On June 10, 1922, Frances Ethel Gumm was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. From her small town roots she would go on to become one of the world’s most recognizable entertainers. Of course, most knew her by her stage name: Judy Garland.
Judy started in entertainment at an early age, singing with her family members as the Gumm Sisters when she was just two years old. The family would move to Los Angeles when Judy was just four years old. Nevertheless, many Grand Rapids locals don’t want the world to forget that Judy Garland was born right here in Minnesota.
The home where Judy Garland lived for a short period of time has been restored to its condition in the early 1920s. It now houses the Judy Garland Museum, which includes many items and memorabilia from her Hollywood career. Each summer, the museum organizes an annual celebration of Garland. This year takes on special importance for fans, however, as the week-long festival will recognize the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz.
This year’s event has been renamed The Wizard of Oz Festival and events will take place in Grand Rapids from Tuesday, June 10 through Sunday, June 15. A number of special events have been planned:
- A Guinness Book of World Record attempt for the most fully costumed Wizard of Oz characters in one place at the opening of a new 3,000-item Wizard of Oz exhibit at the Judy Garland Museum.
- Items from the film will be on display, which include the original carriage that took Dorothy and her friends to the Emerald City, Dorothy’s Adrian-designed 1938 pinafore test dress, Oz set design watercolors from 1938, original lobby posters and lobby cards, and an original Winkie Guard spear used at the Wicked Witch of the West’s castle among many other items.
- A youth talent contest will be judged by Judy Garland’s son, Joe Luft.
- The Emerald City Fest will include Horse of a Different Color Carriage Rides.
- And don’t miss the Toto dog talent contest.
Grand Rapids is located three hours north of the Twin Cities. Make the most of the stay, as you will also be just an hour’s drive from Lake Superior to the east, and the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park to the southwest.