Fans of L. Frank Baum’s masterpiece come to Wamego because it is here in the Oz Museum that they find the world’s largest collection of Wizard of Oz memorabilia. More than 2,000 items include original costume items worn by the Munchkins and the Wicked Witch of the East’s original death certificate signed by the coroner.
There’s a pair of ruby slippers covered with about 3,500 Swarovski crystals, but they were never worn by Judy Garland. This pair was created in 1989 for the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1939 movie classic.
Did you ever wonder how they got those monkeys to fly? They were a bunch of little hand-painted miniature monkeys, about 3 inches high, that were draped over a backdrop. A couple of the original flying monkeys can be found here in Wamego Kansas.
You’ll see autographs from the actors who played Uncle Henry and Auntie Em along with production notes and sketches and very rare movie posters.
Each year near the end of September, there’s an Oz Festival that includes Dorothy and Toto look-alike contest and relatives of the late L. Frank Baum on hand, along with Glenda the Good Witch roaming the streets of Wamego on the look out for the Wicked Witch of the West.
Auntie Em’s Gift Shop carries just about every Wizard of Oz souvenir you can imagine – some cheap and tacky, but others expensive works of art.
There’s also an Oz Winery in Wamego with some really fun labels and surprisingly flavorful wines made from grapes grown in Kansas. Toto has his own label, as does Uncle Henry. My favorite is the Squished Witch Red, a fruity, semi-sweet red. Another red promises to “curl your stockings.”
Serve these wines at your next Wizard of Oz watch party or wine tasting event and you will certainly be declared Oz, the Great and Powerful.