Gepetto (sic), Fairyland, and Oakland’s Lost Italian Americans
Gepetto's been building Pinocchio for over 40 years in Oakland's Fairyland.
Children's Fairyland, an amusement park for preschool-age kids, sits on the edge of Oakland’s Lake Merritt, an artificial lake created in 1867 in the city’s downtown area. The park, with its child-sized diorama-like sets, celebrates fairytales and nursery rhymes. It opened in 1950 and still draws the juice-swilling masses today. Restoration of the park started (and is still going on) in the mid-1990s, but the place still feels pretty Old School. There’s a threadbare retro feel to the spot, made stronger by the heavily-pierced and tattooed teenagers who now work the concession stands and, dripping with irony, run the Jolly Trolly.