For The Town: Ride-along on a Children’s Fairyland Jolly Trolly

August 6, 2014 - box office

My take on Oakland: It has frequently been tangible in a inhabitant media by a few events that simulate badly on a city. Meanwhile, there are 1,000 many smaller certain stories that are never going to make headlines. Collectively, these smaller good Oakland stories volume to something larger than a many joyless of a joyless headlines. But this still leaves few who live outward Oakland with an accurate viewpoint of a city.

I’ve trust a usually proceed to redress this is to get as many of a small stories out there as possible. So we try to write things like this. And this.

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And today, I’m premiering a new video series, For The Town, profiling behind-the-scenes people who live and work in Oakland. Our initial theme is Adrienne Suzio, partner operations manager during Children’s Fairyland, and conductor of a Jolly Trolly.

I wrote some-more about a sight in this San Francisco Chronicle essay today. The Trolly celebrates a 60th year in 2014 — a brainchild of an Oakland motorcycle patrolman named Jack Francis, who designed a sight in 1954 and operated it for years with associate officer Sam Daugherty. As we can see in a video, many of a Jolly Trolly is stock. The biggest renovate was a switch from gas appetite to a rechargeable electric engine in a late 1980s.

I beheld Suzio’s conductor skills during trips to Fairyland with my younger son — she’s mellow though never acts a slightest bit jaded, and she’s unequivocally good with a relatives and kids. we asked Fairyland executive executive C.J. Hirshfield if we could go on a ride-along, and spent a few hours with Suzio on a Trolly progressing this summer.

(Photo: Kevin N. Hume/The Chronicle)

(Photo: Kevin N. Hume/The Chronicle)

I shot this and edited a video myself on iMovie, so don’t design Mike Kepka-level prolongation values. (I consider a opening sequence, shot in 5 mins with my reporter’s cover and some crayons, sets a tinge …) I do consider a video captures a integrate of critical things:

1. The baling handle and paper clips proceed that has turn a Fairyland trademark. The park operates on a parsimonious budget, though they make it work. The closer we demeanour during a courage of a Jolly Trolly, a some-more it looks like something from a Mad Max movie. But they keep it looking as good as possible, and it’s still sorcery for a kids. Insert your possess “Little Engine that Could” analogy here …

2. Suzio is unequivocally good during her job. She used to revisit Fairyland when she was a kid, has some good memories, and clearly wants to pass that certain appetite on to a subsequent generation.

One thing that didn’t get in a video: Fairyland art and replacement executive Shannon Taylor is operative on a redesign of a Jolly Trolly tunnel, hopefully with a light element. That should be prepared before a finish of a year.

A few some-more thoughts after a 1950s Trolly …

The Trolly in 1954. (Photo: Courtesy Children's Fairyland)

Jack Francis with a Trolly in 1954. (Photo: Courtesy Children’s Fairyland)

Here’s a story we wrote a few years ago about Fairyland’s quip underneath Hirschfield’s watch. Park hours and some-more information is here.

* we have a subsequent dual For The Town subjects already lined up, though will be looking for more. If you’ve celebrated an unsung favourite in Oakland, greatfully send an e-mail (subject line “For a Town”) to

* Oaklandish, who furnish a good 70 percent of a T-shirts we wear, have a Jolly Trolly design. Sadly, we couldn’t find any sizes for adult males, so I’ll only have to wear a toddler XXXXXXXL.

* If we favourite this, greatfully pass on to your friends on your several amicable networks. I’m going to continue creation these videos even if 12 people watch them, though a wish is that we’ll strech a few people outward The Town.

PETER HARTLAUB is a cocktail enlightenment censor during a San Francisco Chronicle and founder/editor of The Big Event. He takes requests. Contact him during Follow him on Twitter at Follow The Big Event on Facebook.

(Photo: Kevin N. Hume/The Chronicle)

(Photo: Kevin N. Hume/The Chronicle)

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