Xmas in Fairyland 

Climb aboard the Jolly Trolly

12/13-12/18

You haven't done your shopping, the kids are out of school, and you need to entertain them for an afternoon while you plan how to get through the next two weeks. Think of Children's Fairyland as a simple remedy for your overscheduled, overstressed holiday season. Created in 1950 as America's first storybook theme park (one of its early visitors was Walt Disney, who took the idea and built Disneyland a few years later), Fairyland is the perennial favorite of parents who crave a safe, nurturing, happy place to spend a few hours. The Jolly Trolly, Peter Pan's Pirate Ship, the Alice in Wonderland maze, the Wonder-Go-Round -- it's all here.This weekend there's a lot to choose from. Three times on Saturday, puppeteers directed by Lewis Mahlmann (in residence at Fairyland since 1967) present The Magic Flute, Mozart's wondrous opera, in diminutive form. Elsewhere in the ten-acre park, there's a holiday show staged by the Children's Theatre Program, and girls from the DC Dance Center offer an hour-long dancing and singing extravaganza. On Sunday, the surprisingly warm and lovely Snow Queen (played by the ever-popular Jacqueline Lynaugh) tells "Tales from Winter's Wonderland," with some help from a puppet named Snowflake the Unicorn. Stop by the arts and crafts center for some holiday activities, and keep an eye out for Santa, who may be riding the Jolly Trolly. For a full schedule, call 510-452-2259 or visit Fairyland.org -- Sarah Cahill

TUE 12/16

A Lively Wind

The late-'90s closure of Disney's two Mr. Toad's Wild Rides was mourned by ride-o-philes on both coasts, especially those who like their theme park rides with a British vibe, or that of a psychedelic trip. But hey -- you can always rent the movie of the same name, or read Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows series. Or, if you're lucky enough to live in the East Bay, bring your brood to any of four Oakland Public Library branches to see Oakland Public Theater's latest installment of the adventures of Mr. Toad and his acquaintances, "The Wild Wood (Chapter III)," wherein the homebody Mole goes searching for Badger's house. Today's performances are as follows: Main branch (510-238-3615), 10:30 a.m.; Temescal (510-597-5049), 1 p.m.; Rockridge (510-597-5017), 7 p.m. -- Stefanie Kalem

12/10-12/18

Can't He?

The Candy Man Can

"Who can take tomorrow/Dip it in a dream/Separate the sorrow/And collect up all the cream?" Michael Jackson? Arnold Schwarzenegger? I think not. There's only one Willy Wonka, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has him. The much-beloved children's story, movie, and play by Roald Dahl is back, in a live production by the Kids Take the Stage Youth Drama Program. Poor-but-honest Charlie, wily Willie, Veruca Salt, Augustus Gloop, and the Oompa-Loompas tread the boards tonight (Wednesday) in Alameda, then Fremont (Friday-Sunday) and Alameda again (December 16-21). KidsTaketheStage.com or 510-864-7061. -- Kelly Vance

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