We’re Off to See the Wizard
This week, we went down the Yellow Brick Road and visited Oz. Located on Beech Mountain in Western NC, the Land of Oz was a popular theme park open from 1970 – 1980. Shuttered for years, it is now known for an annual, 2-day fall event. But this June, they are hosting tours on Fridays at 12 and 2.
For an entertaining, kitschy peek behind the Wizard’s curtain, it’s well worth the trip and the $10 fee. To begin with you have to get a ski lift ticket and ride to the top of Beech Mountain (also $10), which offers great views in all directions.
Once greeted by the Mayor and paying your admission, you are off to Dorothy’s farmhouse (built to a 5/8 scale); and then, off down the Yellow Brick Road. For the June tours, guests help out by playing some of the popular parts to support Dorothy, who leads the group while performing admirably along the way. The vast collection of movie memorabilia is interesting, even if the interior of the house is a bit musty. Wear good, comfortable shoes, the venue is definitely NOT handicapped accessible and at one point you are walking in near darkness down a ramp to simulate getting to the basement to hide-out before the tornado hits.
It‘s all in good, campy, nostalgic fun for adults and kids.
Need to know:
The tours are run by a local realty group that owns the property www.emeraldmtn.com 828-387-2000. This year’s fall event will be held October 4 & 5; if past year’s is an indicator, 7,000 are expected to attend. For info about the fall event check out www.autumnatoz.com. The ski lift can be little scary, but is fun. There are restrooms near the lift station and more at the top near the “bar” area where you gather prior to the tour. You can purchase sodas and water at the bar. Tours last about 1 hour and there are no facilities along the Yellow Brick Road.