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Oakland community creates fundraiser to save Fairyland

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OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — On Saturday, the Oakland community is coming together to save a beloved Bay Area institution which has been bringing smiles to the faces of generations of families at Lake Merritt.

Children’s Fairyland in Oakland has enchanted Bay Area families for decades. 

Despite its popularity, the pandemic is threatening the amusement park on its 70th anniversary.

And Fairyland now teeters on the brink of closure.

Federal loan money has run out and employees have been furloughed. 

Fortunately for Fairyland, there is some star power behind a move to keep the dream alive.

“Almost anybody from the East Bay, they have a memory from Fairyland. And there’s a reason why it’s so lasting,” Daveed Diggs said. “It is a place that is kid-focused that encourages imagination in a particular way that you just don’t get outside of places like that. For those of us who didn’t grow up with Disneyland money, we did grow up with Fairyland.”

Bay Area bred Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal are the minds behind the movie Blind Spotting, filmed in Oakland. They credit accessible, local attractions like Fairyland for boosting imagination to dream big and create art. 

“The notion that Fairyland might not be there in the future was like an unacceptable version of the Bay Area to us,” Casal said.

Executive director of the park Kimberly Miller is thrilled by the homegrown duo who is joining a fundraiser Saturday to save Fairyland.

“Both of these guys have a lot of heart,” Miller said. “They love where they’re from and they understand what’s important to the Bay. That shows their value.”

The nonprofit has served as inspiration from Walt Disney to Diggs and Casal, who both hope it will continue to do so.

The park is in the process of launching a digital library and is looking to raise at least $300,000. The fundraiser starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night.

To register for the event, click here. And if you can’t attend in person, check out the livestream.

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