Meeting other Oz Club members is a great way to share your enthusiasm for Oz. Sometimes, however, it takes a little initiative. Hosting a local party is not much unlike hosting any other party. Here are some tips to get you started. (Proven tips, at that; the Oogaboo Rendezvous local gathering has been meeting for more than 30 years, following these simple guidelines.)
Plan: First find a date that works for you. If there’s a local Oz exhibit, presentation, or performance, consider attending as a group to help attract people to the event. Check the calendar for holiday conflicts, and determine what style of party you’d like to have: a pot luck at your home, a film shown in a library’s meeting room, a fast-food meal following a matinee? Anything you’ll want guests to come prepared to do—wear a favorite Oz T-shirt, bring something for show-and-tell, contribute a wrapped gift for an Ozzy exchange—will need to be included in your invitation.
Place: If you aren’t planning on using your own home as a meeting place, check local libraries and community centers for a room you could use. When looking at public facilities, make a note of available parking and ask what the guidelines are for serving food. Audiovisual equipment is not always available, or might require usage fees; be sure to ask if you’re thinking about including any kind of presentation.
Invitation: Prepare to spread the word! Write an invitation. This can be a flyer or traditional invitation card. Email and social media are wonderful tools to spread word if there are fans you already know.
-IWOC members: Write the Club administrator to get addresses or email addresses for people in your area. (Admin@OzClub.org)
-If you’d like to appeal to Oz fans who might not be members of the IWOC, find out if flyers can be posted in libraries, bookstores, comic shops, and antique malls, on campus bulletin boards, or other places where you suspect like-minded Oz fans might be found.
Party: Prepare displays, decorations, prizes, music, refreshments, or other activities. Plan an icebreaker or other game—put names of Oz characters on guests’ backs as they arrive, for example, and have them ask yes/no questions to figure out who they are. A round of introductions or a show-and-tell time also does the trick. Pass out a quiz with Oz questions; if you have a theme for your quiz, be sure to include it in your invitation so people can brush up. If you’re showing a film or having some other prepared presentation, keep an eye on the clock; you don’t want to get it started so late your guests can’t stay through the conclusion.
Your party can be as simple or as elaborate as you like! All kinds of information can be found online using a quick search for Wizard of Oz theme parties.
Encore: While your guests surround you, be sure to propose the next gathering for the group. If people are interested, plan a tentative date and talk about who might host it and where. Gather contact information for everyone who came, and encourage them to invite other Oz-loving friends in the future. Involve more people by asking for volunteers to contribute next time. Someone could think of a game or write a quiz, set up a display of material from their Oz collection, offer to speak about a topic of particular interest, create decorations, or contribute food. Get people interested in the next event before the current one is even over.