By C.J. Hirschfield
We like to think of Children’s Fairyland as Oakland’s hidden treasure: eight acres of enchantment on the shores of Lake Merritt filled with surprises around every corner – including a pirate ship, several dragons, and some well-concealed fairy houses.
So it’s only fitting that our big Gala fundraiser this year – on Thursday, June 1 – is called “Hidden Treasure.” It’s our chance to show off our treasures in a special after-hours, grownups-only celebration.
|Sally Walker and Fairyland board member Ron Zeno at the 2015 Gala.|
And for everyone who attends, it’s a chance to:
- Sample a cornucopia of food and drink from the East Bay’s best restaurants, wineries and breweries.
- Don a costume (pirate or storybook themes encouraged but not required) and take lots of selfies in storybook settings.
- Dance under the stars to live music.
- Bid on fabulous items in live and silent auctions (keep reading for details).
- Support a great Oakland institution that introduces young children to stories and imaginative play.
Fairyland’s Gala is our biggest fundraiser of the year – we couldn’t keep the Fairy Gates open, or support our vital community-outreach programs, without it.
But Gala is more than that. It’s also the best party in Oakland, right here on the shores of Lake Merritt (with free valet parking).
|Mal Sharpe (left) and the Big Money in Jazz Band at the 2016 Gala.|
Here’s just a sample of what we have in store for you on June 1:
- - Pork-belly tacos from Chop Bar
- - Gulf- style fare from Hutch Bar & Kitchen
- - Chicken and waffles from the Home of Chicken andWaffles
- - Fresh oysters from Ron and Sally’s oyster bar
- - Special confections from Old Towne Danville Bakery and Lungomare
|A generous pour at Fairyland's Gala.|
And Fentons Creamery will offer ... well, you know.
We’ll also have beer from Lagunitas, wine from Rosenblum Cellars and champagne from Barefoot Wine & Bubbly. In keeping with our pirate theme, we’ll serve special rum cocktails made from Mount Gay rum. Not into alcohol? Sip on Sparkling Ice or Core Hydration beverages to keep your energy up. We’ll also serve affogatos and other coffee drinks at our Big Pumpkin espresso bar.
|A fancy coffee drink, Fairyland style.|
And there’s more:
- - Live music by the incomparable Mal Sharpe and his Big Money in Jazz band. (Wear your dancing shoes!)
- - Your friends and neighbors in deep disguise as swashbucklers, seafarers or ...? Costumes aren’t required, though, and we’ll give everyone a prop at the door.
- - A silent auction featuring jewelry, wine, collectibles and exotic experiences.
- - An exciting live auction, emceed by former Oakland city auditor Courtney Ruby, featuring travel packages, original art and some very special – and highly collectible – Warriors memorabilia.
|Auction action at Fairyland's Gala.|
- It will all take place amid Fairyland’s twinkling fairy lights and fanciful storybook sets. Our staff has been hard at work painting, polishing, planting and prettying up our park. You’ll be dazzled!
To buy your tickets or place a bid in our online auction (which closes May 26), go to our web page.
C.J. Hirschfield has served for 14 years as executive director of Children’s Fairyland, where she is charged with the overall operation of the nation’s first storybook theme park.