Evermore: a LARP themepark, elaborately themed and filled with costumed actors

We narrowly escaped the skeletal knights patrolling the darkness. We arrived to the relative safety of the Burrows where an angry hag was seated at the end of a long table, lost in her thoughts. We made this dangerous journey at the request of a Blackheart Hunter named Killian, who asked us to help find a cure for the darkness infesting the land. She gave us a pair of black river stones and told us to have Mother Nature, who had become the cursed hag, inscribe them with runes of protection for use in the cure. We swallowed our fear and stepped forward to ask for her help.

I've been anticipating Evermore since Ken Bretschneider, the CEO and founder, first announced it at Salt Lake Comicon in the fall of 2013. He told a packed panel room about his idea of a theme park for live-action role players and the room went nuts. Finally someone with vision who shared our passion for embodying a character and wanting to give it the environment it deserved. At each successive convention he had a little more to show, from concept sketches, to a park model, culminating this year in standing up an entire building in the middle of the show for his park. It's taken five years and a couple of pauses but he's delivered on that initial promise.

My own LARP experience began when I happened upon a Belegarth and Amtgard group at my city park. I built some flat boffer swords, a foam shield, sewed some tunics and wrap pants. I even attended an all weekend campout where we had mass battles and shield lines. There wasn't much "role" in it, though. It was mostly stick tag. I've been tabletop roleplaying since I was 12 but fully invested character LARPing still held a powerful draw that those groups didn't really fulfill. This was the primary reason Evermore sounded so exciting.

The management behind the park has tried to make it as accessible as possible to the general public who may not even care about role-play. There is an exotic animals exhibit with birds of prey, lizards, and animal skeletons. There is also a central stage, with fire-dancers performing the night I attended. You also have the opportunity to throw axes or try your hand at archery. There was also fall concession fare such as caramel apples, spiced cider, and hot cocoa available.

But for those willing to dig in a little deeper they've created an entire adventure for world-walkers, the designated name for park attendees, to participate in. You learn about portals accidentally opening to magical, dark, and mundane realms and the effects it's had on the village and forest. You learn of the hunters, the elves, the fae, and the goblins, each with their own goals and motivations. You're asked to do tasks to join clans, gain favor, and help or hinder the encroaching darkness.

The park is populated with incredible buildings such as a tavern, a mausoleum, and the above-mentioned hobbit-hole as backdrops for your adventure. It is also populated by dedicated actors, dressed in professional costume and makeup, that bring the story to life and facilitate your adventures. My eight-year-old and I ended up earning a Hunter and a Con Man card for completing quests, and even at 11:30pm he didn't want to leave because there was still more to do.

Since our first trip, I may have become a little obsessed with finding out more. I've discovered an online community where people trade quest tips and experiences. I've even discovered a secret guild that participates in lore gathering, with nudges here and there from park performers.

Evermore held its grand opening on September 29th, 2018, and the Lore storyline is just the beginning. The designers of the park have planned a Victorian winter event called Aurora, and then next summer a Norse lantern festival called Mythos. I look forward to taking full advantage of season passes when they become available. If you're in the Salt Lake area, the park is just a 30 minute drive south to 382 S Evermore Lane, Pleasant Grove, UT 84062.

Evermore held its grand opening on September 29th, 2018. The Lore storyline, which runs through November 3rd, 2018, is just the beginning.