Things have been incredibly busy for me lately. Last weekend I had my final “convention” before SDCC. I had the honor of attending OzStravaganza with Tom Hutchison of Aspen/Big Dog Inc., writer of The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West. This event is less of a convention, and more like a three-day festival in the quaint and cozy hometown of L. Frank Baum, Chittenango, NY.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a slight Oz obsession, and this festival has been on my radar for a long time. I remember watching video footage from it when I was just a little girl, and seeing photos of the munchkins in the parade. It has always been a dream of mine to go, and not only was I finally able to go for the first time, but attend as an official cosplay guest.
My first impression was sheer amazement. Never in my life have I been around so many people who love Oz just as much as I do. There was merchandise everywhere I looked, and I was actually finding things that I didn’t already own! What I really took away from it though was the interactions with the people. I have never been surrounded by so many genuinely kind people. I don’t know if it’s that the works of L. Frank Baum attract kind souls and the young at heart, but the outpouring of love there was truly magical.
I spent Friday manning a booth with Tom Hutchison and Jesse Wichmann. Tom writes The Legend of Oz, which is a reimagining of the original L. Frank Baum novels in comic book form, but written in the Wild West. In Mr. Hutchison’s version of the story, Gale sports ruby spurs and ruby handled six shooters. Jesse Wichmann is an illustrator for The Legend of Oz and made his first appearance at OzStravaganza on Friday to sign some of his limited edition prints.Across from our booth was Gabriel Gale, who is the creator of a new book titled Ages of Oz: A Fiery Friendship. Published by Simon & Schuster, this book from Gale and Lisa Fiedler gives us a glimpse into the life of Glinda at the age of thirteen. This book is a must read, especially if you have a great love for Oz, or have young readers in the house.
Some of the others that I was able to meet included the brilliant and adorably sassy Oz historian, John Fricke; Tina Marie Casement Libby, who has created an amazing musical called Chasing Rainbows that is about the life of the young Judy Garland; Jane Lahr, author and daughter of Bert Lahr; Victoria Calamito from The Oz Vlog, Marc Baum, who runs this lovely festival; and Roger Stanton Baum, author and great-grandson of L. Frank Baum.I truly recommend this festival to anyone who has an appreciation for anything Oz related, whether it be the original Baum novels, the 1939 film, Tin-Man, Emerald City, The Legend of Oz, Ages of Oz, or any other adaptation. OzStravaganza is truly a wonderful event for the entire family, and an event that everyone should experience at least once.
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