On August 8-10, 2014, San Diego becomes the Land of Oz when it welcomes the fiftieth annual Winkie Con to the Town and Country Hotel in Mission Valley. “It’s going to be three full days of Wizard of Oz fun,” says Chairman David Maxine who attended his first Winkie Con when he was fourteen years old. “When I was a kid you either knew Oz from L. Frank Baum’s book series or from the Judy Garland film. But now there are so many different kinds of Oz fans! There are Oz comics, new Oz movies, and the hugely popular Wicked books and musical. Winkie Con welcomes Oz fans of all ages—whether they’re seven or seventy-five!”
A highlight of the con will be special guest Priscilla Montgomery. “She was one of the original Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz film when she was only nine years old,” says Maxine. “She isn’t a ‘little person’ like so many of the other Munchkins. But I think her experiences making the movie, when she was herself a child, will create a special connection to the kids attending Winkie Con.”
Other guests include film historian Aljean Harmetz, author of The Making of The Wizard of Oz, and current Oz book authors Edward Einhorn and Sherwood Smith. One exhibit expected to generate a lot of interest will feature more than twenty costumes worn by Judy Garland from the Golden Age of Hollwood. Winkie Con attendees can explore more than fifty daytime presentations on everything from antiquarian book collecting to Oz crafts, from Oz comics to make-up demonstrations, and there’s the Oz Costume Contest on Saturday morning where attendees can dress up as their favorite Oz character and compete for prizes for best costume.
On Saturday evening Winkie Con will present a fully staged performance of the 1913 stage musical The Tik-Tok Man of Oz, featuring a cast of twenty actors and dancers. This performance will bring this vintage musical play full circle, since the script and lyrics were written by Oz creator L. Frank Baum while he was living in Coronado in the early 1900s.
“San Diego is rich in connections to The Wizard of Oz,” says Eric Shanower, Oz illustrator, and writer of the New York Times best-selling series of Oz graphic novels. Shanower will be making an appearance at Winkie Con 50. “L. Frank Baum fell in love with the San Diego area when he first wintered in Coronado in 1904. In one book of his Aunt Jane’s Nieces series he has the girls vacation at the Hotel Del Coronado. In one of his Flying Girl books he celebrates San Diego’s early aviation history. And three of his fantasy novels begin in La Jolla, including one of the Oz books.” To highlight Baum’s Coronado connection, Winkie Con has teamed-up with the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission to develop a week-long Oz festival in Coronado, August 1-7, that will lead up to Winkie Con 50.
If you love The Wizard of Oz—the book or the movie—there’s no better place to be than San Diego this summer. Winkie Con will be an ‘Ozsome’ adventure for the whole family.
Winkie Con 50 runs August 8-10, 2014, at the Town & Country Hotel and Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108. Both three-day and single-day tickets are available. For more information visit us online at: www.ozconinternational.com