The streets of Coronado were peppered with tin men, witches, and ruby slippers during Coronado’s Oz Con International, a weeklong celebration of all things Oz. Coronado’s Oz Con was scheduled to precede the 50th annual Winkie Con, a prominent Oz-lovers’ convention that was held in San Diego for the first time this year.
The Coronado Public Library kicked off the celebration with an opening reception, where attendees viewed an exhibit that included Oz book illustrations and graphic novel art from Eisner Award-winning illustrator Eric Shanower and selections from the extensive L. Frank Baum and Oz collections of Winkie Con producer David Maxine.
Angelica Carpenter, who gave the opening address, enthralled guests with a complete history of L. Frank Baum. She is a former International Wizard of Oz president and has penned four biographies of authors for young people, including L. Frank Baum: Royal Historian of Oz (with Jean Shirley). Carpenter shared fascinating facts on Baum’s life. For example: Despite a thriving literary career (he wrote 55 books, numerous short stories, and poetry throughout his life), Baum frequently found himself struggling financially. Whenever he needed to pull himself out of debt, Baum simply wrote another Oz book and made himself a pretty penny. He wrote a total of 14 Oz books.
Other Oz Con attractions included Celebrate Oz!, a community festival held in Spreckels Park, performances of Journey Through Oz: A Musical Cabaret” by the Coronado Playhouse, and walking tours with Oz-related stops in Coronado (such as the L. Frank Baum house and the Hotel del Coronado, where Baum was a frequent guest) presented by the Coronado Historical Association.
The week culminated with screenings of the digitally remastered 75th anniversary edition of The Wizard of Oz in 3D at the Village Theatres, a presentation of the Coronado Island Film Festival. The first showing sold out so quickly that a second was added; it sold all but the last two tickets.