In Grand Rapids, Minnesota, "The Wizard of Oz" is a big deal. The city of 10,000 people in northeastern Minnesota is the birthplace of "Oz" star Judy Garland, who was born Frances Ethel Gumm in 1922. Her childhood home is now the Judy Garland Museum, and this weekend caps the yearly celebration in Grand Rapids of all things Oz.
To mark the 75th anniversary of the film's release, organizers of "Wizard of Oz Days" were hoping to attract enough people to set a new Guinness Book world record for the highest number of people dressed as "Wizard of Oz" characters in a single place. Wouldn't you know, they did it.
Organizers say 1,150 people dressed up as the movie's characters Friday evening, smashing the current record of 466 people, the Northland News Center reports. There were dozens of Dorothys, Tin Men, Lions, Scarecrows and Wicked Witches. Some wore their own costumes, but for those who didn't have the right garb, costumes were available for sale on site.
The Guinness Book of World Records required that the participants be dressed in costume and be in the same location for five minutes. Organizers plan to submit documentation to the Guinness organization to make the record official.
The event capped off a week-long series of events celebrating the classic movie, and what would have been Judy Garland's 92nd birthday.
MPR News produced a photo gallery of the festivities.
The world-record gathering was also a fundraiser for the Itasca County Habitat for Humanity, the Grand Rapids Herald-Review reports.
Taking to heart the most famous line of the film, “There’s no place like home,” the Judy Garland Museum is working with the local Habitat group on their upcoming construction project in July.
Warner Bros. has partnered with Habitat for Humanity on a year-long "There's No Place Like Home" fundraising campaign to mark the film's anniversary, donating to local Habitat affiliates throughout the country to help provide affordable housing for people in need.