Dr. Sally Wagner, executive director of the Gage Foundation, addressed the Fayetteville Village Board Dec. 15 with a summary of the "Wonderful Weekend of Oz" which took place in "Oztober," as the town of Manlius declared for October.
"Fayetteville made the New Yorker," she wrote in an outline that highlights the weekend's successes. "A filmmaker flew in from London to take footage in our village," and children's book author J.L. Bell journaled his trip to Fayetteville on his blog called "Oz and Ends."
"We drew people from all over the country," Wagner said. "They were treated to a weekend of informative and fun experiences, beautiful weather, peak season for the leaves and friendly businesses, many with Oz-themed products or decorations."
Event polls show that more than 2,000 people attended the various events over the weekend, including 300-plus Enders Road Elementary School students who listened to Bob Baum talk about his great-great grandfather, L. Frank Baum. The tabulations also included the 125 Fayetteville Elementary students who listened to Angelica Carpenter, president of the International Wizard of Oz Club, tell how fortunate they are to live in Fayetteville, or the Home of Oz.
Wagner read portions of letters written after the event by Carpenter, International Wizard of Oz Club Vice President Lynn Beltz and Sue Boland, the foundation's chief docent.
Boland's excerpt read: "The people that I talked to loved the community involvement because they don't often get that at other Oz conventions. It made them feel welcome, and I think they like to see local folks enjoying Oz as well. They also liked that they learned something new and different that was connected to Baum."
Wagner finished her presentation, not before acknowledging that Fayetteville and Manlius now have a batch of new friends who left swearing to come back again to visit and enjoy the community.