OAKLAND -- Residents of Detroit Avenue in Redwood Heights celebrated their 75th anniversary with a "The Wizard of Oz" themed party on Aug. 15.

The theme was chosen because the beloved classic film debuted in 1939 -- the same year that the street was founded and the same year as the World's Fair on Treasure Island.

Barry Barsamian, a longtime resident of Detroit Avenue and collector of movie memorabilia, combined his love of the street with his affection for the movie in a private street party for neighbors and friends.

Guests came dressed as Oz characters, putting a different spin on the concept of a block party.

An already close-knit neighborhood became even closer during the planning of the bash, said Barsamian, who has lived on and off on the street since 1958. Barsamian came dressed as the Tin Man.

Neighbors and friends celebrated community and friendship with the movie soundtrack playing in the background.

Betsy Cardis, who was dressed as Glenda the Good Witch, also grew up on Detroit Avenue. "My mom called me to come home and celebrate," she said. "I used to baby-sit the kids on the street. It makes it feel like extended family."

Oakland's assistant police Chief Paul Figueroa is also a resident.

"I always wanted to live in Redwood Heights," Figueroa said. "I knew I wanted to raise kids here. I moved in and found the best neighbors in town. I've been living the dream ever since.


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"It's an old school block," Figueroa said. "You come out of your house with a cup of coffee and end up having a two-hour conversation."

Barbara Ciu grew up on nearby Atlas Avenue and moved to Detroit Avenue in 1964. Ciu remembers when the neighborhood was much quieter. She recalled when Redwood Road was a two-lane road and Redwood Heights Elementary School was a cluster of portables on Jordan Road.

"They were happy, happy times. It was safe," Ciu said. "It's still a nice neighborhood, especially our street because everyone knows each other. It's great. It's a really nice place."