Correction: This article has been updated to include information about the park’s initial operation between 1970 and 1980.
BEECH MOUNTAIN, N.C. (WJZY) – Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high … a “Wizard of Oz”-themed festival is kicking off on a North Carolina mountain.
Land of Oz, in Avery county, is hosting the Autumn at Oz Festival this September, dropping visitors into the center of Oz for food, fun, crafts and an “immersive theatrical experience” — complete with a yellow brick road.
There will also be plenty of photo opportunities, according to Land of Oz.
The park originally opened in June 1970 and was fully operational for about a decade. During that time, a fire destroyed two of the Emerald City-themed buildings in 1975, though new management was able to get Land of Oz up and running again by 1976. The amusement park later shut down completely in 1980.
In the late ’80s, parts of the park had to be demolished because of “excessive vandalism and decay,” Land of Oz North Carolina explains. “However, much of the park was saved including the Gale farmhouse, barn, and most of the yellow brick road.”
In 1988, a group of former employees banded together to bring back the Oz experience every year with the Autumn at Oz Festival.
For a limited time, the Land of Oz Theme Park will be open to the public on the following days this in 2023:
- Sept. 8-10
- Sept. 15-17
- Sept. 22-24
This year’s “Autumn at Oz Festival” marks the park’s 30th anniversary. Tickets go on sale sometime in late June. (The exact date of the sale has not yet been announced.)
Despite being “not a fully functioning theme park,” Officials advise that Land of Oz is located on private property, and those arriving onsite after hours, or without tickets or advanced approval, will be considered trespassers.