Janice Kinigopoulos was hardly the first to be intrigued by the long-vacant Enchanted Forest theme park. The Ellicott City-based makeup artist had birthday parties there as a kid and watched as its fairytale attractions sat unused, then, one by one, were relocated and restored.
When she learned the last of the attractions would be moved from the woods off Route 40 to Clark’s Elioak Farm this spring, she knew it was her last chance to fulfill an artistic vision.
Kinigopoulos gathered a creative team that included her daughter, Alexa, a New Orleans-based photographer, and local stylist Pascale Lemaire to capture the ethereal whimsy that still characterized the Enchanted Forest, decades past its prime.
“I wanted it to be creepy but still beautiful,” says Alexa Kinigopoulos (known professionally as Alexa King), who, at 24, was born too late to visit the theme park before it closed in 1989. But growing up in Ellicott City, she’d driven past it countless times and watched old footage, like a famous scene from the movie “Cry Baby.”
During the photo shoot, the models took on doll-like personas, playing off the fairytales embodied in the Enchanted Forest’s remaining structures. The vintage clothes are a nod to the park’s history.
At Clark’s Elioak Farm, where the restored structures have become a favorite spot for a new generation of kids, the photo crew introduced brighter colors and a more cheerful tone indicative of the Enchanted Forest’s new life. The effect is Dr. Suess-like — still magical but distinctly different from the old theme park.
There’s a reason for that contrast, according to Alexa: “I don’t think there will be anything like the Enchanted Forest.”