Northwood isn't exactly the fantasy land of Oz, but in August, it's scheduled to be visited by a munchkin.
Margaret Pellegrini, who played such a character in The Wizard of Oz, is to make a public appearance at the VFW Post 2984's annual Veterans Appreciation Day Festival, which is scheduled for Aug. 10 and 11 at the post, 102 W. Andrus Rd.
The 4-foot-tall Ms. Pellegrini is to pose for photos and be present for showings of the famous 1939 movie in the hall. She's 88 and was 15 when the movie was made. She is to attend the entire festival, which is to run from 3 to 10 p.m. Aug. 10 and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 11.
"I remember those days," she said by phone from her home in Glendale, Ariz. "I was on the set every day. It was 1938, in November."
She said she especially remembers the film's star, Judy Garland, who played Dorothy, the Kansas girl who was carried to Oz, along with her little dog, Toto, by a tornado.
Garland was a year older than Ms. Pellegrini, and "she was a sweet teenager. Judy was my favorite cast member. It's too bad she's not with us today. Nobody could sing ‘Over the Rainbow' like she did."
She said she also liked Margaret Hamilton, whose strong performance as the monstrous Wicked Witch of the West gave generations of children nightmares.
"She was nice. She was a schoolteacher [before she became an actress]," Ms. Pellegrini said.
As a cast member, Ms. Pelligrini was paid $50 a week and room and board, she said, "and that was good money. My dad was only making $5 a week," she explained.
During her stay here, Ms. Pellegrini is to visit with her good friend Northwood resident Debbi Dwyer, whose husband, Dana, is the VFW post's canteen manager and arranged the appearance at the festival.
The two met at a Wizard of Oz convention in Chesterton, Ind., more than 10 years ago, Mrs. Dwyer said, and developed a strong bond.
Mrs. Dwyer said she has been an unshakable fan of The Wizard of Oz since she first saw the film in 1956 at the age of 3. Indeed, parts of her home serve as a sort of shrine to the movie, displaying artifacts such as a munchkin dress once worn by Ms. Pellegrini.
Ms. Pellegrini said she grew up in Alabama in a home with an outhouse; hence the title of her unpublished memoir, From the Outhouse to Oz.
Mr. Dwyer said he expected Ms. Pellegrini's appearance at the festival would be a popular draw. "We figure it will be a nice change for people to bring their grandkids and watch the movie with Margaret," he explained.
The goal is to raise $3,000, which will be used to support the post's charitable causes. The Wednesday before the festival there will be a raffle drawing with a grand prize of a family dinner with Ms. Pellegrini. Raffle tickets are $5 apiece. Admission to the festival is free.
After making The Wizard of Oz, Ms. Pellegrini went on to marry and have two children. She outlived her husband and children and resides with a son-in-law. She said she makes about a dozen appearances annually, far fewer than in the past, before a stroke slowed her down.
The Wizard of Oz remains popular, she said, "because they don't make movies like that anymore. Today everything is dirty words and sex."