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Peekskill Kids 'Follow Yellow Brick Road' To First Wiz-Fest

The tin man helps Bianca Flores (left), Janelle Robertson (center) and Lacey Carr (second from right) get set up. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
The all powerful Wizard of OZ (second from left) admits he takes directions from Wiz-Fest creator Scarlett Antonia (second from right). Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Janelle (left) and her mom, Meggan enjoy hot dogs, entertainment and face painting at Wiz-Fest. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Bianca Flores with her mother, Brenda Torres. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Bianca Flores (left) and Janelle Robertson (center) lives in Peekskill, and Lacey Carr (right) lives in Croton. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Scarlett Antonia (second from right) with two of her Wiz Kids Stasik Winderbaum (center) of Peekskill and Rachael Kikoler (right) of Montrose. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Photo Credit: Journey to OZ Facebook Page.

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – With the help of the scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion, three young ladies were granted their wish to sing “Wizard of Oz” songs karaoke style at the first Wiz-Fest in Peekskill on Saturday. It continues Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

Lacey Carr, Janelle Robertson and Bianca Flores came together to sing Saturday. Janelle’s mother, Meggan, a Peekskill resident, was surprised to see her daughter join the others and belt out lyrics like a karaoke queen.

“I thought she’d be shy, but maybe she is ready to be a singer,” she said.

Peekskill’s Flores is definitely ready to be a singer, dancer and anything else that puts her on a stage. The grade schooler has already won the 2014 Little Miss Hispanic American and proudly wore her sash Saturday.

Lastly, Croton resident Carr is a big “Wizard of OZ” fan. While she may be too young to appreciate Peekskill’s fabled connection to L. Frank Baum and his “yellow brick road,” she sure does like Dorothy’s red slippers.

“They don’t understand. The ruby slippers is what they want,” Carr’s mother, Eileen Rappaport, said. “She’s having a ball. She traded the park for this.”

The story oft told is that a 12-year-old Baum, on his way to military school in Peekskill, asked for directions and was told to “follow the yellow brick road.”

“It’s a great story. I don’t know if it’s true, but I want it to be,” said Brian Snee, an associates director and chair of the Department of Communication Studies at Manhattanville College who recently moved to Peekskill.

What Snee does know is the Wiz-Fest was a can’t miss event for his fiancée’s daughter, Emma, 3, who dressed as Dorothy for Halloween last year.

The Wiz-Fest is part of “ Peekskill’s Journey to O z,” the creation of local director and choreographer Scarlett Antonia. Her non-profit Antonia Arts, Inc . sponsors the project, which will also feature a full production of “The Wizard of Oz” at the Paramount Theater in January.

Antonia is holding auditions in September, with rehearsals slated for October. To audition contact her at 914-930-7588 or (

Little kids weren’t the only ones enjoying the Wiz-Fest Saturday. “Wiz Kid” Rachael Kikoler of Montrose performed a monologue she wrote about the movie.

“It was really fun,” she said. “There’s a lot of ‘Wizard of Oz’ stuff going on and it’s was really cool to do a festival like this. We’re hoping to do more in the future.”

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