Pieces of Waco’s past are up for sale through Nov. 18 in an online Waco Founder Lions Club auction of rides, equipment and furniture from Kiddieland, the small amusement park that entertained families for more than five decades.
There are more than 100 lots for sale, including everything from kiddie rides and go-karts to metal canopies and a train caboose. The Lions Club will keep some of the most recognizable pieces, including the park’s small train and its carousel, for potential use in the park’s redevelopment.
Garner & Associates auctioneer Krista Henkelman said she grew up going to Kiddieland, rode the Super Slide before its final bow in 2018 and had her first date with her husband at the Putt-Putt mini golf course.
“It’s very nostalgic,” Henkelman said. “It’s kind of sad, because it’s an era disappearing, but they’re going to make it so much better, and it will be great for kids.”
The city of Waco earlier this year announced plans to redevelop the park in partnership with the Lions Club, after its condition had declined in recent years. Lions Park and Kiddieland closed last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and reopened only briefly in May for this past summer season before closing back down. The city threatened to end its long-term land lease to the park, citing a wide range of condition issues, before announcing the overhaul plans in July.
Plans for the overhaul are yet to be formed, and a community committee is set to be assembled next month and start meeting in the new year.
In the meantime, the auction will set the city up to clear the site.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the train caboose had the highest bid, at $3,000. The air-conditioned car, from a full-size train, not the small one that circled the park, has been renovated to host birthday parties. Other lots are for entire buildings, including the concession stand and bathroom facilities. Winning bidders will be able to salvage what they can from the buildings.
“I think it will do excellent,” Henkelman said. “We’ve had a lot of responses on it, and we still have a lot of advertising to do on it, so there’s tons of room for more people to register and start bidding.”
Henkelman said the club is keeping certain items, like a stone lion’s head fountain, for posterity and possible future use at the park.
At 7 p.m. Nov. 18, the lots will start closing at a rate of three per minute until the auction is complete. Henkelman said anyone with questions about items can call her at 254-315-8630.
She said auctions often start slow and pick up speed, so it is still too early to tell which items will draw the most attention.
“A lot of people just sit back and watch, and it will be toward the end of the sale before they start bidding,” Henkelman said.
Waco parks Director Jonathan Cook said the auction needs to wrap up before the city can put together a bid for the removal of the rest of the equipment at the site. He said the Lions Club plans to store certain rides, including the carousel and train. Rides that are not sold or stored by the club will be cleared away.
Cook said he does not yet know how many people will be on the city’s guiding committee on the project, but it will include representatives from organizations that have had ties to the park over time. Community partners on the project include the parks department, city, county, city council, Waco Foundation, Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo, Junior League of Waco, local United Way, Rotary Club of Waco and Baylor University.
To participate in the auction, go to https://bit.ly/3ksv5fP.