Last Friday, Aug. 25, marked the 78th anniversary of the release of “The Wizard of Oz,” making the event timely.

There was no mistaking the Nelsons — Mom Sandi and twin brother and sister Jared and Jordyn, 14 — as huge fans of the beloved 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz.”

Saturday, they dressed in character, along with dozens of other devoted fans, at the first Wizard of Oz Days at the New London City Park. Sandi was the Scarecrow, Jordyn played Dorothy and Jared was dressed in a hot-looking Tin Man suit, complete with silver electrical tape around his arms and calves to hold the outfit in place.

Sandi Nelson says her fondness for the movie is a family thing. Her mother was named for Judy Garland. The “Wizard of Oz” was part of the Sandi’s childhood household.

“This is how we celebrate her,” Sandi said of her mother as the family walked around the park grounds.

Last Friday, Aug. 25, marked the 78th anniversary of the release of “The Wizard of Oz,” making the event timely.

The festival is the brainchild of Jackson Bishop, who moved to New London from Clarksville to launch New London’s Old School Marketplace, which opened three months ago. He staged an Oz festival for three years in Clarksville, but the event has now followed him to New London. The first edition of the Festival in New London drew more than 1,600 people. He said that New London seemed like a “good fit” for the show and he is pleased with the first year.

“I am happy with the turnout,” Bishop said. “We had a lot of locals here this weekend, and I already have calls from people saying they would like to volunteer for next year.”

Throughout the Saturday and Sunday event, performers from the Spirit of Oz, a national touring group based in Kokomo, In., entertained as Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, Glinda the Good Witch, the Tin man and the Wicked Witch of the West. As the entertainers performed songs from the movie. Many in the audience knew each lyric and sang along. Other performers included the Wizard of Oz Marionette Puppet Show.

All around the grounds, families were dressed in character, with many little girls dressed as Dorothy.

Tatem Conrad, 7, of Pittsfield was on an outing with her father, dressed as Dorothy. She listened intently to the songs during the performance by the Oz characters. As she posed for a photo after the show, she was asked what she liked best about the Wizard of Oz.

“It’s just fun,” she said.

Not far away, Vera Williams, was with her parents, Jesse and Amanda Williams, also dressed as Dorothy, as were dozens of other young girls. Vera just smiled when asked what she liked about the Oz characters.

Bishop said the people of a certain age recall when “The Wizard of Oz” came on network television once a year, drawing strong ratings. And though the networks no longer run the movie each year, younger generations have become fans.

“This is for the whole family,” he said.