BEECH MOUNTAIN — For many it can be hard to escape the mundane tasks of the day-to-day. However, at the high elevation of Beech Mountain visitors can step into the Land of Oz for a day.
Autumn at Oz happened once every year in the past, but this is the first year that it will happen two back-to-back weekends.
The first weekend of Autumn at Oz took place on Sept. 6 to 8, with the theme park opening an unprecedented second time this weekend, Sept. 13 to 15.
For the first open weekend, the weather was gorgeous with no sign of a twister in sight, but the team that worked tirelessly to create the event made the atmosphere so much like the epic story of Dorothy and her friends that every guest might wonder if one would appear.
“The event is at any given moment you walk in,” artistic director Sean Barrett said. “You get thrown into the story and the movie, and it begins to happen around you.”
The event not just looks like the movie, but it is also the first time since 1970 that this amount of Oz memorabilia is all housed in the same space, currently available for viewing a short shuttle ride from from the theme park at the Beech Mountain Historical Society Museum.
Autumn at Oz includes relics from the iconic movie starring Judy Garland, as well as a petting zoo, characters from the movie and meet-and-greets. The event also has vendors, face painting and food.
Walter Krueger, founder of Wizard of Oz Collectors United, is one of the largest Oz collectors in the world. Some of his most famous memorable items were on display within the museum and could be seen throughout the weekend.
“Being here is an overwhelming feeling of joy and innocence,” Krueger said. And if you have ever gone searching for your heart’s desire and never knew where to start — this is it.”
Krueger, Barrett and their team created an experience that strove to embody the feeling of “The Wizard of Oz”.
The second weekend of Autumn at Oz takes place this Friday to Sunday, Sept. 13 to 15. For more information on Autumn at Oz, click to www.landofoznc.com/autumnatoz.