Off to see the Wizard
I dare you not to hum the song. Absolutely NO humming about how we’re going to see the guy who can give us a heart/brain/courage/way home. Can’t do it? Neither can I. Why…? I’ll get to that later.
This marks the 70th anniversary of the year the world was introduced to the Technicolor wonder “The Wizard of Oz.” I was introduced to the glorious MGM movie musical many years later (only with commercial interruptions up until the invention of the VCR) and instantly became one of the many devoted fans of the film and yes, the book.
Forgot there was a book? The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was first published over 100 years ago and L. Frank Baum went on to write thirteen sequels (take that Harry Potter!). This is just one of the many fun facts I learned at the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas.
Yes, there’s an Oz Museum! There’s another Wizard of Oz-related museum in Liberal, KS, the home of the fictional Dorothy Gale, but that would have been a seven hour drive from Topeka and totally out of the way. Wamego was a mere 45-minute drive heading northwest out of Topeka and was the exact direction I was headed. It was like finding the yellow brick road.
My excitement grew while reading billboards announcing the miles until the museum – and lo! there were signs for the Oz Winery, too. I had no idea there was a winery. I was so tickled, it was as if someone had just dropped a house on a bad witch and gifted me a pair of ruby slippers.
It was a beautiful sunny day in downtown Wamego. While it wasn’t the Emerald City, it was about as close as I was going to get. My first stop was the Oz Museum which is said to have one of the largest private collections of Oz memorabilia – and I believe it. They have just about everything under the rainbow that’s Oz related, from old papers signed by Baum to Muppet dolls dressed as Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion (the 8 foot tall bust of the Tin Man in the gift shop was worth the trip alone!)
I would’ve stopped at Toto’s Tacoz right next door if only because of the alliteration but it wasn’t quite time for lunch when I finished up at the museum. And although it was likely five o’clock somewhere, I didn’t actually do any wine tasting while at the Oz Winery. But if you’re looking for a fantastic gift for your favorite Oz fan (hint, hint my dear friends) you should definitely check out their OZLANDIA Wines.
The winery has only been open for a couple of years and gets calls from all around the world. With colorful bottle labels and clever names like OEO, Witch Gone Good, and Auntie Em’s Prairie Rose it’s no wonder business tripled this summer. Sounds like the great and powerful Wizard has been pretty good to Wamego.
So, still can’t get that song out of your head? Want to know why? Because, because, because, because, because!
Tell me you didn’t see that one coming.