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UPDATED: Evermore Park closing, report says; ex-vendors hope to keep sense of community alive

By Curtis Booker - | Apr 9, 2024

Isaac Hale, Daily Herald file photo

Attendees make their way into Evermore Park during its grand opening Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, in Pleasant Grove.

Evermore Park would’ve celebrated its sixth anniversary this fall, but the property’s owner says the Pleasant Grove fantasy attraction has closed its doors for good due to financial troubles.

Evermore CEO Ken Bretschneider told the Daily Herald that the COVID-19 pandemic had long-lasting impacts on the park’s ticket sales and, combined with rising inflation, the burden was too heavy to keep the business going.

“We were just hit hard between COVID, and ticket sales went significantly down in 2023 due to the economy,” Bretschneider said. “Along with some other complicated issues from the past, some construction and things like we had right from the beginning. Yeah, we just couldn’t make another year … and had to make the decision to close down.”

Brandon Fugal, chairman of Colliers International, who owns the property where Evermore is located, told The Salt Lake Tribune that the property’s tenants “failed to make their business plan and operating model work.”

The Utah County fantasy adventure Renaissance fair opened in September 2018.

Speculations around the park closing have been swirling since at least last fall. Last September, Bretschneider told the Daily Herald the park was preparing for its Halloween event and that, despite its financial hardships, the park was “not shutting down.”

Fast forward to last month, when Landry Hyde got the official word that Evermore Park was indeed closing for good.

Hyde owns White Stagg Hydeaway, where he sells crafts and costumes. He worked as a vendor at Evermore for three years.

Hyde says news of the park closing hit him hard. “About three of four weeks ago, we were told to pack up our stuff and leave out and it was heartbreaking. Luckily, the one thing that most of us would miss the most was the community,” he said, adding that some of the previous vendors have found ways to still maintain that community and interact with fellow fantasy-themed adventure enthusiasts.

“But luckily we’ve been able to make this Provo (Towne Centre) mall our community. Three or four of the stores here are previous vendors at Evermore and we all have created a market the second weekend every month. We do a ren faire market that’s like a fantasy ren faire, so we have our communities here at the mall,” Hyde told the Daily Herald.

Kaitlund Zupanic is another of those vendors, who for nearly three years sold items at Evermore. She owns Drawn to Dragons inside the Provo Towne Centre.

“I was incredibly sad to hear was what was happening. We love Evermore; it’s like a second family for us, and we absolutely love the park,” Zupanic said.

She described the atmosphere as amazing and said it never felt like work when she was there. Just like Hyde, she’s grateful for the sense of community Evermore built and is working with others to keep it going.

“We’re trying to create another space like Evermore where people can hang out enjoy and have fun … LARPing (live action role-playing), quest and do all of the things that we’d love to Evermore, at least until hopefully we’re able to get another event or community going like Evermore again,” Zupanic told the Daily Herald.

Evermore hasn’t gone without its share of issues.

In 2021, the park filed a lawsuit against Taylor Swift for what it claimed was trademark infringement, according the Deseret News. This was shortly after Swift released her ninth studio album, titled “Evermore.” The global mega-star fought back by countersuing the park, but both parties ultimately dropped their lawsuits.

In 2020, the park nearly filed bankruptcy after failing to pay contractors who worked on the park, Utah Business reported.

As for what’s next, Fugal told The Salt Lake Tribune that “something new is coming to that space” but didn’t go into any further details.

Bretschneider expressed his gratitude to all of the vendors, actors and patrons who helped make Evermore a magical experience, but he said the stress of trying to figure out how the park would survive financially or how they’d even make payroll was taking a toll on him and its board of directors.

“We survived six years of that, but it just couldn’t continue on,” he said.


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