Celebration Especially for 'Oz' Fans at Beech Mountain
Follow the yellow brick road this fall to the 15th annual Autumn at Oz celebration, Oct. 4-5 high atop Beech Mountain, near Boone.
This celebration, which pays homage to the Land of Oz theme park that operated on Beech Mountain from 1970-80, allows visitors to take a nostalgic stroll through Oz while meeting Dorothy and friends. The essence of the theme park remains, including the fountain, overlook gazebo, Uncle Henry's barn, Dorothy's house, and, yes, The Yellow Brick Road.
Since its modest beginnings in 1994, Autumn at Oz has grown from a one-day reunion event of 500 people -- mostly park employees, to a two-day celebration drawing several thousand visitors.
"We get a lot of people who came to the park years ago, and a lot who want to come for the first time and walk The Yellow Brick Road," says event coordinator Cindy Keller. "The natural topography of Beech Mountain with its high elevation, gnarly trees and swirling clouds creates a mystical setting. It's enchanting and reminiscent of a much simpler time."
Attendees park in the Town of Beech Mountain and are transported to Emerald Mountain via a hayride or shuttle. Autumn at Oz includes photo opportunities with the characters, a mini Oz museum, magic shows and face painting. Food vendors sell such delicacies as Oz dogs and Uncle Henry's barbecue, while souvenir vendors offer Oz collectibles and memorabilia. Most years, an actor from the original movie serves as guest of honor.
"We encourage people to dress up in costume or wear something Oz-ly," Keller says. "It's unique. I don't know of any other yellow brick roads where kids can interact with the characters in the Land of Oz."
Autumn at Oz hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Tickets are $15 per person and include parking, hayride or shuttle, and admission. A portion of the proceeds goes toward restoring the park for future celebrations. Folks are also encouraged to donate artifacts or any original memorabilia from the Land of Oz theme park.
For information, call the Beech Mountain Chamber at (800) 468-5506 or visit www.beechmtn.com.
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