May 27, 2014 Allie Wenner Uncategorized
The annual Oz-Stravaganza is going to be a bit different in 2014 from years’ past.
For one thing, it’s the 75th anniversary of the release of the movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” which made its debut in theaters in August 1939. And in celebration, organizers are attempting to do something they’ve never done in the 36 years the event has been held: they’re going to try to make it into the “Guinness Book of World Records.”
“All together, we’ve been planning this for about 20 months,” said Judy Dardzinski, the originator of the world record attempt concept and a member of the world record committee. “Peter Dimon, a member of the Manlius Chamber of Commerce, saw that there was a listing in the book of world records of 446 people in England who broke the record for wearing Oz costumes in one location. He came to me and said, ‘You guys could do this,’ and we’ve been planning from there.”
Dardzinski, who has worked on Oz-Stravanganza for the last four years, said she knew from the get-go that this was something that could be big.
“Dressing up in costume is something that people love to do, especially Oz costumes,” she said. “Last year, we had 120 people enter the Oz costume contest. When people put on costumes; they laugh, the kids are having fun, everyone’s complimenting each other on their costumes – it’s just a wonderful feeling.”
The world record attempt will be held on June 7 at the Chittenango High School football field. Everyone is invited to be a part of the event, and participants should plan to arrive around 10 a.m. to begin lining up.
Because it is for the “Guinness Book of World Records,” there are strict rules and procedures that need to be followed, Dardzinski said. She received a 17-page document which outlines exactly what must be done to be considered for a spot in the book.
“There have to be two witnesses and a steward for every group of 50 people,” she said. “And they all have to sign the affidavits afterward. There will be videographers documenting each person that walks onto the field, as well as a professional photographer to take pictures.”
To pay for the videographer, photographer and advertising, participants will be asked to pay $5 at the door. Additionally, Dardzinksi said there will be strict rules about costumes in order to comply with Guinness’ standards.
“People have to be in a recognizable costume from the original movie – it can’t be from ‘Wicked,’ or anything else. And it has to be a complete outfit, you can’t just have a witch’s hat on, it has to be the whole thing,” she said.
By 11:30 a.m., people will begin to line up on the football field’s yard lines. And at noon, a sound will mark the beginning to the required five-minute period that everyone must be present in costume on the field. By 12:05 p.m., the photos will have been taken and participants will be free to leave the field if they please.
Dardzinski said she’s planning to accommodate as many as 1,000 people and hopes that as many people as possible show up. It is rumored that the Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota is also trying to break the same world record that weekend. In case of inclement weather, the event will be moved into the high school gym.
The committee is still looking for volunteers to be stewards and witnesses at the event, and would prefer adults 21 and older. For more information on the world record attempt or to volunteer, contact Dardzinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Oz activities
The 2014 Oz-Stravaganza will be held June 6 through 8 in Chittenango, the birthplace of L. Frank Baum, the author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” Since 1978, Oz fans have been travelling from all over the world to celebrate Baum and the world he created.
“People come from all over the country,” said Colleen Zimmer, one of the co-directors of the event. “We have people that come every year and plan their vacations around it. I can’t tell you a state that people haven’t come from. We get a lot of people from Canada and have had people visit from as far away as Australia and Scotland.”
It isn’t uncommon for about 20,000 to make the trek to Chittenango each year for the festival.
“Oz is a universal thing,” Zimmer said. “It’s known all over the world and it’s known by every generation. It’s something that everyone can relate to.”
Zimmer described the festival as a “family-friendly event with something for people of all ages.” There are certainly a variety of Oz-related activities, but there are also many things to do that have nothing to do with it, including the fireworks show on Friday night, the amusement park rides and the crafters and vendors who sell their goods each year.
The event kicks off on Friday afternoon with the opening of the rides, and follows with live bands and a chicken barbeque, which leads up to the fireworks show at dusk. It picks up early on Saturday with the world record attempt, the Oz parade, live entertainment, hot air balloon rides and more.
This year’s grand marshal will be Roger Baum, L. Frank Baum’s great-grandson. Bob Baum, another great-grandson and the niece of Ray Bolger, who played the scarecrow, will also be present that weekend.
And of course, there will be tributes to the 75th anniversary, as well as the re-opening of the Oz Museum in downtown Chittenango.
The festival will run from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit oz-stravaganza.com.