Are Judy Garland's Stolen Ruby Slippers Shimmering in Mine Pit? Witness search at 40th 'Wizard of Oz' Festival June 10-13

May 26, 2015, 16:05 ET from Judy Garland Museum

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn., May 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Are Judy Garland's ruby slippers in nearby mine pit following a Museum heist? Witness an underwater search for the iconic red shoes and dozens of events planned for the 40th Annual "Wizard of Oz" Festival June 10-13 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota (not Michigan)!

Oz and Garland trivia, "Jeopardy" games, costume and singing contests, and a special appearance by Hamilton Meserve, son of Margaret Hamilton (Oz's Wicked Witch of the West) are among dozens of events.

There's no place like home, and the Museum, along with Garland's fully restored childhood home sit on two acres in Grand Rapids, MN (at 2727 U.S. Hwy 169 South, just northwest of Duluth).

Scuba divers for the Judy Garland Museum will take a plunge into the Tioga Mine Pit June 11, and June 12 at 10 a.m., and 1 p.m. to explore decade-old rumors a pair of authentic ruby slippers – worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy – were discarded there after a brazen 2005 heist. The Itasca County Sheriff's Dive Team will go to great depths in its search for the iconic red shoes following a famous theft that remains unsolved.

"These rumors have been floating around since it happened," says Jonny Miner, one of the founders of the popular museum which includes Judy Garland's childhood home, "and we're finally putting them to the ultimate test."

Diving into the excitement is Ontario-based Tricon Films and Television shooting live footage of the underwater search for an upcoming documentary "The Slippers."  "The ruby slippers are an indelible piece of cinematic history and pop culture, and it is an honor to be able to capture this historic event for my film," said Producer/Director Morgan White.

"There's no place like home" Grand Rapids, Minnesota (not Michigan)!

For more information about the "Wizard of Oz" Festival or "The Dive" visit or Phone: 218-327-9276 or toll free: 1-800-664-JUDY (5839).

Want to be in "The Slippers" movie? Visit for directions, and the Itasca County Sheriff's Dive schedule.

Record "Horse-of-a-Different-Color" Carriage Sale!

The original "Horse of a Different Color" carriage ferrying Dorothy and her friends into the Emerald City will be on exhibit -- and accepting offers -- to benefit the Judy Garland Museum and the Children's Discovery Museum. The Wiki web site about the classic 1939 "Wizard of Oz" movie says the carriage "was originally made for President Abraham Lincoln and given to him as a gift during the Civil War."

The top echelons of Hollywood "movie-prop" collectors consider the carriage to be a "Holy Grail" piece, "this is the one and only original used for the film," Miner explained. "This carriage can also be seen in more than 200 classic Hollywood films." Owned by a founding member of the Museum, "the 150 year-old carriage has been showcased at the museum since the mid 1990s," says Museum Director, John Kelsch. It is one of many original "Wizard of Oz" artifacts in the world's largest collection located in Grand Rapids, MN.

Of the carriage, Kelsch also noted "It's a priceless treasure that deserves to be shared with a broader public. When sold, the proceeds will help benefit plans to expand, and endow both the Judy Garland Museum, and our Children's Discovery Museum for future generations," he continued, "what better place to announce this historic sale than the town where Judy was born?"

The asking price? Miner smiles while acknowledging that the carriage probably won't fit the average tourist's budget.  "We will let the true collector's market decide," Miner said.  "We've been turning down impressive million dollar offers on it for years, and professional appraisers don't dictate value to a true collector -- so it could break a record in terms of price."

For more information about the "Horse of a Different Color" carriage sale, or to make an offer, contact Rob Feeney, 763-412-0771. Proceeds to benefit the Judy Garland Museum, and the Children's Discovery Museum in Grand Rapids, MN.

Three-day festival events:

Thursday, June 11 7 p.m. Pianist Josh Gallagher, a native of Eau Claire, Wis., plays his jazzy renditions of Garland songs.  8 p.m. – Author Joan Beck Coulson, a native of England, tells of being at Garland's concerts, TV shows, recording sessions and on the set of her last film.

Friday, June 1210 a.m. Wizard of Oz "Jeopardy" game.  11 a.m. – Author Coulson, "Always for Judy."  Noon – Author, Amanda Michelle Moon, "Stealing the Ruby Slippers." 1:30 p.m. – Oz historian John Fricke presents a free "Fun Facts about Oz."  2-4 p.m. -- Dorothy's Farm and Zoo Animals.  3:30 p.m.  -- "Judy in Concert," rare silent home movies and unheard audio from 1951-69.  5:30-7:30 p.m. – BBQ picnic catered by the Sawmill Inn at Judy Garland Memorial Garden with music by Jeff Borg Entertainment. 7:30 p.m.Wizard of Oz character costume contest.  9 p.m. – 1939 "The Wizard of Oz" on jumbo screen under the stars.

Saturday, June 13 – Ozzy Duo Presentation by John Fricke:  10 a.m. Act One: The Oz that Almost "Woz."  11:30 a.m. Act Two: Away from the Yellow Brick Road.

Saturday, June 13The Emerald City Festival11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — good for kids: carriage rides, pictures with characters, face painting, hair styling and more. 2 p.m. – Author Brent Phillips, NYU film archivist/preservationist and Turner Classic Movies special guest programmer: "Judy (Garland), and Chuck Walters," dance director.  5 p.m. – The Judy Garland Museum Singing Contest.  7 p.m. – Hamilton Meserve, son of Margaret Hamilton (Oz's legendary Wicked Witch of the West) – "Oz, the Witch and Mom"

For detailed information including driving directions, visit Phone: 218-327-9276/1-800-664-JUDY (5839), or email: Tickets can be purchased on the website.


The 40th Annual "Wizard of Oz" Festival celebrates Grand Rapids, Minnesota's most famous resident, Frances Ethel Gumm -- film star and singer Judy Garland – during June 10-13 (Wednesday-Saturday) in this charming town northwest of Duluth.  Facebook or, 218-327-9276 or toll free: 1-800-664-JUDY (5839). You can also email us at:

"The Dive," Is the Tioga Mine Pit water as murky as the mystery of the 2005 heist of Dorothy's ruby slippers from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, MN?  Witness yourself the truth of the local legend during an underwater search Thursday, June 11, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m, and Friday, June 12, at 10:00 a.m. and 2 p.m. by members of the Itasca County Sheriff's Dive Team.  For more information on "The Dive," call 612-805-1000.  Directions: or Note: Weather permitting

Memories of that marvelous color-changing horse in the classic "Wizard of Oz" film will come alive when its famous carriage that rolled Dorothy and her friends into the Emerald City is exhibited for sale at the 40th Annual "Wizard of Oz" Festival" June 10-13.

Contact John Kelsch, 1-800-664-JUDY (5839),
Contact Jon Miner, 612-805-1000,


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SOURCE Judy Garland Museum