OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — In the heart of downtown Oakland, Children’s Fairyland is an oasis of childhood fantasies, believed to have inspired Walt Disney to build Disneyland. However, the pending financial ruin from being shut down for months is a shocking reality.
“Eighty percent of our funds come through the door, through the gate, the fair gates,” said Executive Director Kymberly Miller.
The park’s $400,000 federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan ran out last week. There is a summer camp program with some kids in the park, but without gate receipts, Fairyland is burning through cash reserves.
“I thought we were going to be able to ride our PPP loan through to an effective opening,” said Miller. “We weren’t able to do that so we had to, sadly, furlough many of our staff.”
It’s unclear when, or if, Fairyland will reopen to the public. County Supervisor Keith Carson says the board is drafting a letter to the state asking to reclassify Children’s Fairyland as an outdoor museum and give the county power to safely reopen.
“Fairyland is one of those outdoor facilities that hopefully the governor, whenever they approve our attestation or variance, will allow us to make decisions based on the numbers here in Alameda County,” said Carson.
Resident Sara Rowley was surprised when she learned Fairyland was in trouble. “I hope that we as a community, Oakland, and the entire East Bay, I hope we can come together and save Fairyland because it’s magical, it’s a wonderful place.”