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It's not your imagination. Small wooden doors really are nestled at the bottom of a few trees in Columbus parks.
And they are meant to look as if little elves built them.
As part of a national project sponsored by Keebler, the baked-goods company with an animated elf mascot, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department placed two tiny doors on trees in Schiller Park in German Village and one door each in Whetstone Park in Clintonville and Bicentennial Park Downtown.
"We just thought it was a great, whimsical idea," said Columbus Recreation and Parks spokeswoman Terri Leist. "The doors are meant to encourage people to visit these parks."
Eight-year-old Andrew Alaudini searched Schiller for the tiny doors with his brother and friends and proudly found one on the north side of the park.
"This is like a mansion for fairies," he said.
Small stones lead to the door, which is shaped like the head of an old elf.
"I think they are like a very good piece of art," Andrew said.
His friend Rachael Morbitzer, 7, noticed specks of blue glitter sparkling at the base of the other tiny door in the park.
"I think they are fairy dust," she said.
The "fairy dust" was not part of local artist Todd Camp's design, but he welcomed the addition scattered around the door he created.
"That's a lot of fun," he said. The doors are "neat little surprises people come across."
Moss outlines Camp's wooden door, and there are a handful of fake mushrooms around the base of the tree.
"It couldn't be modern looking," he said. "It had to look like it was placed there, built by elves."
Keebler paid four artists $400 each to create the doors and donated $5,000 to the city's PLAY fund, which provides scholarships for children from low-income families to participate in fee-based programs, Leist said.
Kenny Cramer created the other door in Schiller Park. Eric Rausch designed the one in Bicentennial Park, and Abel Hernandez made the one in Whetstone Park.
"The fun thing for people when they find the doors is that they actually do open," Leist said.
The hashtag #tinydoors is written on the back of the doors to encourage sharing through social media. The city also plans to spread the word about the doors through its social media and website.
"All throughout the summer, they will be here for people to enjoy," Leist said.
June 24, 2014