BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - May 13, 2014) - Seventy-five years ago, Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion hit the big screen in the famous musical film "The Wizard of Oz." This year, 2014, marks the 75th anniversary of this much-beloved classic. Although the movie was released in 1939, the film was adapted from the 1900 children's novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum, who was born on May 15th, 1856. So in honor of the movie's milestone anniversary and its creator's birthday this week, the travel experts at Cheapflights.com, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, take you on a stroll down the yellow brick road to discover the Top 10 Wizard of Oz Destinations.
In celebration of this classic piece of cinematic history, here is a selection of five destinations from our list that every Wizard of Oz fan should visit:
- Wamego, Kansas, United States - You can't have the Wizard of Oz without Kansas so it's fitting that both a Wizard of Oz Museum and festival are found in the state. The small town of Wamego is as close to a living Oz shrine as you can get with local businesses and residents getting in on the act. Founded in 2004, the Oz Museum holds more than 25,000 Oz and L. Frank Baum artifacts featuring everything from first edition books to rare collectibles. OZtoberFest was launched in autumn of 2005 and is built around all the works of L. Frank Baum. This year's schedule hasn't been released yet, but you can expect special guests, performances, parties, fairs and contests.
- Sony Pictures Studios (MGM Studios), Culver City, California, United States - Take a step back in time and into the footsteps of the 1939 Oz cast and crew with a tour of Sony Pictures Studios. While it was called MGM Studios back in the day, this is where the Yellow Brick Road wound through Munchkinland and the land of Oz was brought to life. Tour the working studio to find out all about the glory days of MGM and visit the soundstages and sets used for your favorite productions all the way up to the present day.
- "Wicked," Worldwide - A revisionist prequel to Oz, the musical "Wicked" tells the untold story of the witches of Oz. Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, the wildly popular musical traces how a young witch called Elphaba (the phonetic pronunciation of L. Frank Baum's initials) became the Wicked Witch of the West. "Wicked" premiered on Broadway in October 2003 and since then has gone on to play in theaters around the world building a dedicated fan base along the way.
- Chittenango, New York, United States - Located in Madison County, New York, the village of Chittenango has a population of more than 5,000 and is the birthplace of "Wonderful Wizard of Oz" author L. Frank Baum. In honor of its most famous son, Chittenango hosts an annual three-day festival called Oz-Stravaganza! (formerly Oz Fest) over the first weekend of June. This year's festival theme is Timeless Oz and will be held from June 6-8. Residents and visitors will make a World Record attempt for the most people dressed as characters from The Wizard of Oz. Aside from the festival, the Oz theme continues to several local shops such as Auntie Em's Place, Over the Rainbow Crafts, Tin Man Construction, Emerald City Grill and Emerald City Bowling and the downtown section of Genesee Street -- the town's very own Yellow Brick Road.
- Autumn at Oz, Beech Mountain, North Carolina, United States - In its 1970s heyday, the Oz-themed Beech Mountain theme park attracted around 20,000 visitors a day. Based on the books rather than the film, families came every summer to follow the Yellow Brick Road and hang out with Dorothy and her friends until a fire destroyed the Emerald City in 1976 and it was eventually abandoned. The park stayed this way for many years and was picked over by vandals until a group of former employees got together to repair and reopen the Land of Oz. For the last 21 years the park has opened for one weekend a year for an event called "Autumn at Oz." This year's event will be held from Oct. 4-5. Tickets go on sale in July and there are guided tours of Oz taking place every Friday in June.
For more "Over the Rainbow" memories, check out these five must-see Wizard of Oz spots that round out our list: "Wizard of Oz Musical," North America; The Ruby Slippers, National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, United States; Judy Garland Museum, Grand Rapids, Minnesota, United States; Hollywood Walk of Fame, LA, California, United States; and Hollywood Forever Cemetery, LA, California, United States. To find out more details on these and to read Cheapflights.com's complete Top 10 Wizard of Oz Destinations, visit to www.cheapflights.com/news/top-10-wizard-of-oz-destinations.
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