Artist brings Fairyland figures back to life

- A Tampa artist is using his spray painter as a time machine, and for people who grew up in Tampa, his creations are a blast from the past. 

We're talking about Fairyland, a section of Lowry Park that was filled with storybook characters like Cinderella and Jack In The Beanstalk.

The city took them down years ago, but a city employee squirreled them away. Now they're getting a makeover.

Artist Jason Hulfish is working to restore them with both paint and body work.

"He was missing his feet and a lot of fingers were cut off," Jason says as we move between the three little pigs.

They are freshly restored foam and fiberglass figures, looking almost like new.

"We're trying to find the mix between updating them and bringing them into the future, while at the same time holding some of the nostalgia and the memories and the things that people hold dear," Hulfish said.

The pigs are near perfect, but dozens of other figures still need a lot of work, like Humpty Dumpty.

"He was broken apart and we found snakes inside," Hulfish explained.

Only Jack's beanstalk may be higher than the bill to restore the figures. Restaurateur Richard Gonzmart bought the characters at an auction to save them and is paying for their restoration.

But when FOX 13's Lloyd Sowers asked how much it would cost, he laughed, "I don't know... Money is meant to be used to help others celebrate life. How do you put a value on that, Lloyd?"  

"We're restoring memories," Hulfish added. "And creating memories for future generations.

The Tampa Bay History Center will display some of the characters in an exhibit which opens March 18 and runs through May 21. For more information, visit http://tampabayhistorycenter.org/event/finding-fairyland-rediscovering-tampas-lost-themepark/.

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