Enchanted memories

February 13, 2005

IT MAY NOT be quite the stuff of happily-ever-after. But the latest twist in the saga of the supersized nursery-rhyme characters that have been languishing in the long-closed but hardly forgotten Enchanted Forest amusement park is pretty darn close to a fairy tale come true.

A dozen strong backs and a few trucks last week managed to move the unwieldy wood-and-fiberglass figures of Mother Goose, Papa Bear and six of Cinderella's 10-foot-long mice to a Howard County petting farm from what's left of the Route 40 fairy-tale park. With more volunteers - and some donations - Little Boy Blue and others could make the move, too.

For three decades until 1988, Enchanted Forest's simple pleasures delighted as many as 300,000 visitors a year, burning itself into this region's childhood memories. Preservationists had long been frustrated in trying to reopen the park and save its artifacts. The park's owner, Kimco Realty of New York, finally donated the figures after a charity auction of Cinderella's pumpkin-coach went awry and it ended up on eBay.

Martha Clark of Elioak Farm became this tale's fairy godmother, purchasing the pumpkin, and then Kimco decided to give her anything else she could move.

Thanks to both, at least parts of Enchanted Forest will stay in Howard, where they again can provide rich fodder for childhood memories.

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