto, and she says the movie teaches lessons in life.
“Don’t judge people based on how they look,” said Hoene. “Like the Tin Man, he said he didn’t have a heart, the Lion thought he didn’t have courage and Toto, well, Toto was a hero.”