The annual Oz Days in New London proved the 1939 film, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” still has plenty of fans almost 80 years after it hit the big screen.

The annual Oz Days in New London proved the 1939 film, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” still has plenty of fans almost 80 years after it hit the big screen. 

People of all ages arrived at the Old School Event Center and the adjacent New London City Park for this year's weekend celebration.

The costumed Spirit of Oz performers came from Indianapolis to meet area residents and visitors from several states.

Parents shared Oz enthusiasm with their children, several of whom reported watching the movie many times with their parents and/or grandparents. 

Children participated in costume contests like the Little Miss Dorothy competition. 

Evie Weyand, 3, the daughter of J.C. and Mariah Weyand, of Hannibal, won the age 1 to 6 division. When the judges asked her name, Evie said, “Dorothy Gale from Kansas,” adding, “There's no place like home” three times.

Evie's family said they had taken her to three Oz stage productions, in St. Louis, Kansas City and Clarksville. 

The Dorothy contest for older girls was won by Kiley Morris, 10, the daughter of Clarence Morris and Michelle Garnett, of Columbia. She brought her pet yorkie, Teddy, to represent Toto.

Kiley said she had been preparing for the contest for a long time. “Mom glittered my shoes, and we ordered the socks and bows.”

Another contest offered the costumed children an opportunity to share their favorite part of the movie as they were judged portraying their favorite Oz character. Eight-year-old Evie Walker, of Maplewood, took home the grand prize dressed as a Tingirl.

Sisters Piper Ross, 5, and Raelin Ross, 8, of Indianola, Iowa, both were dressed as Glinda, the Good Witch of the South.

Additional contests were scheduled for boys, babies and adults.

Between contests, the children and adults watched an Oz puppet show, which had been scheduled in the park but was moved indoors due to the wind. 

After the puppet show, the puppeteer posed for photos with the puppets. Eli Wood, 8, of Fulton, took his own photos of the puppets and puppeteer.

Games and activities for children were offered in the park, and some had faces painted, including Hays Frericks, 6, and his brother, Lincoln, 3.

Patricia Wilson, an Oz fan from Toronto, Canada, visited New London for the first time and came to meet her friend, Celeste Hertz, a collector and dealer with a booth.

Hertz, of Alton, Illinois, said her parents had taken her to see Oz as a young child and, “I got to know the Munchkins,” who have since all died.

Oz collector Deborah Burdick, of Denver, said she came to see “this beautiful small town” and also to meet her collecting friends. 

Among the booths in “Dorothy's Marketplace” displaying Oz paraphernalia was a jewelry booth manned by Linda Robbins, of Laddonia, and Michelle Talbert, of Vandalia, both dressed as Dorothy.

See photo gallery for more pictures of Oz Days. 

bev.darr@courierpost.com