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The End of Libertyland

The End of an Era


The End of Libertyland
Photo by Teresa R. Simpson
On October 29, 2005 Libertyland closed its doors forever. While undeniably a loss to the community, it was the proposition to auction off Libertyland’s rides – including the Zippin Pippin and Grand Carousel – that prompted the formation of “Save Libertyland,” a group of activists led by Denise Parkinson.

Save Libertyland argued that by destroying Libertyland, the city was, in fact, destroying part of its history. And with the Pippin and the carousel on the National Register of Historic Places, they may be right. They began their fight by organizing protests and gathering signatures for a petition to save the park. They even attracted investors who were willing to revitalize the park, including T-Rex Entertainment who offered to lease the park for $10,000 per month. The offer was initially declined both by a city official and members of the Mid-South Fair Board. Now, though, the city is willing to consider such offers.

The group’s second major victory came when they prompted the city to look into its own rights to the rides. After much research, the city attorney produced documents proving that the city owns both the Zippin Pippin and the Grand Carousel, forcing the Fair Board to take the two rides off of the auction block.

A city council committee then recommended that the city terminate its lease with the Fair Board and have them vacate by the end of the year. This doesn’t mean much, though, in terms of saving the park as the committee has not yet announced its plans for the park when the Fair Board is gone.

What will happen to Libertyland? That remains to be seen. While its historical value is undisputable, to those who grew up riding the Revolution, Zippin Pippin, and the Log Flume, its sentimental value is without measure.

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