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Fourth Annual Oz Ball at Buckeye Recreation Center on Beech Mountain September 14

Attendees at Oz Ball 2016

By Joe Johnson

Come dance to the music of The Collective at the 4th Annual Oz Ball Saturday, September 14th from 6-8pm at the Buckeye Recreation Center on Beech Mountain. Dress as your favorite character from the Wizard of Oz, or come as you are!

            The Collective, a local rock-and-roll band famous for their danceable tunes, will perform music throughout the event. Dave Calvert of The Collective also owns Carolina Barbecue, which will be catering the event with delicious North Carolina BBQ.

            The Oz Ball is held every year as a supplementary event during the Autumn of Oz events held at the Land of Oz in Beech Mountain. The Oz Ball is a completely separate event from the other Oz events in Beech Mountain; one does not have to attend any other Oz-related event to attend the Oz Ball. “Every year we have people who come up to the Oz Ball who didn’t attend the Autumn at Oz events,” said Kate Gavenus, Director of Tourism and Economic Development for the Town of Beech Mountain, “They like barbecue, music, and dancing; it’s just a fun time!”

            The Oz Ball was started four years ago by the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce as a casual event centered on the Wizard of Oz for those who have already attended Autumn at Oz or couldn’t make it to the other events. “Four years ago, we realized people came up here and went to the Land of Oz during Autumn at Oz and had nothing else to do after the event. So, we started the Oz Ball so that families, kids, and people of all ages would have something to do,” said Gavenus, “We do it BYOB, so if you want to have a drink, you can have a drink, but most people are coming and bringing their kids or coming to dance in their Toto costumes! Every year we have seven or eight people dressed as Dorothy and a smattering of every other character. I always come at something odd; I was a munchkin last week, I’ll be an apple this week and I was a crow last year. I come as a bit player, that’s my role.”

            Gavenus emphasized the work that goes into Oz Ball venue preparations; in years past, the Beech Mountain Club Pavilion was the location for the ball, but this year, the Rec Center will serve as the location for the magical night at Emerald City. “We’ve managed to make the Rec Center look just like Emerald City!” said Gavenus.

            There is no obligation for attendees to dress up as their favorite Wizard of Oz character; one can wear whatever outfit they would like to the Oz Ball. However, costumes always add to the wonder and fun of the night’s festivities, plus, every year there is a conga line called the “Parade of Costumes” for everyone in costume to participate in!

This year’s Autumn at Oz events have also been a major success; 8500 attendees have come to the events thus far and 250 tickets are still available for Friday and Sunday events at https://www.landofoznc.com/autumnatoz.

            Tickets for the fourth annual Oz Ball are $25 for adults and $13 for children under 15 years of age. Tickets are available at www.beechmtnchamber.com.

For more information about the Oz Ball, call 828-387-9283.