Each year on the first weekend in June, the Village of Chittenango, NY celebrates their connection to the stories of L. Frank Baum – author of the Wizard of Oz books. You see, Mr. Baum was born in the tiny village of Chittenango. Any time during the year, you can visit Chittenango and immediately see how they embrace their famous ancestor…..the yellow brick sidewalks, the signage, the All Things Oz Museum, and other themed focal points. But, during the first weekend in June each year, they totally transform the the village into the Emerald City with a huge and super fun festival they call “Oz-Stravaganza”! They have the usual festival attractions – food, music, vendors, crafts, a parade, etc. But, what makes their festival unique is the focus on the Wizard of Oz. Everywhere you look, you see people dressed as the Oz characters and Oz comes alive! I especially enjoyed seeing the Oz Costume Contest with people from the tiniest of tots in strollers to seniors in their golden years all dressed as every Oz character imaginable!
I tried to go last year, but I discovered it and tried to find a room way too late. So, this year, I contacted the only B&B in town in January and lucked out with one of their three rooms! If you want to attend in the future……the only place to stay right in town is the Bird Brook B&B – otherwise, you can stay in nearby Cazenovia (about 10 miles south with several nice places to stay) or Syracuse (not too far).
Here are some photos from my adventure:
ON THE WAY:
I am not one to take the thruway unless I have no choice or I’m in a massive hurry. I like to take the more scenic routes and make impromptu stops along the way at things that catch my eye. This trip was no different! I took Route 104 to 481 and down. On my way, I passed a sign for Sodus Point……I’ve been wanting to visit the Sodus Point Lighthouse – one of my bucket list items is to visit all the lighthouses along Lake Ontario – at least on the American side – maybe I’ll add some on the Canadian side, too…..so I took a detour to the lake to check it out.
I pulled over to take a photo of this sign……made me wonder if I made a wrong turn or went too far:
When I got closer to Chittenango, I stopped in at the Wild Animal Park……photos of that stop are in the next blog post – scroll down after this post to see it!
BIRD BROOK B&B:
The Bird Brook B&B is a really sweet inn. The hosts are wonderful, friendly, and very helpful. The home, itself, is just lovely and the breakfasts are amazing! They have three rooms – the Cardinal Room is downstairs and has a private entrance and bath (I was lucky enough to get that room) and the two upstairs rooms share a bath (I didn’t see them, but I am sure they are just as nice). The common areas are comfortable and inviting and the yard is full of flowers, a brook, seating areas, and a picnic table.
The inn was full that weekend – here I am with the rest of the guests having breakfast
A robin and her babies in a next on the porch
This is Newman – one of the hosts! 🙂
I ate at Delphia’s a couple times while I was in town…..very good!
How can you pass up a restaurant that serves both food AND friends!
Overlook the fact that it was trash day……the point of this pic is that these vintage army vehicles were parked in someone’s driveway! How cool is that??? 🙂
The sidewalk near the festival park was stenciled with the major historical events associated with Chittenango…..this was really cool!
SULLIVAN FREE LIBRARY:
The library in town was amazing!!! Very Oz-themed and child focused! And, they have a zillion vintage cookie jars on display!
The building used to be a bank and they turned the old vault into a play room!
DOROTHY AND FRIENDS:
Like I said earlier……everywhere I looked, there were Oz characters…..young and old…..but, the kids were the cutest!!!
Me with a Flying Monkey!
Me with the whole gang
One of the authors in town for a book signing and the parade writes comic books based on a wild west Oz – this is his Dorothy!
This little Cowardly Lion was the BEST!!! I was so happy his Mom allowed me to get his photo!
These actors (all the main characters were represented – see the photo above with me and the whole gang) were amazing! They stayed in character all day and were wonderful with the children and photo requests!!!
Here they are checking out a child who was dressed as the house that landed on the witch!!!
THE FESTIVAL AND PARADE:
A few photos that make this festival and parade unique:
The Wicked Witch of the West collided with a fire truck!!!
A local retirement home participated in the parade – all dressed as flying monkeys!!!
Anyone who dressed in character were welcome to walk in the parade
Jane Lahr – daughter of Bert Lahr was Grand Marshal
Here I am pictured with Jane Lahr
LOTS of Oz themed items available for sale
And, of course, there was tons of festival food, rides. vendors, and music…..
ALL THINGS OZ AND OTHER OZ THEMES AROUND TOWN:
There is an All Things Oz Museum with a huge variety of Wizard of Oz memorabilia and a great little gift shop!
These, unfortunately, are replicas – the originals are in a Smithsonian in DC
These were the ACTUAL costumes worn by these particular munchkins and next are photos of them wearing their outfits
Exact replica in the size Judy Garland wore during the filming
Just outside the village is the Yellow Brick Road Casino
And, another Oz themed gift shop:
And, lots of other Oz themed sites around town:
Of course, there were beautiful poppies all over town!!!
And, I spent an hour or so painting these ceramic pieces for my garden in a little ceramic shop
OTHER ATTRACTIONS NEARBY:
I took one day and went to Chittenango Falls, Cazenovia, and an amazing Erie Canal Museum:
The falls is VERY tall — looking down to a bridge at the bottom from the spot where the first falls photo was taken
Chittenango Landing was known for building and repairing canal boats. Volunteers have worked to reconstruct the dry docks and other buildings that were once an important canal resource from remains that were discovered and unearthed. It was fascinating to tour!
This gentleman just finished a demonstration for some touring school children – I stood and talked to him about the canal for quite a long time! He was amazing!
The dry docks
ON THE WAY HOME:
I took scenic Route 20 back home…..my plan was to stop to see the Harriett Tubman House and revisit Seneca Falls to see some things I missed the last time I went through there. But, it was Sunday and raining, so didn’t get to see much…..it was still a great drive, though – love traveling on Route 20!
There was a stretch of road along Rt 20 where I noticed about 6 or 8 of these huge nests – I’m assuming eagle nests – on top of the power towers – every one had one for quite a ways!
It is closed on Sundays….boo hoo!
The bridge in Seneca Falls that is said to have been the inspiration for the bridge in the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” – complete with the Christmas bells hanging on the sides
Just a cool looking historic building in Seneca Falls
A marshmallow farm….hehehe
And, a great barn somewhere along the way – think it was in Geneva!
It was a grand adventure, in deed!!!
Believe it or not, I am all caught up on the Adventure posts I got so behind on!!! Now…..hopefully, I can keep them up in a more timely manner! 🙂 Time will tell!
arn!…I need to find that barn!
It’s on Rt 20 – pretty sure it is in Geneva not far from where I stopped at a Ponderosa for lunch cause I’m fairly certain I saw it after passed the Ponderosa and drove for just a little ways before I decided to turn around and go back for lunch….then, stopped to get the photo on my way by the second time….if memory serves me correctly! You have to be coming this way to see it!
Hi Kim! I really enjoyed this post. I was a librarian for years and never realized that L. Frank Baum was from Chittenango. Beautiful pictures.
Thank you, Ann! It was a super fun weekend!
Very nice pictures indeed. I love the B&B and live right down the street from it and love the folks running it as she is my daughter and though I have been here all my life I have not seen a better depiction of the land of oz in Chittenango, NY. You are amazing!!!!!
Hi, Sally! I bought one of your Z bricks while I was there and it is a prominent feature in my garden! Thank you for the kind words! 🙂