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JennRyczek 5 waves parade watchers along route Oz Fest parade ChestertInd. | Archive~Sun-Times Media

Jenna Ryczek, 5, waves to parade watchers along the route of the Oz Fest parade in Chesterton, Ind. | Archive~Sun-Times Media

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Wizard of Oz Festival

All events take place in downtown Chesterton

Friday, Sept. 14

2-4 p.m. — Celebrity autograph sessions and party in Thomas Park

4:15 p.m. — Opening ceremony at the gazebo in Thomas Park

Saturday, Sept. 15

9 a.m.-5 p.m. — Food and vendor booths open, Calumet and Broadway streets

9 a.m.-5 p.m. — Silent auction tent, parking lot west of Thomas Park

9 a.m.-5 p.m. — Souvenir tent, parking lot west of Thomas Park

10 a.m. — Parade, starts at Chesterton Middle School and follows Eighth Street to Broadway, Broadway to Fourth, Fourth to Indiana, Indiana to Calumet, Calumet to Porter, and Porter back to the middle school

11 a.m.-5 p.m. — Kidzone, free activities for children, Thomas Park

12:30- 4 p.m. — “Crazy Hat” and “Best of” contests, Thomas Park gazebo

1- 4 p.m. — Celebrity autographs, parking lot west of Thomas Park

3-4:30 p.m. — Dorothy’s birthday party, Moose Lodge, tickets $6 purchased in advance

7-10 p.m. — Oz exchange and auction, Chesterton Middle School, tickets $4 at the door

Sunday, Sept. 16

9 a.m.-4 p.m. — Food and vendor booths open, Calumet and Broadway streets

9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Silent auction bidding, parking lot west of Thomas Park

10 a.m.-3 p.m. — Kidzone open, Thomas Park

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Lunch with Dorothy and Friends, Moose Lodge, tickets $10 purchased in advance

Noon-3 p.m. — Celebrity autographs, parking lot west of Thomas Park

1-3 p.m. — Silent auction winning bidders pick up items at silent auction tent

3:30 p.m. — Finale

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Updated: October 15, 2012 9:16AM



Chesterton once again becomes the Emerald City this weekend, Sept. 14, 15 and 16, as the 31st Wizard of Oz Festival takes over the town.

The up to 50,000 attendees festival co-director Mary Reinhart expects for the festival share a love of Judy Garland, Dorothy, the Munchkins, all things Oz and the “little dog Toto, too.”

“I thought I was a Wizard of Oz fan when I took over,” says Reinhart, “but when I meet some of the people and see their collections, I have nothing on them.”

As in past years, many people associated with the 1939 film will be attending this year’s fest. Margaret Pellegrini, one of three remaining original Munchkins, is expected to again this year’s festival. Munchkin Karl Slover, a regular Oz Fest attendee in the past died last November.

Munchkins by marriage Mary Ellen St Aubin and Myrna Swensen are scheduled to attend in memory of their husbands, as will Judy Garland stand-in Caren Marsh-Doll.

Roger S. Baum, the great-grandson of Oz author L. Frank Baum, will introduce his new book, “The Oz Enigma,” at this year’s festival. Prerelease copies of the book will be available at the festival prior to national distribution later this year.

A previous book written by Baum, “Dorothy of Oz,” has been made into an animated musical film for release in 2013. With the film now in post-production, producer Ryan Carroll will show clips of the film in Thomas Park on Saturday. The film features the voices of actors Patrick Stewart, Lea Michele, Dan Akroyd, James Belushi, Martin Short and Bernadette Peters.

The fest starts with party in the park and celebrity walk 2-4 p.m. Friday, followed by an opening ceremony at 4:15 at the park gazebo.

The festival theme this year is “Which Witch Are You.” Attendees will vote for their favorite witch, Glinda the Good Witch or the Wicked Witch. The witches will campaign for votes throughout the festival.



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