2009-2013: Off to See the Wizard
In early 2009, Zoe received a phone call that she had never expected. A non-profit group in Chesterton was working to bring back the festival that coming Fall and they wanted the original character team back. Of course, the offer was accepted immediately and the cast began preparing to return home to Chesterton. This was to be a big event for the cast. They would be returning to Chesterton for the first time since their inaugural year (the festival moved to the county fairgrounds in 2006) and, this time, they would be the sole cast of characters. It was at this time that The Spirit of Oz saw some of the greatest improvements to costumes, makeup, and overall quality of the characters.
After the reinstatement of the Chesterton Wizard of Oz Festival, The Spirit of Oz enjoyed four years of consistent growth and improvement. However, despite great success, the festival was again cancelled in February of 2013. The Spirit of Oz became a set of characters without a place to call "home" one again; however, as an old saying goes, "you can't count on rainbows without rain." Just a few months after announcing the end of the Chesterton Oz Festival, The Spirit of Oz landed the gig of a lifetime as the official characters of the film's 75th anniversary celebration hosted by Warner Bros. in Hollywood, California. On September 15, 2013, The Spirit of Oz appeared alongside original Munchkin Ruth Duccini, Oz historian John Fricke, current day celebrities, and countless members of the press at the famed Chinese Theatre, the very spot the film made its debut in 1939. The characters were on hand for the Emerald City VIP Party, walked the red carpet for the debut of The Wizard of Oz in IMAX 3D, and helped to unveil Madame Tussaud's brand new wax figure of Judy Garland as Dorothy.
This gig launched The Spirit of Oz into the national spotlight via numerous media outlets such as Entertainment Tonight, Yahoo! Movies, and, oddly enough, a photo search game in The National Enquirer. Following their adventures in Hollywood, the troupe began receiving more appearance requests than ever before. For the team, this was the pay off of nearly a decade of hard work.