Wizard of Oz fans rejoice! Centennial Park will transform this summer as the Village of Orland Park hosts the Midwest Wizard of Oz Festival September 19-21, 2014.
The event will boast tethered hot air balloon rides, one of the largest carnivals in the Midwest with dozens of rides and games for adults and children alike, a Dorothy Gale themed petting zoo with pony rides, Wizard of Oz themed interactive displays,merchandise vendors and much more.
Admission and parking are free to the highly anticipated festival.
“We are delighted to be able to accommodate the 2014 Midwest Oz Festival at Centennial Park,” said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. “It will be a nice addition to the numerous special events planned in Orland Park during the summer season. This is unlike anything we have ever seen in the area and anticipate a great event with family fun for all.”
The festival will feature special guest speaker and Master of Ceremonies, John Fricke. Fricke is the spokesman for Warner Bros. as the host of the Hollywood re-premiere of the Wizard of Oz film on its 75th anniversary. He is a two-time Emmy Award winner as co-producer and co-writer of programs on A&E and PBS-TV.
"Since I was five years old, I've loved Oz. And I'm certainly not alone in that passion,” said Fricke. “Oz means memories and magic to virtually everyone of every age. This festival is a colossal opportunity to bring more Oz fans together than at any other place or time in history."
Also a featured special guest is Roger S. Baum, the great-grandson of L. Frank Baum who is the author of the original Wonderful Wizard of Oz book. Roger is a bestselling children’s author whose 2013 book, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s return, will be released as a movie in theaters nationwide May 2014.
In addition to Fricke and Baum, many other special guests will be announced as the event draws near.
Attendees are expected from across the United States to participate in the nostalgic, family-friendly celebration. David De John, festival organizer and owner of Pinnacle Promotions, Inc., chose Centennial Park in Orland Park after careful consideration of several different locations for its location close to highways and hotels, ample free parking and vast, appealing space.
“We are looking forward to putting on the largest and most incredible Wizard of Oz Festival in the world in the Village of Orland Park,” said De John. “Considering the original Wonderful Wizard of Oz book was written, illustrated and published in Chicago as well as where L. Frank Baum the author lived, it is only right to bring this festival to the Chicago area.”
Located at 10401 West 153rd Street, the festival will be held at the northwest part of Centennial Park and utilize the Metra parking lot area.
“As the newest major festival in the Chicago Southland, the Midwest Oz Festival will attract thousands of visitors to the Village of Orland Park and will have a significant regional impact,” said Jim Garrett, President/CEO of the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau.
For more information and to see a complete list of planned attractions and events, visit www.midwestozfest.com.