On August 6, 2022 Antonia Arts will be holding a city-wide event with the hub of the festivities taking place on South Street in Downtown Peekskill, entitled, “The OZLand Festival.” The “Wizard of Oz” theme is of great importance to Founder and Executive Director of non-profit organization Antonia Arts, located at 925 South Street in downtown Peekskill, Scarlett Antonia, who produced “The Wizard of Oz” at the Paramount Theater in Peekskill, to a sold-out audience in 2015, with four performances and two encore performances.
In fact, Peekskill holds quite a history with the “Wizard of Oz” theme, as L. Frank Baum, the creator of “The Wizard of OZ”, attended military academy here as a youth, and later returned as a writer and actor. Baum performed with the first “Wizard of Oz” production in Peekskill at the Colonial Theater to sold-out houses. Many even believe that Baum got his inspiration for the infamous “Yellow Brick Road” right here in Peekskill. Peekskill Historian, John J. Curran, backs this belief with the knowledge pulled from evidence of maps of Peekskill dating back to 1837 and 1867, by Sanborn Insurance Maps, in which Peekskill has a road of yellow brick pavement, located in what was once named West Street, dating to the 1830s or before. That road once extended onto the lower dock, leading to Water Street, where the yellow bricks can currently be seen behind Dylan’s Wine Cellar.
The OZLand Festival will feature an array of family entertainment, including art, poetry, film, dancing, “Witch’s Brew” at local restaurants, line dancing, Zumba, the Wiz Kidz performance troupe, Story Telling, Theater, Face Painting, Singers, Bands, and “The Wizard of Oz” films. Antonia has coined Peekskill as “The Emerald City of Oz”, where people from all walks of life can come together and follow their dreams “Over the Rainbow.” Antonia has always believed Peekskill to be a magical place to meet new friends, have fun, stay creative and young at heart, and follow your dreams and passions.
Antonia also believes that Peekskill is a place that can provide people with hope for a better future. Antonia herself went through a recent period of many moves, health issues, and financial loss, and a new journey began for her with the gift and blessing of a $100 bill from a friend. Since then Antonia’s belief of never giving up has strengthened, and she continues to create and help others to find their true purpose and pursue their dreams.
The message of the OZLand Festival is to enjoy life’s journey, welcome and meet new friends, and most of all, be thankful and have fun! All ages are welcome. Keep hope and your dreams alive in Peekskill-The “Emerald City” of Oz!