The opinions and viewpoints in this feature are solely those of this website's owner,
and not necessarily those of any other involved in the Save Fairyland campaign, unless otherwise indicated


Save Fairyland! is a local effort initiated by Tampa Natives Show host
Mario Nuñez and joined by
Rotary's Camp Florida Resource Development Director Brenda Piniella Rouse, along with concerned Tampa natives, Tampa citizens--both former and present, and friends, to acquire, restore and relocate the beloved storybook character figures of Tampa's  Lowry Park Fairyland for public display.

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2017-Jan. 18 - Richard posted photos of picking up the Fairyland figures  - 


And so the journey begins....

...back to a time when children dreamed and used their imagination in the land of make believe when visiting fairyland, time of adventure and fun. We will refurbish and make them look like it was 1957 all over again.
     --R. G.


Richard is an avid guitar collector and while involved with this endeavor, he met up with a man who asked what he was doing with the Fairyland storybook character figures and asked Richard if he knew a guy named Jason Hulfish.  He told Richard that Jason is a talented artist who not only restores and customizes guitars, he is also in the business of designing and creating children's-themed environments.  Meanwhile, somebody had already spoken with Jason about what Richard was involved in concerning the Fairyland figures.  Richard gave Jason a call and found out that Jason was right here in Tampa, just north of Ybor City, not far from Lowry Park where the Fairyland figures originally were located.

The latest guitar perched in the Goody Goody™ dining room showcase from owner Richard Gonzmart’s collection: A German-made Höfner violin bass autographed by Paul McCartney. Much of Höfner’s popularity is attributed to McCartney’s use during his time with the Beatles. The 500/1 violin model is commonly described as the “Beatle bass.” During the time the McCartney bass is displayed in the dining room, Goody Goody™ customers will notice an extra infusion of McCartney and Wings songs on our playlist at the restaurant.

Photo and guitar info from Goody Goody Restaurant on Facebook


2017-Jan. 18 - Richard posted a photo of his granddaughter with Hickory Dickory Dock

Hickory Dickory Dock,

the mouse ran up the clock,

the clock struck one,

the mouse ran down.

Hickory Dickory Dock.



2017-Feb. 3 - Michael Kilgore posted a request at Tampa Natives for photos of the Big Bad Wolf

So even as Richard Gonzmart is vacationing, he's thinking about the Save Fairyland! efforts. We are notably short on images of the Big Bad Wolf ... We would appreciate you posting any images right here so we can use them for reference. Thanks to you all for your passion, your drive and your dreams. "Who's afraid of ..."

(The photo to the right was not part of his post.)

2017 - Feb. 4 - Dan  posted two photos of one of three little pigs in restoration process shared by Michael Kilgore at Photo1  Photo2 and created a "Restoration Begins!" photo album at Save Fairyland group.

RESTORATION BEGINS! - An album to collect photos and descriptions, and posts or comments as Richard Gonzmart and Michael Kilgore makes them available to us. Lets all try to make our posts, comments or questions related to the restoration process here to this album, so they're not all scattered on our discussion page. Thanks Richard and Michael!



2017-Feb. 24 - A special viewing of artist Jason Hulfish's work on the 3 Little Pigs was held at his studio, Dan added his 56 photos of the event to the album "Restoration Begins!" at the Save Fairyland group.


Jason Hulfish is a renowned American artist and designer who has been bringing both residential and commercial spaces to life for over 20 years. His work can be seen in the homes of professional athletes, celebrities, as well as on the hit TV show "Extreme Makeover Home Edition." His tireless efforts to push the boundaries of home decor and custom living spaces have created master pieces as uniquely different as the clients themselves.  Some of his services include children's rooms, Venetian plaster, custom murals, decorative paint finishes and custom furniture. 

Visit his website for more info and photos of his fantastic work!

And don't miss his incredible portfolio here.
The Hulfish Project (Facebook)





Richard and his grandchildren


Richard's daughter, Lauren

Richard and his daughters, grandchildren and wife

Jason is working on the footballers used to promote the College Championship Bowl games.



Some of the stuffing that was inside Humpty

Richard and his wife with Curator of History at the Tampa Bay History Center, Rodney Kite-Powell




Malerie Dorman, Curator of Collections with the Tampa Bay History Center, with Michael Kilgore, Chief Marketing Officer of the Columbia Restaurant Group, and Rodney-Kite Powell, Curator of History at the TBHC.

Jason designs and restores guitars and skateboards too.


Jason with items he's restoring for underwater use at
Weeki Wachee Springs

     2017-Feb. 24 - Richard Gonzmart's remarks at Jason Hulfish's studio regarding restoring the Fairyland figures.

     There's something to be said about history, and one of those is to celebrate it with your children, and when you have a chance, like myself, with your grandchildren.
     I wanted my grandchildren to know the stories of the passing time, and for people that live in this community, that visit, to share the stories. Instead of texting one another, to read the story in the storybooks that will be there...But we'll also bring out modern technology, and the QR code, You know you can have the whole story.
     When Jack & the Bean Stalk, who was poor, and he traded the money for magic beans, reminds me of my childhood one time when I gave away my tuition in the first grade. My mom asked me what I did and I told her that I gave the money to the poor.

     We're making a difference in lives, as Jack did, and so that bean stalk will greet you into the waterworks park. And when you see Humpty Dumpty sitting on the wall overlooking the Hillsborough River--this building that was forgotten, the Waterworks Building, Ulele Springs--Humpty Dumpty will be mounted there and he will not fall.
     And we'll be bringing in Cinderella and her magic pumpkin, and that they'll be able to bring in their children, to sit there, and create those memories. Memories that I had as a grandchild, that my children have, that I hope my grandchildren will have, but more importantly that their children will too, that they'll think about when they're with their "Mimi" and their "Pop Pop."
     You can't throw away history; history is what makes this city great.
     We're blessed to have the Tampa Bay History Center with which we're partnering, and that they understand that importance and will preserve, promote and share what made Tampa great in the early days under Nick Nuccio.
     So in behalf of my family, and this dreamer, this Jack and the bean stalk, that Cinderella, Snow White, it's a big deal, to see the itsy bitsy spider crawling up the wall, and little boy blue blowing his horn.
     All those figurines, when I saw them--and I heard some people, they were bidding against me, and there was Mario, telling them, "You're not beatin' him today!" I had a rough day. He kept on sayin' "Give it up!" And I walked around... I bid against myself and they wouldn't let me take that bid, because, you have to understand--there was no defeating me that day.

     Because money comes and goes, but history is meant to last for generations." --
Richard Gonzmart, Pres. Columbia Restaurant Grp.

         2017-Feb. 24 - Jason's remarks about what restoring the figures means to him.

  "This is a great project and I love what Richard's doing,  the fact that we're resurrecting history; so this just isn't creating art, this is bringing back memories, and we're bringing them back for future generations...and it's important" --Jason Hulfish, Artist

2017-Feb. 24 - Mario's remarks about how he discovered the location of the Fairyland figures


"This all happened very serendipitously.  I was in search of my great-grandmother's final resting place in Colon-Marti cemetery...while I was at the City of Tampa recreation department trying to find out that information, I happened to wander into an office, and on the office wall was a poster of the old woman who lived in a shoe"**

--Mario Nuñez


**It had been 6 long years since seeing the poster, and upon revisiting the office recently, Mario was reminded that it was of Rapunzel's Castle.











2017-Feb. 24 - Rodney Kite-Powell, curator of the Tampa Bay History Center museum, discusses the scope and importance of the upcoming Fairyland figures exhibit to open March 18, 2017


Finding Fairyland will open Mar. 18 and run through the 24th, to pay homage to what Richard and Mario have done, and to Tampa's recent past...our more modern history is also important.  It's history many of us have lived and appreciate, but we also want to make sure that future generations that maybe didn't live it, can still appreciate it.

Rodney Kite-Powell, Curator of History at the Tampa Bay History Center.

Image of the building from the TBHC website,

Check it out on Facebook


2017 - Feb. 24 - Mario Nuñez's interview with the Three Little Pigs

Here's the very first look at the "Save Fairyland" restoration project being produced by Richard Gonzmart. He is working with the talented Jason Hulfish to lovingly rejuvenate Lowry Park's Fairyland statues.

Let's meet anew "The 3 Little Pigs" as you've never known them before. By that we mean (as we've learned from Florida Genealogical Society researchers), these young swine were actually cousins from three distinct parts of the world. There is: "El Cerdo de Cerredo" (Asturias, Spain; "El Puerco de Ponce" (Puerto Rico) and "El Conchinito de Camaguey" (Cuba).  Give a listen as they explain the joy in their hearts of once again being reunited in all their glorious splendor. Here's to what's around the next corner... Salud and Happy Days! --Mario


Tampa Natives Show host Mario Nuñez interviewing the Three Little Pigs


Jason and Jack imagining what adventures may await each of them.


2017-Mar 3 - Richard posted a photo of Jack restored Let's Grow a Beanstalk We Can Climb Together


2017 - Feb. 25 - Fairy Tale Figures Given New Life - Tampa Bay Times video

Richard Gonzmart, president of the Columbia Restaurant Group, and artist Jason Hulfish hold a news conference to show off the restored Three Little Pigs figurines from the former Fairlyland at Lowry Park. The figurines are among the historical, life-sized statues of storybook characters that will be showcased at Water Works Park in Tampa, which is also the site of Gonzmart’s Ulele restaurant.

(Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Times, Cherie Diez)

2017 - Feb. 25 - Fairytale Figures Given New Life - Tampa Bay Times newspaper story by Cherie Diaz

Fairy-tale figures given new life Richard Gonzmart, right, president of the Columbia Restaurant Group, and artist Jason Hulfish show off the restored Three Little Pigs statues from the former Fairyland at Lowry Park, which was razed in the late 1980s. The statues are among the historical, life-size storybook characters purchased by Gonzmart that will be on display at Water Works Park in Tampa, which is also the site of his Ulele restaurant. Gonzmart and Hulfish are shown here at Hulfish's design studio.  --Tampa Bay Times Cherie Diez


2017-Mar. 1 -   Artist brings Fairyland figures back to life - Fox 13 Lloyd Sowers

TAMPA (FOX 13) - 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 brings Fairyland figures back to life 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.

Saving Fairyland  -  Page 1   Page 2   Page 3   Page 4   Page 5

Lowry Park/Fairyland History    Herman - King of the Zoo     Safety Village      Fantasia Golf