Judy Garland festival begins in Grand Rapids

Northern News Now at 6pm
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:58 PM CDT
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GRAND RAPIDS, MN. (Northern News Now) - Fans from all over the world will be heading to Grand Rapids Thursday through Saturday for the annual Judy Garland Festival.

Garland was born in Grand Rapids before beginning her career as an actress, starring in the major films “A Star is Born”, “Meet Me in St. Louis” and of course as Dorothy in “Wizard of Oz”.

The famous ruby red slippers she used to get home were recently brought back home after being stolen in 2005.

Thirteen years later, in 2018 the slippers were found after the GRPD requested assistance from the FBI, they recovered the ruby slippers during a sting operation in Minneapolis in July 2018.

On June 1, Terry Martin, 76, pled not guilty in federal court for stealing the ruby slippers famously worn by Garland.

Even though the slippers are still in custody of the FBI, this year’s theme for the festival is “Ruby Slippers”.

“We want them here. We would love to see the ruby slippers at the Judy Garland Museum for the remainder of the time,” said Janie Heitz, Judy Garland Museum Executive Director in May. “It’s where Judy was born. It’s a great place for them, she called it a terribly happy time in her life.”

The Judy Garland Museum is hosting all kinds of events this weekend, including tours, “Judy Jeopardy”, an open mic night, and much more.

Since it is held in the stars home town, Heitz believes it is worth the drive for fans to learn more about her entire body of work.

“I think there’s a lot of people that have a connection to the characters she played. But then further just here performances outside the Wizard of Oz captured so many people’s hearts. I think people are just willing to make the trek to Grand Rapids, Minnesota to see where this star was born,” said Heitz.

For more information on the Museum or tickets to the festival go to their website here.

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