Chesterton, Indiana: Wizard of Oz FestivalThe annual event had been a survivor, at least until 2013, when there was no Wizard of Oz Festival. Originally created because of a popular Wizard of Oz store that was once in town, it also outlasted a museum that came (and went) after the store.
- Just south of I-80 exit 31, on Hwy 49. Festival held during a weekend in September.
- No festival in 2013 (Call to verify)
Wizard of Oz Museum: We were surprised to read of the demise of Indiana's Oz Fest, and of the upcoming shuttering of Chesterton's Wizard of Oz Museum. [12/01/2008] Complete Story...
Visitor Tips and News About Wizard of Oz Festival
Despite earlier reports that the Chesterton Wizard of Oz Festival is dead and gone, the Wizard of Oz Festival WILL IN FACT TAKE PLACE on September 18-20, 2009. The festival, which has been held in recent years at the Porter County Expo Center, will return to its home in downtown Chesterton under new management. The festival, as always, will feature the original actors who played the Munchkins in the 1939 classic film, noted Oz historians, Dorothy and the gang, and several other Oz celebrities. The festival will also feature several Oz-related contests and games as well as Oz, food, and craft vendors.[OzFestivalChesterton.com][Zachary Allen, Oz Fest Committee, 06/28/2009]
This building is no longer open. When we visited on June 5, 2009 there was a sign on their door that posted they have closed the physical shop and are now only online.
"As some of you may have read or heard, we will be closing our store-front on December 31st, 2008. However, we will still have our online store [www.yellowbrickroadonline.com] to meet your Wizard of Oz collectible needs. Not having the physical store will allow us to update and expand our on-line presence. Please rest assured that we are not going 'Out of Business' and instead will just become exclusively on-line."[Sylver Fyre, 06/10/2009]
Three cheers for virtual shopping, but for travelers planning to visit a real museum, sadly these guys are "Out of Business."
Just outside of Valparaiso in a town called Chesterton (rt 49) is the Yellow Brick Road Gift Shop and Museum, which boasts a collection of photographs and homemade Wizard of Oz paraphernalia. The museum is one-room big and only costs a quarter to get into. Outside on the lawn are wooden cutouts of various characters and buildings from the movie. The gift shop is bigger than the museum itself. Be careful not to go on Tuesday, that's new beanie baby day.
In Valparaiso itself is a restaurant called Kelsey's Irish Pub that has a large fiberglass bull next to its sign. Also, Valparaiso is the birthplace of Orville Redenbacher, and every year in September (the weekend after Labor Day) they have a popcorn festival. Valparaiso University is home to the largest chapel on a college campus.[Darlene Maloney, Christine Breecher, 02/27/2000]
Tipster J. Mitchell tells us that Chesterton has no real ties to the Wizard of Oz -- but that the store proved so popular that it spawned a separate annual Wizard of Oz festival, which itself proved so popular that it had to move to a park in Valparaiso.