The Anchorage Parking Fairies and How a $75 Ticket Started a Movement

In July 1994, Carolyn “Linny” Pacillo of Anchorage, Alaska, received a $75 ticket. She had recently purchased a truck and the previous owner had placed the renewal sticker on the wrong side of the license plate. She appealed, but only got the fine reduced to $25. The Anchorage Parking Authority (APA) had a reputation for aggressively ticketing the smallest offenses, some that had nothing to do with parking. They issued tickets for infractions as petty as having studded tires out of season and for cracked windshields. Linny was so irritated by the APA that she offered $75 in gas as a prize for the worst APA story. Needless to say, the stories started pouring in, with one of the worst being a ticket issued to a man who was fined for parking 10 inches from the curb, even though the APA code allows a gap of 18 inches. It was, however, when Linny set up a donation jar for people to help fill expired parking meters that she took on the moniker “the parking fairy.” The donation jar quickly filled with change, adding up to $86, with Linny donating to round it up to $100. It wasn’t long before Linny’s sister Susan joined her, with both women dressing in tutus, wings and tights. They patrolled downtown for expired meters, saving locals from far costlier tickets. Linny also bought and refurbished a 1973 Cushman — a 3-wheeled vehicle previously used for meter maid patrols. Of course, the vehicle became the Fairy Mobile, which gave Linny an advantage over the APA’s foot patrols. The parking fairies maintained their patrols, but in 1998 they hung up their wings. In 2006, Linny died at the age of 47 after a lengthy battle with muscular dystrophy. In 2007, state legislators named a new parking garage in downtown Anchorage after Linny. The Linny Pacillo Parking Garage features glasswork depicting two fairies dropping change into a parking meter beside the Fairy Mobile.