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Oakland's beloved Children's Fairyland releases new key for 70th birthday



The entrance to Children’s Fairyland in Oakland.
The entrance to Children’s Fairyland in Oakland.
The entrance to Children’s Fairyland in Oakland.
The entrance to Children’s Fairyland in Oakland.
Shortly after its opening in 1950, Walt Disney visited Children’s Fairyland in Oakland seeking inspiration for the amusement park he was building himself.
On its 70th birthday this week, the beloved amusement park on the shores of Lake Merritt is hosting a fundraiser to help the park reopen, and it’s been inspired by Oakland’s role in the recent racial reckoning happening across the country.
In July we reported on the historic park’s struggle to stay in business during the pandemic. After a PPP loan ran out, staff were re-furloughed with no reopening date in sight.
To coincide with its 70th birthday this week, the park launched a « Magic Key » sale, offering newly designed commemorative versions of the park’s popular key system while drawing awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement.
« At the start of the year Fairyland had embarked on a plan to make sure that all families could feel a sense of belonging when they come to the park, that the fairytales we’re sharing truly represent our community, » said Director Kymberly Miller. « Then the pandemic hit. Then came social unrest. We then watched our community rise up and organize a massive kid’s march that started right at our Big Shoe. »
The fundraiser is offering Oaklanders an opportunity to own one of 70 special keys, at $700 a key, with the two keys numbered 1 and 70 available for $7,000 each.
« We have the figurative keys to unlock a better day, to change things for the better. Now, to signal that intention, we have a literal key — a limited edition birthday Magic Key. It’s black, it’s metal and, I have to say, it’s really beautiful. » Miller said.
If you want to give Fairyland some birthday love, the keys are being offered on their website. As of Thursday one of the two rarest $7,000 keys is still available.
« For 70 years, Fairyland has been a magical place for children. We want that magic to reflect all of us for 70 more. » Miller said.
Andrew Chamings is an editor at SFGATE. Email: Andrew.Chamings@sfgate.com | Twitter: @AndrewChamings

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