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Something OzSome: The 2019 San Diego County Fair

Guest contributor J. Dianne Dotson takes us to the 2019 San Diego County Fair.

This year marked my very first visit to the San Diego County Fair. I ordinarily would not sign up for long traffic lines to go to any fair, anywhere. But nostalgia crept in. I grew up close to the Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tennessee. So I had fond memories of cotton candy, nauseating rides, baby ducks, and seeing my friends. When I realized the Del Mar Fair had an Oz theme this year, I felt my past and present collide: my lifelong love for all things Oz, and my younger child’s field trip to the fair. I knew I had to go.

To give you some context, the San Diego County fair in Del Mar, California is immense. It attracts a huge audience for its run over a period of weeks every year. So imagine my utter delight when I discovered that Oz would be on display everywhere…and it did not focus on the 1939 film, but on Baum’s actual Oz books! You can see them over the gate as you exit, as well as in an educational exhibit.

There was an L. Frank Baum exhibit, and the backs of the displays were giant Oz book covers. Each display gave insightful information about Baum’s history, the stories, and the illustrators of his books. And the purist in me absolutely adored the silver shoe display! I think most people today do not realize that Dorothy’s shoes were actually silver in the books.

I also loved the lighting of this space, which captured everything from the twister to the moods of various Oz locales.

Very “Ozzy” characters roamed the fairgrounds as well.

So much love and care were put into the San Diego County Fair Oz displays. I felt truly seen as a hardcore Oz fan, and absolutely delighted that people of all ages learned more about L. Frank Baum and his Oz books.

My thanks to Dianne for sharing her photos and report.  Jane

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Written by Jane Albright
Currently president of the International Wizard of Oz Club, Jane is a life-long Oz fan. She's attended Oz events around the country regularly since 1974 and amassed an Oz collection that ranges from antiquarian books, original artwork, and ephemera to children's playthings, posters, and housewares. In addition to speaking frequently about Oz, Jane has loaned Oz material to numerous public exhibitions.

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