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Evermore Amusement Park is Nevermore in Utah
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Evermore, Utah's unique fantasy theme park, has closed. Located in Pleasant Grove, Utah, park officials announced, “with deep sadness” that “the portal has closed,” and it is shuttering its doors. On the website, the park noted “The past decade has been filled with its share of trials and tribulations, but mostly magic and imagination.”

The park opened its doors in 2018, as a theme park quite different from most attractions. It provided its guests with an experiential experience that placed visitors in the position of explorer participant rather than simply a guest.

The immersive experience was varied for all. While some guests came to simply stroll through the park's storybook village and enjoy its evocative seasonal lighting and live entertainment, others developed their own role-play characters, immersing themselves in the story of the park, which was set in an evolving, seasonally changing fantasy of Victorian England. The park was “inclusive, fun, and safe” according to the Evermore's closing announcement, offering an experience which “provided many miracles …with hundreds of thousands of people visiting throughout the years.”

The official statement goes on to note that “It's our hope that the magical moments at Evermore Park continue on through the memories of the all the people who made it such a special place.”

According to Evermore Park founder and owner Ken Bretschneider, the park's closure was due to a combination of financial challenges, inflation, and the lingering effects of the pandemic. However, the park was at one point also involved in a tangled legal dispute with mega star Taylor Swift. The dispute arose with dueling lawsuits filed in 2021 between the park and the singer over her album “Evermore.” The park had sued Swift for trademark infringement when her album was released; Swift countersued. This year both parties dropped their lawsuits.

Bretschneider is focused on the positives. “We are grateful for the many amazing experiences that happened in our little park and hope that it made a positive impact on the people who visited,” he relates. The decision to close did not come lightly, according to Bretschneider. Its entirely original experience as a theatrical theme park was close to his heart, as it arose from a Halloween Home Haunt that the founder and his friends created successfully back in the late 2000s. The theme park's concept debuted to great enthusiasm at Salt Lake City's Fan X Convention in 2014, where a booth indicated the park's design, sets, costumes, and model. Design and construction followed in 2016, and the park's opening took place in 2018. Over its years of operation, the park won several awards and was described by Time magazine in 2019 as one of the top 50 places to visit worldwide.

Despite the park's many accolades, Brandon Fugal, who owns the acreage on which the park was located, noted that the park struggled for years, ultimately failing to make their operation work.

Fugal says the closure did not come as a surprise. “After months of not paying rent or expenses, they ceased operations and have moved out. I personally acquired the property over two years ago and settled millions of dollars in liens in an effort to save Evermore Park and preserve the vision,” he explains, noting that he structured a new “very friendly lease.” Despite these efforts, he relates that the park “unfortunately failed and defaulted.”

Bretschneider describes the park as having “faced significant challenges from the beginning, which intensified in 2020 with the COVID pandemic closures, followed by reduced consumer spending in 2021 and even more so in 2023, coupled with inflation…” While he foresaw some new and promising opportunities that “would have provided needed bridge capital and potential to grow revenue in 2024” circumstances changed at the beginning of this year and the park was forced to close. The park had previously taken out two loans of over $1 million dollars in 2020 and 2021, both of which were forgiven.

Evermore was located on 12.75 acres, and is already slated to become a new, as yet undisclosed, attraction. Fugal states that the property is currently “under contract with a very well-capitalized group who is not only keeping the 27 existing old-world structures intact but finishing everything with new improvements.” He asserts that details about a new venture will be available in a few weeks, adding that ““I look forward to unveiling the next chapter and a bright future ahead.”
Fugal goes on to say that his reason for purchasing Evermore Park was to preserve its vision.  “Anyone who follows what I am involved in, in the commercial real estate sector, knows that I don't do anything halfway. I have a track record for representing the most upscale projects in Utah,” Fugal said. “And this will be no different.”

During its five years of operation, the park was open on weekends for experiences which changed seasonally, presenting the themes “Lore” in the fall, “Aurora” in the winter, and “Mythos” in the spring and summer. The December 2023 Aurora was its last seasonal experience.

Bretschneider says that at the end of 2023's Aurora performances, staff were informed of upcoming events and tryouts, but also alerted to the difficulties the park faced and its efforts to find possible solutions.

He notes that “Evermore Park forged new ground in immersive and interactive entertainment, which presented many challenges, as it's never easy to do something new.”

Only a small number of full-time employees were still working in early 2024 to maintain the park. The decision to close was made at the end of March 2024.

The park allowed visitors to join a wide range of activities, including interacting with the actors who were dressed as fantasy characters, watching live entertainment such as a bird and reptile show, or riding The Evermore Express train around the park. Guests could also try archery and axe throwing. There were fortune tellers and strolling musicians, knights in armor and miniatures ponies, acrobats, bagpipe players, and even dragons.

 “To us Evermore Park was an amazing place where artists/creatives from all walks of life came together to deliver a Magical Story and an escape from reality,” the park's closing statement reads, along with the hope that the “magical moments at Evermore Park continue on through the memories of all the people who made it such a special place.”

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