Monday, June 9, 2014

Oz-stravaganza Chittenango, NY

On Saturday we set out on an adventure to attend the Chittenango NY OZ Extravaganza. Apparently writer Frank Baum; writer of the Wizard of Oz books, lived in Chittenango.

I have not the expertise on the facts, but it has been the small rural area's claim to fame for awhile now. I also don't know how long the annual Oz-stravaganza (I always thought it was the Oz Festival) has been going on, but I do know our family has made at least four trips to be a part of it over the years.
The Oz weekend is usually full of everything as Wonderful as the Wizard. This year presented to be just a bit less wonderful then I have seen had in the past. There just seemed to be less of what I have enjoyed which is the AWESOME characters. Interesting too this year they were trying to beat a worlds record that was made in England. I do not know the exact number, but the goal was to beat the record of the most dressed up Wizard of Oz characters all at one place at one time. I think they were something like 300 people shy. So Sorry Chittenango......but where were ALL your OZ characters this year?????
Although that was a sad statistic...I am actually not that surprised. This years Oz-stravaganza was slightly LESS hyped as past trips. I am not sure why, and I am certainly NOT going to speculate or start RUMORS, but there is some talk of MONEY...POLITICAL POWER and sometimes that makes PEOPLE mad!!!
I could be 100% wrong about this, but I can only guess. All I do know is that several people who have generally MADE this OZ event for me,  were simply missing from the event all together.
Although I saw Dorthy's, Lion's. Tin Men, and Scarecrows I did not see THE dorthy, THE scarecrow, THE tinman, THE lion and all the REST of the usual Characters from the book/movie.
 Imagine NO SANTA at the end of the Macy's Day parade....It was simply put...disappointing.
 Now I am not sure if there is a group of people who have historically made themselves present at these events in their absolutely over the top costumes or what the story is but in my mind I had it set that this group is individuals WERE the ONLY Characters...everyone else was just an AMATEUR!!!  They were NOWHERE TO BE SEEN this YEAR!!!
This year still had some of the previous year THRILLS...
 There were plenty of cut out OZ characters to pose with.
 Games of course.

and Rides...
There was also LOTS to EAT, and a few of the locals presented with some fun.

Here the boys played Chess.
There was also entertainment at the local church. People sang and performed.

There was raffles and Wizard of Oz items to purchase. These tin men where simply adorable!!! I purchased an old Baum magazine to use for my SMASH book and found an OZ Extravaganza pin.

 After all the games, eats and purchases we made our way back to the streets where we had already set up a spot for ourselves to watch the parade.

Riley was HOT!!!! (sorry about the shot...)
Then the parade began...

 I LOVE the bagpipes.

She is a cutie!!!

 Keepin cool!

 This was the ONLY costumed people in the parade, and they were NOT The characters that I remembered from past.

 One of the original munchkins.....

 These guys were amazing....We all loved their performance. AGAIN I tried to video it...what is WRONG with me that I cant seem to do videos.

and that my friend was that.....I did stretch my neck down the street to see if maybe MY favorite characters were coming up in the rear....but the parade was ended with THE WOLF...was there even a wolf in The Wizard of Oz???
As the parade ended and my realization that the characters were JUST NOT coming I began to pack up our parade encampment with just some disappointment.
The one thing about re-visiting event or places year after year or time after time, is that often an expectation gets set in your head and when it is unmet it is a big let down. Guess were going to have to TRY new things or GET our butts to new areas of the world......It'll happen.

As we headed to the car, I grateful that we had found the same secret spot we had the last few years..CLOSE and FREE and I took this picture...Lyman Frank Baum was actually born in Chittenango, NY and Oz-Fest (not Oz-stravagana) is celebrated every year on the first weekend in June to celebrate Frank's birthday...Happy Birthday Mr. Baum....Directly across the street from the sign is the Oz- museum. I have never been inside, but I am sure it has some charming artifacts.
I apparently was the only one who did not have as wonderful of a time as they have had in the past, and my comments about how things had changed went un-noticed by the rest of my party. Guess it was only me who missed those characters. At any rate, we still had a wonderful time celebrating the imagination of such amazing and long loved books and later movie. Chances are we will visit again...and somewhere over the rainbow...I will see my characters dancing down the parade street again.