We’re off to see the wizard!

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The Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion will be the star attractions at a flower festival which is expected to be the biggest of its kind in the north of England.

Based at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Pickering, the Wizard of Oz flower festival runs from Friday to June 1 and has involved more than 40 teenagers, the church’s youth group, the Brownies, Guides and Cubs as well as some of the top flower arrangers from across Yorkshire – many of them Chelsea Medal winners.

Hopes are high they will emulate The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe festival which attracted 20,000 visitors three years ago.

Parish Priest Father Antony Pritchett, who is using his handiwork to make the Wicked Witch of the West, said: “Forget every flower festival you’ve seen before – the Wizard of Oz Flower Festival is something else! Our last flower festival became the largest flower festival in the north of England that year, and is still talked about, years later. This is on an even greater scale. The imagination and creativity are astounding – people will be amazed and delighted and thrilled.”

To mark the event, the North York Moors Railway is holding a Wizard of Oz themed week on the heritage railway line.

The festival will be previewed on Thursday at 7pm. Tickets from (01751) 473264.

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