Kiddieland Reopens for Auction

Park closed in September

By BJ Lutz
|  Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009  |  Updated 2:15 PM CDT
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See Ya, KiddieLand

The lights at Kiddieland were back on Tuesday morning, but only long enough for pieces of the amusment park to be sold at auction.

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See Ya, KiddieLand

If you want your kid to take one last ride on The Little Dipper, you'd better hurry. Kiddieland is closing for good.
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The lights at Kiddieland were back on Tuesday morning, but only long enough for pieces of the amusement park to be sold at auction.

A large turnout showed up for the historic bidding process, although it appeared most of the crowd was composed of spectators, rather than actual bidders, CBS 2 Chicago reported.

"It's crying outside," Chicago's Salvatore Balsamo said, standing in the rain.  He brought his adult son and daughter back to the park they frequented as children, the Chicago Tribune reported.  "The question is where are the young families going to take their kids now?"

The items up for bid included a vintage carousel that features rare, hand-carved horses that's valued at close to $1 million; the six-car Roto Whip; and the park's Ferris wheel, which could go for a cool half-million bucks.

Starting bids for the individual horses from the Kiddieland carousel will range from $7,000 to $25,000.

The park had originally hoped to sell all of the rides in one fell swoop but the buyer they had lined up for the remaining rides backed out at the last minute.

"This is harder for me than the last day," the park's co-owner Tom Norini said.

The auction was expected to last all day with 20 remaining rides, as well as tools, signs, food-service equipment and other goods for sale to the highest bidder, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Two trains that carried children around the park were sold last week to an Illinois company that owns gas stations and mini-marts in Illinois, Indiana, Arizona and Florida.

Norton Auctioneers of Coldwater, Mich., which specializes in amusement parks with antique carousels, is handling the auction.

The park opened in 1929 and closed in September.  A Costco may be built on the site.

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