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 Oz,” 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.
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.”