Catching up …

Author Paul Miles Schneider sits at his traditional perch in the Oz Museum for OZtoberFest 2016, in Wamego, KS. Selling and signing books.

Author Paul Miles Schneider sits at his traditional perch in the Oz Museum for OZtoberFest 2016, in Wamego, KS. Selling and signing books.

It’s been a good chunk of time now since I’ve posted on this blog, and I apologize for my glaring absence and lack of news. I’ve been grinding away on “installment #3” of the Silver Shoes saga, and I’m pleased to say it’s going well. Donald Gardner and his buddies are in for another wild ride, this time centered around the primary catalyst of magic in Baum’s third Oz book, Ozma of Oz. My own books parallel his in many respects, and that is intentional on my part. It’s why Silver Shoes was joined in chronological succession by The Powder of Life … and now looming on the horizon is The Magic Belt. My hope is to entertain, enthrall, and enchant, not necessarily in that order! But more on new works in the months ahead.

I’ve attended a couple of wonderful events this past year as a guest of both Oz-Stravaganza! in Chittenango, New York, and OZtoberFest in Wamego, Kansas. My two homes-away-from-home where “Oz” is always made a very real place for me. It’s due primarily to the people who toil ceaselessly, year-round to create indelible memories for all who come for the fun. Those men and women behind the curtain. I’ve met and continue to meet so many incredible, inspirational “characters” on my strange and wonderful journey as an “Oz-themed” author.

I thought I would share a few highlights and good memories from these events, and please—if you’re ever in New York in early June or Kansas in early October—join us for a memorable and magical experience, and be sure to say hi if you do!

Oz-Stravaganza! 2016

A $5,000 donation to the All Things Oz Foundation! Featuring (left to right): Marc Baum, Mark Sample, Dennis Kulis, Colleen Zimmer, and Lynne Bunce.

A $5,000 donation to the All Things Oz Foundation! Featuring (left to right): Marc Baum, Mark Sample, Dennis Kulis, Colleen Zimmer, and Lynne Bunce.

The dream team of Oz-Stravaganza! (left to right:) Marc Baum, Dennis Kulis, Lynne Bunce, Colleen Zimmer, and Mark Sample.

The dream team of Oz-Stravaganza! (left to right:) Marc Baum, Dennis Kulis, Lynne Bunce, Colleen Zimmer, and Mark Sample.

Fun with good friends and new friends as we oogle Glinda's dress from the Broadway production of "Wicked," on loan to the All Things Oz Museum for the next two months! (Left to right:) Paul Miles Schneider, Ryan Jay, Vincent Myrand, and Emma Ridley.

Fun with good friends and new friends as we oogle Glinda’s dress from the Broadway production of “Wicked,” on loan to the All Things Oz Museum for the next two months! (Left to right:) Paul Miles Schneider, Ryan Jay, Vincent Myrand, and Emma Ridley.

Part of my collection as a "pen pal" of Margaret Hamilton's (the Wicked Witch of the West), on display at the All Things Oz Museum during Oz-Stravaanza! 2016.

Part of my collection as a “pen pal” of Margaret Hamilton’s (the Wicked Witch of the West), on display at the All Things Oz Museum during Oz-Stravaanza! 2016.

The brilliant collection of Judy Garland's screen-worn costumes on display at the All Things Oz Museum, during Oz-Stravaganza! 2016, courtesy of Jonathan Shirshekan.

The brilliant collection of Judy Garland’s screen-worn costumes on display at the All Things Oz Museum, during Oz-Stravaganza! 2016, courtesy of Jonathan Shirshekan.

Emma Ridley, who played Princess Ozma in Disney's "Return to Oz," proudly displays one of my T-shirts for "Silver Shoes," during Oz-Stravaganza! 2016.

Emma Ridley, who played Princess Ozma in Disney’s “Return to Oz,” proudly displays one of my T-shirts for “Silver Shoes,” during Oz-Stravaganza! 2016.

MGM Munchkin-by-marriage Myrna Swensen and her delightful daughter Nancy, honoring Clarence Swensen at Oz-Stravaganza! 2016.

MGM Munchkin-by-marriage Myrna Swensen and her delightful daughter Nancy, honoring Clarence Swensen at Oz-Stravaganza! 2016.

Good vs. Evil at the parade for Oz-Stravaganza 2016, as Paul Miles Schneider and Grant Menzies battle with a wand and broom. All in good fun. Authors of "Silver Shoes" and "Mrs. Ziegfeld," respectively.

Good vs. Evil at the parade for Oz-Stravaganza 2016, as Paul Miles Schneider and Grant Menzies battle with a wand and broom. All in good fun. Authors of “Silver Shoes” and “Mrs. Ziegfeld,” respectively.

A group of flying monkeys, courtesy of Trader Joe's, ready themselves for the big parade, during Oz-Stravaganza! 2016.

A group of flying monkeys, courtesy of Trader Joe’s, ready themselves for the big parade, during Oz-Stravaganza! 2016.

A wonderful group of friends gather below the plaque honoring L. Frank Baum, during Oz-Stravaganza 2016. (left to right:) Ryan Jay, Michael Carter, Emma Ridley, and Paul Miles Schneider. Chittenango, NY.

A wonderful group of friends gather below the plaque honoring L. Frank Baum, during Oz-Stravaganza 2016. (left to right:) Ryan Jay, Michael Carter, Emma Ridley, and Paul Miles Schneider. Chittenango, NY.

 

OZtoberFest 2016

Then it was on to OZtoberFest in the fall of 2016!

It began with a whirlwind of activity, visiting nine schools in two days. Paul Miles Schneider gives a talk about how he came to write his novel "Silver Shoes" and its subsequent sequels "The Powder of Life" and the current novel-in -progress "The Magic Belt," during OZtoberFest 2016.

It began with a whirlwind of activity, visiting nine schools in two days. Paul Miles Schneider gives a talk about how he came to write his novel “Silver Shoes” and its subsequent sequels “The Powder of Life” and the current novel-in-progress “The Magic Belt,” during OZtoberFest 2016.

It began with a whirlwind of activity, visiting nine schools in two days. Paul Miles Schneider gives a talk about how he came to write his novel "Silver Shoes" and its subsequent sequels "The Powder of Life" and the current novel-in -progress "The Magic Belt," during OZtoberFest 2016.

It began with a whirlwind of activity, visiting nine schools in two days. Paul Miles Schneider gives a talk about how he came to write his novel “Silver Shoes” and its subsequent sequels “The Powder of Life” and the current novel-in-progress “The Magic Belt,” during OZtoberFest 2016.

It began with a whirlwind of activity, visiting nine schools in two days. Paul Miles Schneider gives a talk about how he came to write his novel "Silver Shoes" and its subsequent sequels "The Powder of Life" and the current novel-in -progress "The Magic Belt," during OZtoberFest 2016.

It began with a whirlwind of activity, visiting nine schools in two days. Paul Miles Schneider gives a talk about how he came to write his novel “Silver Shoes” and its subsequent sequels “The Powder of Life” and the current novel-in-progress “The Magic Belt,” during OZtoberFest 2016.

Enjoying a lunch break during OZtoberFest 2016, with Clint Stueve, John Fricke, and Paul Miles Schneider.

Enjoying a lunch break during OZtoberFest 2016, with Clint Stueve, John Fricke, and Paul Miles Schneider.

The stage was set in the lobby of the Columbian Theatre in Wamego, KS, during the murder-mystery fundraiser for OZtoberFest 2016! Paul Miles Schneider knows "whodunit."

The stage was set in the lobby of the Columbian Theatre in Wamego, KS, during the murder-mystery fundraiser for OZtoberFest 2016! Paul Miles Schneider knows “whodunit.”

Fim critic Ryan Jay snaps photos of the wonderful table displays prior to the murder-mystery fundraiser for OZtoberFest 2016.

Film critic Ryan Jay snaps photos of the wonderful table displays prior to the murder-mystery fundraiser for OZtoberFest 2016.

Author Paul Miles Schneider enjoys the festivities with twin fans, during OZtoberFest 2016 in Wamego, KS.

Author Paul Miles Schneider enjoys the festivities with twin fans, during OZtoberFest 2016 in Wamego, KS.

The Saturday festivities begin for OZtoberFest 2016, with host Corey Reaves and guests John Fricke, Roger S. Baum, Charlene Baum, Jane Albright, Johnpaul Cafiero, Ryan Jay, Paul Miles Schneider, and Jane Lahr.

The Saturday festivities begin for OZtoberFest 2016, with host Corey Reaves and guests John Fricke, Roger S. Baum, Charlene Baum, Jane Albright, Johnpaul Cafiero, Ryan Jay, Paul Miles Schneider, and Jane Lahr.

The fabulous new facade for the Oz Museum in Wamego, KS. OZtoberFest 2016.

The fabulous new facade for the Oz Museum in Wamego, KS. OZtoberFest 2016.

Jane Lahr, daughter of MGM's Cowardly Lion Bert Lahr---a special guest at OZtoberfest 2016. Jane couldn't have been more delightful as she represented her father's legacy.

Jane Lahr, daughter of MGM’s Cowardly Lion Bert Lahr—a special guest at OZtoberfest 2016. Jane couldn’t have been more delightful as she represented her father’s legacy.

"Silver Shoes" author Paul Miles Schneider enjoys a meet-and-greet with young fans during OZtoberFest 2016.

“Silver Shoes” author Paul Miles Schneider enjoys a meet-and-greet with young fans during OZtoberFest 2016.

Forever enshrined. "Silver Shoes" author Paul Miles Schneider is seated next to his handprints and signature in the Oz Museum. Wamego, KS, 2016.

Forever enshrined. “Silver Shoes” author Paul Miles Schneider is seated next to his handprints and signature in the Oz Museum. Wamego, KS, 2016.

A panel discussion during OZtoberfest 2016, hosted by author and Oz expert John Fricke. (left to right:) Jane Albright, Johnpaul Cafiero, Ryan Jay, Charlene Baum, Roger S. Baum, Paul Miles Schneider, and Jane Lahr. The Colombian Theatre, Wamego, KS.

A panel discussion during OZtoberFest 2016, hosted by author and Oz expert John Fricke. (left to right:) Jane Albright, Johnpaul Cafiero, Ryan Jay, Charlene Baum, Roger S. Baum, Paul Miles Schneider, and Jane Lahr. The Colombian Theatre, Wamego, KS.

Two "Oz treasures" pose in the Oz Museum next to the Cowardly Lion's display in Wamego, KS, 2016. Charlene Baum, and L. Frank Baum's great-grandson Roger S. Baum.

Two “Oz treasures” pose in the Oz Museum next to the Cowardly Lion’s display in Wamego, KS, 2016. Charlene Baum, and L. Frank Baum’s great-grandson Roger S. Baum.

Record-breaking crowds turn out for OZtoberfest 2016 in Wamego, KS.

Record-breaking crowds turn out for OZtoberFest 2016 in Wamego, KS.

The highlight of OZtoberFest 2016 was meeting Jane Lahr, daughter of MGM's Cowardly Lion Bert Lahr. She was delightful, funny, kind, and beautiful in all respects.

The highlight of OZtoberFest 2016 was meeting Jane Lahr, daughter of MGM’s Cowardly Lion Bert Lahr. She was delightful, funny, kind, and beautiful in all respects.

 

Lessons My Father Taught Me: Use the World Around You in New, Creative Ways

Leonard Schneider, filming "Captain Dinosaur and the War Game" for Phoenix Productions, 1973.

Leonard Schneider, filming “Captain Dinosaur and the War Game” for Phoenix Productions, 1973.

When I was a kid growing up, my father Leonard Schneider was an educational filmmaker. He worked for a local company called Centron Educational Films in Lawrence, Kansas. It was an enchanted life from my youthful perspective, because I got to appear in many of his films. After he left Centron a couple of years later, he launched his own company, Phoenix Productions, which still utilized Centron for its film distribution. His first project as an independent writer/director was “A Rain Day Story,” all about the creative-writing process and how people can take the things around them that they see on a daily basis and imagine new stories, new ideas, and create new adventures from the events, people, and places in their lives.

This is the same approach I used when writing “Silver Shoes,” and it’s the same approach used by L. Frank Baum as well when he wrote “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” according to his great-grandson Robert.

Recently I found an “ancient” VHS copy of this short film, which runs a mere 13 minutes. “A Rainy Day Story,” stars a nine-year-old me as “Paul” (it was a stretch playing myself). We made it back in 1972. The quality isn’t good. Not only is it digitized from a low-grade VHS “master,” it was achieved back in the late ’70s by projecting a 16mm print in a screening room and then filming that with a (state-of-the-art for the late 1970s) video camera while it ran. Ugh. A copy of a copy of a copy.

Still I want to share it with you. It was a huge part of my journey as a writer of adventure stories. It’s how Donald Gardner, an average kid from the Midwest, was born. How he discovered a silver shoe on the side of a road in Kansas one day. How his adventure into the “real” world of Oz began.

It started with the two magic words, “What if …” and went from there.

Enjoy!

Spend a weekend in Oz with us! June 3-5, 2016!

Oz-Stravaganza 2016!

I am heading back to Chittenango, NY, next week—the birthplace of Oz creator L. Frank Baum—for Oz-Stravaganza 2016! Here is a link to the schedule of events, June 3-5, 2016!

I will be one of the special guests again, this time alongside film and TV star Bronson Pinchot, author Grant Menzies, actress Emma Ridley (Princess Ozma in “Return to Oz”), Judy Garland costume collector, author, and preservationist Jonathan Shirshekan, Emmy-winning Oz and Garland author, producer, and preeminent historian John Fricke, TV and radio film critic Ryan Jay, and “MGM Munchkin by marriage” Myrna Swensen! I am selling and signing books and T-shirts as well as giving a formal talk Friday evening on my former “second-grade pen pal” Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch of the West herself!

Hope to see many of you there!

Paul Miles Schneider packs his new silver shoes, along with several pieces of correspondence from his second-grade pen pal, the Wicked Witch of the West herself, Margaret Hamilton. Oz-Stravaganza! 2016.

Paul Miles Schneider packs his new silver shoes, along with several pieces of correspondence from his second-grade pen pal, the Wicked Witch of the West herself, Margaret Hamilton. Oz-Stravaganza! 2016.

Heading off to OZtoberFest in Wamego, Kansas!

 

Oztoberfest LogoCome join the fun this weekend at OZtoberFest, where I will once again be cavorting be among the special guests, selling and signing books along with the new Silver Shoes T-shirts! I’m also emceeing the costume contest and scavenger hunt Saturday afternoon—something entirely new for me! *gulp*

Image from OZtoberFest 2014.

From OZtoberFest 2014.

There will be live music, food, the incredible Oz Museum (not to be missed), where I will be stationed most of the day—featuring two new costume acquisitions from the MGM “Oz” movie, rides, games, and more! For a full schedule of events and a roster of guests, click here.

This festival is free open to the public, so bring the family and come say hello!

“Silver Shoes” Redux – the 2015 Edition

In addition to my new silver and green T-shirts, I’m hoping to have the revised version of Silver Shoes available for this year’s OZtoberFest in September! Here is a sneak peek at the brand new cover—an enhanced, more sinister, more magical take on the original design. The book itself has gone through some editing. Nothing major, and the story remains the same! I just tightened up the prose a bit and embellished a few sections in my never-ending attempt to make it even better. Hope you enjoy, and see you in September!

SILVER SHOES by Paul Miles Schneider gets a new cover for the 2015 edition.

SILVER SHOES by Paul Miles Schneider gets a new cover for the 2015 edition.

Oz Fashionista

Just a quick note to let you know I’ll be heading back to Wamego, Kansas, at the end of September for this year’s OZtoberFest, and I will have T-shirts for sale as well as books. You too can be Ozzified in your very own Silver Shoes shirt! The back of the tee has the book’s keynote (promotional) slogan on it: “For years, people have thought The Wizard of Oz was a fairy tale. But Donald Gardner is about to learn the story is true.” My wardrobe is now complete.

Paul Miles Schneider wears two versions of his "Silver Shoes" T-shirt, available in emerald green with silver letters or gray with black letters.

Paul Miles Schneider wears two versions of his “Silver Shoes” T-shirt, available in emerald green with silver letters or gray with black letters.

But what if they were real?

A photo of silver shoes from the eighteenth century.

Silver shoes from the eighteenth century.

I”m always fascinated whenever I see a pair of silver shoes like these from the eighteenth century. Genuine silver, too. They evoke a sense of realness with their expert craftsmanship and artistry, their detailed carvings, and the unusual, exotic shape. I love the buckles—almost a nod to the bows on Judy Garland’s ruby slippers. Beautiful design.

I thought I would share them, because I find inspiration everywhere in reality. Glimpses into an alternate universe where fairy-tale sensibilities reign supreme.

It was intentional that I didn’t include a depiction of the Shoes on my book cover, because I wanted readers to imagine them. Several characters in the story become obsessed with the shoes. They can’t shake the images out of their minds. I first describe them from Donald Gardner’s perspective as a cross between a Dutch wooden clog and something out of The Arabian Nights. I go into further detail about the strange carvings on their surface, which turn out to be more significant than mere artistic embellishments. Still, I wanted you, dear reader, to complete the circle by deciding for yourself what they look like.

Are these the way you picture them?

I can tell you they made me grin and nod when I saw the photo … so I had to share.

Hope you enjoy.

 

KLWN AM 1320’s morning talk show “Timeline,” featuring Paul Miles Schneider

Radio Station KLWN AM 1320 in Lawrence, Kansas.

Radio Station KLWN AM 1320 in Lawrence, Kansas.

Tune in tomorrow morning (Monday, December 1, 2014) at 9 a.m. (Central Time) when I will be a guest once again on KLWN AM 1320’s radio talk show “Timeline” with host Clenece Hills. In honor of the 75th Anniversary of MGM’s film version this year of “The Wizard of Oz,” I will discuss my two Oz-themed acton-adventure novels, “Silver Shoes” and “The Powder of Life,” including the updated versions available online, and perhaps a word or two about my third book in the series, now in early creative development. I will post a link to this broadcast’s archival audio as soon as it becomes available for any of you who can’t tune in live. Happy listening!

UPDATE: Here is a direct link to the interview online. Enjoy!

A Wonderful Weekend in Oz: Wamego’s OZtoberFest 2014

I didn’t “have to look any further than my own backyard,” as Dorothy says in MGM’s film version of The Wizard of Oz. Our wonderful weekend in Wamego, Kansas, began on Friday, September 26, 2014. Yes, it’s been a while and please do forgive the blatant tardiness of this post, but I’m happy to share the details of this memorable event with you nonetheless.

Author Paul Miles Schneider and owner of the Oz Museum's vast collection Johnpaul Cafiero. Wamego, Kansas, 2014.

Author Paul Miles Schneider and owner of the Oz Museum’s vast collection Johnpaul Cafiero. Wamego, Kansas, 2014.

First up was a sold-out, catered affair entitled Night at the Museum, featuring a beer and wine bar by the Tin Man’s cottage, a full buffet of savory delectables around the bend from the Haunted Forest, and a dessert table in the Emerald City! The museum’s usual mannequins of the major Oz characters had been replaced by costumed actors who struck their frozen poses and waited until a musical cue from a pianist stationed next to the little theatre at the far end of the museum “played” them to life! The evening was highlighted by Emmy-winning producer, author of several definitive books on Oz and Judy Garland, our host for the weekend, and for tonight’s lucky guests, singer and entertainer extraordinaire John Fricke, who performed a selection of songs made famous by the cast of the MGM Oz film!

Twin Glindas stop for a photo op, unaware that the Tin Man behind them is about to come to life! Night at the Museum, OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Twin Glindas stop for a photo op, unaware that the Tin Man behind them is about to come to life! Night at the Museum, OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Eats and treats around every corner! Night at the Museum, OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Eats and treats around every corner! Night at the Museum, OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

The "living" Dorothy display. She was the first to spring to life for the event. Night at the Museum, OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

The “living” Dorothy display. She was the first to spring to life for the event. Night at the Museum, OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

A sold-out fundraiser made for guaranteed rubbing of elbows with fellow attendees as they ate, drank, and were entertained by the song stylings of special guest John Fricke. Night at the Museum, OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

A sold-out fundraiser made for guaranteed rubbing of elbows with fellow attendees as they ate, drank, and were entertained by the song stylings of special guest John Fricke. Night at the Museum, OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Still my favorite display, because these little rubber creatures with their bits of wire rigging terrorized me as a child, watching them descend upon Judy Garland and her fellow cast members in MGM's Wizard of Oz. Two are featured here, including the only surviving one with both wings! Night at the Museum, OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Still my favorite display, because these little rubber creatures with their bits of wire rigging terrorized me as a child, watching them descend upon Judy Garland and her fellow cast members in MGM’s Wizard of Oz. Two are featured here, including the only surviving one with both wings! Night at the Museum, OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

The Scarecrow springs to life and leaves his post in the cornfield while joining Dorothy for "Night at the Musuem," the festival's kickoff fundraiser. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

The Scarecrow springs to life and leaves his post in the cornfield while joining Dorothy for “Night at the Musuem,” the festival’s kickoff fundraiser. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Honoring Donna, a wonderful volunteer at the museum. You can see her any Friday (other days as well) if you visit the Oz Museum. She wouldn't miss it for the world, and this was a very touching moment seeing her receive this plaque of appreciation. Night at the Museum, OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Honoring Donna, a wonderful volunteer at the museum. You can see her any Friday (other days as well) if you visit the Oz Museum. She wouldn’t miss it for the world, and this was a very touching moment seeing her receive this plaque of appreciation. Night at the Museum, OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

The multitalented John Fricke entertains guests with songs made famous by the cast of the MGM Oz film, and he did two shows that night as well! John brings vast knowledge, a warm presence, a celebratory, energetic mood, and an air of genuine class to each and every Oz event he attends. He alone is worth the trip for visitors to a festival, and I'm pleased and proud to call him my friend. Night at the Museum, OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

The multitalented John Fricke entertains guests with songs made famous by the cast of the MGM Oz film, and he did two shows that night as well! John brings vast knowledge, a warm presence, a celebratory, energetic mood, and an air of genuine class to each and every Oz event he attends. He alone is worth the trip for visitors to a festival, and I’m pleased and proud to call him my friend. Night at the Museum, OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Saturday was a full day of book signings, presentations, contests, a vintage car show, vendor booths, food, music, and absolutely gorgeous weather. I couldn’t help noticing how well the events inside the Oz Museum and outside on the main street meshed together seamlessly this year. This festival is truly coming into its own as a combination “Wamego town pride” fair plus a celebration of its unique Oz offerings. What a great combo!

The best part for me is always seeing the people who travel locally and from all over the country to attend “an Oz festival in Kansas.” Their smiles and enthusiasm are infectious. Many of them dress in full costume, devoted fans and parents with their kids, staying in nearby hotels, making a weekend “adventure” out of it.

Seeing this charming town come together with a unified vision to welcome visitors with open arms is just as rewarding to me.

I think signing books for smiling, eager kids may be my favorite part of any festival. The young and the young at heart are why I do what I do. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

I think signing books for smiling, eager kids may be my favorite part of any festival. The young and the young at heart are why I do what I do. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

This Dorothy brought along her big brother, a flying monkey! OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

This Dorothy brought along her big brother, a flying monkey! OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

If I look a bit dazed and overwhelmed here, it's because this nice lady traveled all the way from Dallas (I kid you not) just to have me sign her copies of "Silver Shoes" and "The Powder of Life." That's not something that happens for me generally (or ever!). I was truly blown away. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

If I look a bit dazed and overwhelmed here, it’s because this nice lady traveled all the way from Dallas (I kid you not) just to have me sign her copies of “Silver Shoes” and “The Powder of Life.” That’s not something that happens for me generally (or ever!). I was truly blown away. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Wonderful friends and representatives of the International Wizard of Oz Club pause with Paul Miles Schneider (center) for a photo after his first presentation on Saturday, including Susan Hall on the far left and Melodie Foreman and Kevin Smith on the right. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Wonderful friends and representatives of the International Wizard of Oz Club pause with Paul Miles Schneider (center) for a photo after his first presentation on Saturday, including Susan Hall on the far left and Melodie Foreman and Kevin Smith on the right. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Taken during Paul Miles Schneider's first presentation all about "imagining Oz for 21st century audiences." OZtoberfest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Taken during Paul Miles Schneider’s first presentation all about “imagining Oz for 21st century audiences.” OZtoberfest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Susan Hall as Glinda (faithful depiction from Baum's Oz books!) drove up from Tulsa for the event! So great seeing her, too. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Susan Hall as Glinda (faithful depiction from Baum’s Oz books!) drove up from Tulsa for the event! So great seeing her, too. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Lunch break at Toto's Tacoz! I had the green burrito. It was as big as my head, I swear. And SO delicious. Great food, and the owners are wonderful people. The line was out the door that day, but well worth the wait. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Lunch break at Toto’s Tacoz! I had the green burrito. It was as big as my head, I swear. And SO delicious. Great food, and the owners are wonderful people. The line was out the door that day, but well worth the wait. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

A vintage car show outside, with big band music playing in the background, courtesy of local high school musicians. It set a wonderfully nostalgic tone for the festival. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

A vintage car show outside, with big band music playing in the background, courtesy of local high school musicians. It set a wonderfully nostalgic tone for the festival. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Photo op! This Dorothy and Toto are way too cool for school. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Photo op! This Dorothy and Toto are way too cool for school. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Poor Scarecrow. This "display" was featured just off the curb with a sign warning people against the perils of texting while driving. True enough. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Poor Scarecrow. This “display” was featured just off the curb with a sign warning people against the perils of texting while driving. True enough. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

I'm glad they had proper zoning for this. Wicked Witch parking! OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

I’m glad they had proper zoning for this. Wicked Witch parking! OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Wonderful window art based on the original W.W. Denslow Oz illustrations! The windows of all the storefronts were painted on both sides of the street. OZtobeFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Wonderful window art based on the original W.W. Denslow Oz illustrations! The windows of all the storefronts were painted on both sides of the street. OZtobeFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

I see the Scarecrow on sax! Part of the high school's big band ensemble, entertaining visitors as they roamed the street. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

I see the Scarecrow on sax! Part of the high school’s big band ensemble, entertaining visitors as they roamed the street. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

This crowd was "in the mood," with big band music during lunchtime. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

This crowd was “in the mood,” with big band music during lunchtime. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

That poor Wicked Witch of the East can't catch a break. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

That poor Wicked Witch of the East can’t catch a break. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

The Wicked Witch of the West attempts (and fails at) the ice bucket ALS challenge outside the museum's entrance. Poor thing. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

The Wicked Witch of the West attempts (and fails at) the ice bucket ALS challenge outside the museum’s entrance. Poor thing. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Twin Glindas returned the next day as twin Dorothys with their mother, dressed as the Wicked Witch! Dad was the Tin Man, taking photos while this trio stepped inside the Tornado Simulation Machine in the museum's gift shop. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

Twin Glindas returned the next day as twin Dorothys with their mother, dressed as the Wicked Witch! Dad was the Tin Man, taking photos while this trio stepped inside the Tornado Simulation Machine in the museum’s gift shop. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

This family was so great, really getting into the act. Dad, the Tin Man, Mom the Witch, and their twin Dorothys. All with thick southern accents and loads of enthusiasm (I think they were from Georgia? But my memory is foggy.) Wonderful people! OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

This family was so great, really getting into the act. Dad, the Tin Man, Mom the Witch, and their twin Dorothys. All with thick southern accents and loads of enthusiasm (I think they were from Georgia? But my memory is foggy.) Wonderful people! OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

I never saw this one coming. They kept it as a surprise for me, but I was ushered outside to put my handprints and signature in cement, to be on permanent display at the Oz Museum. I seriously had to bite my lip to keep from crying. So grateful and overwhelmed by this honor. Paul Miles Schneider. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

I never saw this one coming. They kept it as a surprise for me, but I was ushered outside to put my handprints and signature in cement, to be on permanent display at the Oz Museum. I seriously had to bite my lip to keep from crying. So grateful and overwhelmed by this honor. Paul Miles Schneider. OZtoberFest 2014, Wamego, Kansas.

The trio of special guests at this year's OZtoberFest. See if you can find a pattern here: there's John, Paul, and Johnpaul. Hmmmm. (Left to right: John Fricke, Paul Miles Schneider, and Johnpaul Cafiero.) Wamego, Kansas, 2014.

The trio of special guests at this year’s OZtoberFest. See if you can find a pattern here: there’s John, Paul, and Johnpaul. Hmmmm. (Left to right: John Fricke, Paul Miles Schneider, and Johnpaul Cafiero.) Wamego, Kansas, 2014.

As this festival continues to evolve and grow, uniting the town of Wamego, Kansas, with a universal love of Oz, I look forward to witnessing this community celebrate its unique heritage, its outstanding Oz Museum, the warm people who welcome visitors and guests like members of their own families, and a chance for all of us to escape to a place “where troubles melt like lemon drops,” if only for one weekend each year.

… and as long as they’ll have me back, I plan to be there myself to help them celebrate.

 

Oz Comes to Kansas! – OZtoberFest’s 2014 Schedule

 

Oztoberfest Logo

OZtoberFest in Wamego, Kansas, is just around the corner—next weekend in fact—and the full schedule of events is available for all who are interested in making a night or day of it—or both!

Poster for OZtoberFest's Night at the Museum in Wamego, Kansas. 2014.

OZtoberFest’s Night at the Museum in Wamego, Kansas. 2014.

Friday, September 26, 2014 – 7 to 9 p.m.

First we have Night at the Museum, hosted at the crown jewel of all Ozdom in Kansas: the Oz Museum—a uniquely original immersive experience that allows visitors to journey through the story of “The Wizard of Oz.” From Dorothy’s Kansas farmhouse in the outer gift shop, you enter through her door right into Munchkinland, then on to the Scarecrow’s cornfield, the Tin Man’s cottage, Cowardly Lion’s forrest, Witch’s castle, Emerald City, etc., all while viewing a world-class collection of Oz treasures, collectibles, and memorabilia from both the books by L. Frank Baum and the beloved MGM film, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

Read more about this special event by clicking here.

Photo fo OZtoberFest

Munchkinland inflatables at OZtoberFest in Wamego, Kansas.

Saturday, September 27, 2014 – All day

This year, it’s an all-day festival of fun that includes the Road to Oz Car Show, Poker Walk, the Oz Market, Munchkinland playground, Auntie Em’s Parlor, food vendors, Emerald City Stage (see full schedule), Costume Contest, and more! Read details about each event by clicking here.

Inside the Oz Museum, you’ll find this year’s special guests, including renowned author and Emmy Award -winning Oz and Garland expert John Fricke, as well as Johnpaul Cafiero, owner of the Oz Museum’s vast collection, and yours truly—Paul Miles Schneider—who will be giving several audiovisual presentations throughout the weekend in addition to book sellings and signings.

Photo of Paul Miles Schneider finishes up a presentation inside the Oz Museum - Wamego, Kansas.

Paul Miles Schneider finishes up a presentation inside the Oz Museum – Wamego, Kansas.

Inside the historical Colombian Theatre, you will find the Kansas Ballet Company performing “The Wizard of Oz.” Read the details by clicking here.

Photo of the Kansas Ballet Academy performing "The Wizard of Oz." The Colombian Theatre, Wamego, Kansas.

The Kansas Ballet Academy performing “The Wizard of Oz.” The Colombian Theatre, Wamego, Kansas.

You can also find out about the Silent Auction of Oz goodies held inside the Colombian Theatre by clicking here.

So come one, come all, and enjoy a very special weekend for the whole family when, once a year, Oz comes to Kansas!