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Judy Garland Festival 2024 Events

Thursday, June 20th

9:30am - Special Access Guided Tour with John Kelsch at museum

  • Join 37-year Judy Garland authority with a guided tour of the museum gallery, house, and archives white glove experience. 

11:30 am- 3:30pm - Judy Garland movies playing in the party room at the museum

6:00pm - Welcome Reception at Rapids Brewing Company in Private Room

https://www.rapidsbrewingco.com/ 

  • Enjoy light snacks, refreshments, and musical entertainment while sitting in the exact location of where Judy's first performance happened and the site where Judy's parents "New Grand Theatre" was located. 

Please note, all plans are subject to change

We recommend purchasing a museum membership so daily admissions are waived and to save 15% on event activities. 

 

Friday, June 21st

~Themed Dress Up Day- "The Wizard of Oz"

(Prizes each day for best dressed, voted on by the attendees)

9:30am -Special Access Guided Tour with John Kelsch at museum

  • Join 37-year Judy Garland authority with a guided tour of the museum gallery, house, and archives white glove experience

10:30am- 4:00pm -Wizard of Oz Interactive Mystery with immersive performance from "Live History"

  • Live History is a theatre company that specializes in bringing your local history to life. Our shows take audiences on a one hour adventure through time. Audiences will experience a full tour of the location while interacting with characters, and assisting them in solving an urgent issue that can only be resolved with the audiences' help.
    * Groups can go through at any point during the time frame.

 www.livehistoryshows.com

11:30am – Presentation- My Adventures on the Way to Oz

  • Author Michelle Russell presenting on Judy's life in her early years

1:30pm – Presentation- Judy and the Great Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio

  • Join 37-year Judy Garland authority John Kelsch for a presentation with content from Judy's signing with MGM, to the rise of and fall of MGM studios. 

3:30pm - Movie Showing: "JUDY GARLAND: THE CONCERT YEARS"

  • To prepare for Fricke Presentation on Saturday (not required but recommended). No pre-registration required. 

7:00pm – Social at Klockow Brewing

https://klockowbrewing.com/

  • Join fans for Judy Bingo "BARGO" at another local establishment and enjoy their Lions Courage brew.
  • They have a stage, so maybe you can get up and belt some Judy songs for all to enjoy!

9:00pm/Dusk – FREE outdoor showing of "The Wizard of Oz" at Pokegama Dam (34385 U.S. HWY 2, Grand Rapids MN 55744

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/233588 

  • Curl up in cozy blanket overlooking the might Mississippi River while watching "The Wizard of Oz"
  • Popcorn available, dress warm! 
  • No pre-registration needed, just show up

Please note, all plans are subject to change

We recommend purchasing a museum membership so daily admissions are waived and to save 15% on event activities. 

Food trucks on site from 11am till 6pm

Saturday, June 22nd

~Themed Dress Up Day- Judy Through the Eras~

(dress in your favorite Judy character or supporting character, prizes for the best dressed, voted on by attendees)

8:30am  - Dash for the Ruby Slippers 5K Run/Walk

  • Day of registration begins at 7:30am, we highly recommend pre-registering. There is a separate online registration for this event
  • All ages welcome to join and dress in your best Wizard of Oz costume and red running shoes 

9:30am – Special Access Guided Tour with John Kelsch

  • Join 37-year Judy Garland authority with a guided tour of the museum gallery, house, and archives white glove experience.

10:30am- 4:30pm- Judy Through the Eras Interactive Mystery with immersive performance with Live History 

  • Live History is a theatre company that specializes in bringing your local history to life. Our shows take audiences on a one-hour adventure through time. Audiences will experience a full tour of the location while interacting with the characters and assisting them in solving an urgent issue that can only be resolved with the audiences' help.
    * Groups can go through at any point in the time frame.

 www.livehistoryshows.com

10:30am - Presentation- The Gumm Family's Musical Journey

  • Join author Michelle Russell as she shares her in-depth knowledge and research of Judy's family.  

1:30pm – John Fricke Presentation- Legends & Loonies & Lies, Oh My!

  • It's the 85th Anniversary of Judy's iconic film The Wizard of Oz! 
    • To celebrate, award-winning producer/author/historian John Fricke discusses all the rumors and -- inaccurate! -- horror stories about its making. (Be aware: social media has a LOT for which to answer!) Bring your own questions about this topic, too, as you'll be invited to ask them... and celebrate the happiness and magic of this year's Garland/Oz event!

3pm – John Fricke Presentation- Judy Garland: The Concert Years-- Another Judy Anniversary! 

  • Thirty-five years ago, this autumn, John Fricke was signed by PBS-TV to serve as "creative consultant" for the first TV documentary/retrospective ever produced to honor Judy's adult concert and television performances. The subsequent telecast reestablished Judy's post-MGM and A Star is Born reputation as nothing else could have.
    • Learn about all the behind-the-scenes joys, dramas, traumas, and glories -- and hear about the interviews with Tony Bennett, Alan King, Melissa Manchester, Lorna, Joey and Sid Luft, Nelson Riddle, and others.  Here's the chance to experience the memories with John: he was there!

6:00pm – Vigil in the Judy House 

  • This year marks 55 years since Judy Garland passed away
  • Commemorate her life and legacy with musical guest, Josh Gallagher 

8:00pm - 11:00 pm Judy Through the Eras Party Bus Tour with "Joyride"

  • Bus will load at Hotel Rapids

https://www.hotelrapids.com/ 

  • This is a party bus, so alcohol is allowed on the bus with a safe, sober driver
  • Get the tour Hometown Judy tour with possible stops along the way at local establishments:
    • Smoke on the Water https://www.smokeonthewaterwinery.com/ 
    • Pickled Loon
      https://www.thepickledsaloon.com/

Please note, all plans are subject to change

We recommend purchasing a museum membership so daily admissions are waived and to save 15% on event activities. 

Food trucks will be on site from 11am-6pm or until food is sold out! 

 

Sunday, June 23rd

9am - Final goodbyes at Judy Garland Museum

  • Coffee, juice, muffins, and fruit

Judy movies showing all day long at museum

Become A Member

Membership Benefits

  • Unlimited annual admission
  • 15% Discount on purchases at the museum store
  • 15% Discount on birthday party rental space
  • 15% Discount on certain event tickets
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Gift memberships are always a nice surprise for family & friends!

Please Note

We highly recommend purchasing a Judy Garland Museum Membership. Members receive unlimited general admission to the museum as well as 15% off all event tickets and gift store purchases. Once membership is purchased online, a promotional code will be emailed to you so you can receive the discount on events for the festival. You will enter that promotional code in when you go in to purchase your event tickets. If you don't receive the email, be sure to check your email spam or junk folder, or call the museum for assistance. If you are already an active member, please email or call to receive code. 

email:   info@judygarlandmuseum.com

phone:  218-327-7926

A general admission ticket ($12/adult) will be required each day of the festival and needed to attend each activity. We are not offering online pre-registration for admission passes. These can be purchased at the front desk upon arrival. Each visitor and JGM member will receive a colored wristband to ensure general admission ticket is paid for and then people can come and go as needed throughout the entire day with these wristbands. 

Accommodations in our community fill up fast this time of year. Be sure to arrange accommodations soon! Visit Grand Rapids, Minnesota

Pre-Registration for Festival Starts Friday, April 19th, 2024

Michelle Russell Picture

Michelle Russell

Michelle Russell grew up in Southern California in a show business family. Singer, actress and director, she is also the author of nine books, four about Judy Garland and her family history including:

  • From Tennessee to Oz, The Amazing Saga of Judy Garland's Family, Vol 1 (1793-1869)
  • From Tennessee to Oz "    ", Vol 2 , (1870 - 1945)
  • Musical Memories: Songs the Gumm Family Song
  • The Gumm Family Souvenir Songbook

Her pursuit of information about Judy and the people who knew her began when she left home at the age of eighteen. In her talks, she will speak of the adventures she had looking for the real person and discovering the great performer she never met.

 

 

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John Kelsch

John Kelsch was born in Bismarck, ND and is a graduate of New York University and the University of Minnesota. He has been involved with developing the Judy Garland Museum for nearly 40 years!  He is a natural historian and the current museum curator. John will share his vast knowledge of MGM Studios beginnings and the signing of Judy Garland.

He will also provide Special Access Guided Tours of the Judy Garland Gallery, her childhood home, and take you for a white glove experience through our archives.

 

 

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John Fricke

John Fricke is a respected pop culture historian of film and stage musicals and their creative participants. More specifically, he is widely regarded as the world's preeminent Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland author, authority, and lecturer.  As a Preeminent Garland historian, best-selling author, Emmy Award-winning documentarian, and Grammy Award-nominated journalist JOHN FRICKE returns to Grand Rapids to emcee our 2024 festival weekend; John will be on-site at the festival from Thursday through Sunday morning breakfast. He is an avid museum cheerleader and always makes time to talk about Judy Garland to those he meets! You won't want to miss your chance to meet John Fricke!

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Live History

Live History is an international touring theater company. It is a site specific escape room theater company that performs various immersive and interactive bespoke historical theatrical productions with the performance tailored to the clients specific request. 

For the Judy Garland Festival 2024, Live History will send four actresses to Grand Rapids for 2 different performances and mysteries, they will be in costume for the "Wizard of Oz" Interactive Mystery and "Judy Through the Eras" Interactive Mystery. The shows are immersive theatrical experiences, where audience interaction is needed. The audience participates as if the actors are as real as they are, and they are not “pulled onto a stage” or singled out. They create safe spaces to be immersed; you won't want to miss this unique experience! There are not set times that this will take place, the actresses will be in character throughout the day and the experience will take about an hour to complete.

Royalty at Conwy Castle

2024 Festival Sponsors

Paul and Joan Herrick

Gerry Devito

 

Past Events

Beyond the Lions, And Tigers, And Bears, Oh My!

The Judy Garland Festival 2023

 

It was hard to top the Judy Garland 100th Birthday Celebration in 2022 the year before, but the 2023 festival was still delightful. Friends gathered for another weekend of Judy Garland fun. We kept things light and simple this year and tried a few new things including Judy Bingo at Klockow Brewing, "Easter Parade" high tea at the Gilbert Mansion Bed and Breakfast, and an intimate performance in the Judy house with local Minnesotan, Jennifer Grimm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judy Garland 100th Birthday Celebration June 9th-12th, 2022

Thanks to all who came out to celebrate the extraordinary life of Judy Garland on the 100th Anniversary of her birthday as we remembered and honored the Grand Rapids, Minnesota gem. Your participation and support are greatly appreciated by the Judy Garland Museum®. If you couldn’t make it this time, we look forward to seeing you at our next event!

The celebration hosted events for all ages including movie showings, meet and greets, special access guided tours, a 5k, and Judy’s 100th Birthday Fundraising Dinner, and a FREE outdoor showing of the "The Wizard of Oz" on a huge jumbo screen.

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The Judy Garland Festival June 20-22, 2019

To kickoff the 2019 Judy Garland Festival we showed Judy’s first talk show appearance from December 1962. John Fricke presented the film clips and anecdotes he created for the 2014 Turner Classic Movies Festival in Los Angeles. It's a motion picture history of Judy from childhood to maturity, in glimpses of her work with everyone from Fanny Brice and Mickey Rooney to Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and Maximilian Schell. John Fricke presents backstage and behind-the-scenes memories from Judy's concert era, as written by the fans, friends, and strangers with whom she met and mingled across those years. Plus: recollections from those who have offered remembrances or thoughts about her across these past five decades

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Wizard of Oz Festival 2018

A cast of adults and children took the audience back to the time the Gumm family (Judy Garland's family) lived in the little white house in Grand Rapids. The songs they sang and stories about what happened while they lived here.

Embark on the unique items related to Judy Garland that have never been seen by the public. During the last twenty-three years, the Judy Garland Museum has received some lovely and unusual items related to Judy and her family history. Hear the stories behind them, as only museum director John Kelsch can tell.

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Wizard of Oz Festival 2017

Perfect for the whole family! Historian/documentarian John Fricke entertains with behind-the-scenes stories and video about the making of The Wizard of Oz. Learn how some of the special effects were accomplished–decades before the existence of computer imaging! Hear about the bloopers that crept into the finished film, so that you can watch for them in Friday night’s free screening.

John Fricke is regarded as the preeminent Judy Garland and MGM Wizard of Oz historian and has written seven books on these topics. He’s the recipient of Emmy Awards as co-producer of the PBS American Masters and A&E Biography Garland documentaries, and a Grammy Award nominee for his liner notes on the Capitol CD, Judy Garland: 25th Anniversary Retrospective. John has appeared as a programmer and co-host on the Turner Classic Movies network and at their Los Angeles Film Festival. In addition, he’s been interviewed on The Today Show, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, The Joan Rivers Show, National Public Radio, and Sirius Satellite Radio, and has become a regular at the Judy Garland/Wizard of Oz Festival. We are happy to welcome him back this year.

world record of most people dressed up as the wizard of oz

The Wizard of OZ Festival of 2014

The Wizard of OZ Festival of 2014 corralled in 1,093 people dressed in their best Wizard of Oz costumes and gave them the claim to the Guinness World Record