Perhaps the most famous exhibit at Enchanted Forest, thousands of kids pose in this witch's mouth for family photos every year.

The pandemic has taken so much from us: jobs, stability, joy, and hugs, to name just a few. Now our beloved Enchanted Forest is on the chopping block, with a Go Fund Me and a digital auction set up to try and save it.

Built by patriarch Roger Tofte, 90, the beloved amusement park has been part of the collective childhood memories of Oregonians for decades since opening in 1971. (Read our story on the park's history here.) The beauty of this park—spread out amongst a thick of beautiful old forest—creates one of its complications. As a primarily outdoor space in Oregon, the seasonality of it means the Tofte family, who still own and manage it through multiple generations, make all their income in our short sunny season. Typically, that isn’t a problem, with some 10,000 families picnicking a year under the natural green canopy where statues of Humpty Dumpty and Little Miss Muffet act as permanent guests, pushing them towards profitable debt-free years easily. But this year, as we know, hasn’t been a typical year.

Between stay-at-home orders, the reduced capacity for COVID-19 safety, and the wildfires, Enchanted Forest has only been able to allow a fraction of the families into its gates as in years past. And now, as winter hits, they’ve lost the entire money-making season, compounding 2020’s horrors. The Tofte family, who have provided us with years of happiness, are doing something they’ve never done before: asking us to love them back. To make up for the shortfall and guarantee they are around to celebrate their 50th anniversary on August 8, 2021, the amusement park needs to raise $500,000. In just three days they’ve nearly hit the halfway mark and are asking people who’ve loved the park to consider helping them make it to their golden anniversary. You can do that by envisioning the magic of their iconic water show in your mind and sending off a few bucks. Or for the serious Enchanted Forest fan, the family is selling off rare memorabilia in a digital auction that includes some of Roger Tofte's paintings, park signs, and even a design sketch of the English Village castle.

So, send some money if you can. Call it a pre-investment in the summer of fun we all hope to have in 2021. 

One of the fanciful sculptures at Enchanted Forest in Salem.

 

 

 

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