Oztoberfest 2018


Planning Oz travels for 2019?  For many fans, the closest event can become an annual favorite. I am fortunate to be within an easy drive of Oztoberfest, the annual event hosted by The Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas. For the museum’s blog I, on behalf of the Club, provide them with a calendar of upcoming monthly events. This year’s Oct. 6 event was especially memorable because it opened with the unveiling of the museum’s marvelous new facade.


This past year’s Oztoberfest was a wonderful Saturday spent meeting Oz fans at the Oz Museum. I was stationed in the Museum’s little theater where a pair of local students put on a hand puppet show. Before performances I talked to the audience about Oz puppetry, and did a bit of show and tell with puppets that were mass-produced for kids. Fun time!

The art exhibit in the Swogger Gallery featured Totos with surface designs by local artists. They were imaginative and fun! Additional pieces included a wonderful fiber monkey with Toto, as well as lots of framed paintings and photos. Not every piece had an Oz theme, but the majority certainly did.








The Oz Museum is always a fun place for fans to visit. It’s especially satisfying to see it crowded. There was a steady stream of families Saturday. I am delighted to report that the Oz Club gained a dozen new members! Many thanks to Lynn Beltz for promoting membership next to the IWOC display case in the museum.


Outside the streets of Wamego are now dotted with large, decorated  Toto sculptures. My favorite was in front of the library. His body is layered with page from the book he’s reading, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz!


The days prior to the festival, many of us who attend as invited guests speak
about Oz in the local schools. This year was particularly fun for me because I got to put together a presentation about international Oz.  Although most of my effort went into the digital presentation, the samples of international products I brought to pass around the class were the biggest hit with the students.

The Baum Bugle Packs Appeal for Autumn 2018

Such a Baum Bugle The Autumn 2018 cover story, an interview with Stephen Schwartz, is a remarkable feature illustrated and supplemented with fascinating content the Wicked fans in our Oz community are sure to enjoy. You’ll find the very first outline of the first act, handwritten lyrics, and table top models of set designs.  We are thrilled that member Brady Schwind was generous enough to provide us with this in-depth look at his friend, the renowned writer of this milestone musical.

MGM fans will appreciate Willard Carrol’s tribute to his friend, Jerry Maren, the last of the Munchkinland cast, who crossed the rainbow May 24th.  Authors Jay Scarfone and Bill Stillman walked readers along their journey to create the new MGM reference book, The Road to Oz (Lyons Press 2018). Most enthralling of all, Randy Struthers shared the story behind his discovery of the wand that served as a Glinda costume accessory for Billie Burke. He was able to acquire it and it is currently on display at the Smithsonian. With so many collectors reading the Bugle, his story will no doubt set minds dreaming of other long-lost props.

Editor Sarah Crotzer contributed an appreciation of her own, a “fact file” about Rob Roy MacVeigh’s animated version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that was never completed, while Michael Gessel, a past Bugle editor himself, reflected on the late Harlan Ellison’s contributions to Oz. With more pages still to turn, the Bugle continued to meet the varied interests of our Oz fans with Angelica Carpenter’s feature story about writing her biography of Frank Baum’s mother-in-law, Born Criminal; Matilda Joslyn Gage, Radical Suffragist.  After all, what’s a Baum Bugle without a visit to Baum topics?

The Bugle always includes a “bulletin” of short news items, and a number of reviews. In this issue those included two puppet shows, three stage musicals, three non-fiction and three fiction books.  The four central pages are designed for you to pull out and hand a young fan; The Oz Gazette is intended for our youngest members.  An additional enclosure will no doubt attract both the young and the young-at-heart. David Kelleher created a charming Jack Pumpkinhead string puppet to cut and color.  We had hoped you’d have it in hand before Halloween, but with the vagaries of printing and mailing services that was not to be.

We did have some pixellated photos miss the “update” command, and some spacing went rather off the mark in a place or two.  Apologies and promises to be more diligent in the future; we’d all love to deliver a flawless publication, and we always keep that as our goal. Which reminds me, Michael Gessel learned too late that Harlan Ellison actually died June 28, not the 27th. I believe our editor has a date correction notice planned on that point for the Winter Bugle.

The Oz Club has experienced a significant membership surge this year, so I know this was a first issue for many members.  I hope you enjoyed it and will continue to share our fascination with all things Oz for many more issues to come.