A small group of Oz Club members, Oz fans and friends recently met in Troutdale, Oregon, for an afternoon of Oz fun and games. I was vacationing in Portland, so set my sights on the McMenamins Edgefield for the June 16th event organized by Karyl Carlson. We gathered in a meeting room Karyl had loaded with Oz board games. After a round of introductions, the games began.
My first round of competition played the Wonderful Game of Oz using a facsimile copy of the original 1921 board game. Contemporary games followed at all four long tables, each circled with 8-10 fans who ranged in age from 5 to 90. Unopened games were awarded as prizes to triumphant winners.
Show-and-tell gave us a break from games, then we broke for refreshments — a tea complete with finger sandwiches and sweets. Following tea we switched to a jeopardy-style game that divided the group into two large teams each eager to best the other with our knowledge of Oz trivia. There was much cheering and laughter as the scores added up. One enthusiastic player flung his hand in the air with such force and eagerness that the threw himself right off his own chair.
When our scheduled meeting room time ended, we moved to a lounge area for another hour or so. Still unwilling to let the day end, several of us caravaned for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. Everyone had a splendid time. I left wishing I had a similar group of like-minded Oz fans to gather with back home.
In the land of Oz the northwest corner of the country is home to the Oogaboos, prompting these fans in the Washington/Oregon area to claim the title for themselves. For decades — literally — the Oogaboos have met regularly. Generally they meet in someone’s home for a pot luck meal and Ozzy fellowship. I heard people talk about past events that included everything from watching movies to playing croquet. They make it easy by simply sorting through who might host next, setting a date and inviting everyone over.
This Oogaboo Rendezvous was considered a “Grand” event because they booked space and pooled funds to provide the refreshments. The venue, the McMenamins Edgefield, was a charming old resort loaded with whimsical art. I’d have enjoyed exploring it further; they had restaurants, lodging, a onsite distillery, bars, live music, and more. I’m not a beer drinker, but one brand caught my eye. They bottle Hammerhead ale!
If you ever have a chance to spend a day as a Oogaboo, go for it!