By Ed and Janice Helmick
February always presents an interesting dilemma of where to go that is easy to get to and amazing to visit. The answer to that question is about 20 minutes up I-15 from south Utah County. It is an 11-acre Medieval Gothic village with a population of 60 friendly residents. My wife, Janice and I visited the village which is known as Evermore Park in Pleasant Grove. It was an incredibly amazing and entertaining experience. It is a total immersion step back in time and place.
Evermore Park opens at 5 p.m. and we arrived as the entrance opened for the evening. We wanted to see what we could of the village before it got completely dark. The authenticity of the architecture was an amazing sight. Antique fixtures, doors, window jams, and furniture were collected from throughout Europe and incorporated into the village buildings. Everything looks old and in some cases it is. Janice was immediately impressed with the cobblestone walkway.
A staff of approximately 60 actors and actresses role play with guests. The authenticity of the participants’ dress caught our attention. The hand work and stitching on the costumes was beautifully intricate. Many of the men were wearing capes. Everyone – men and women were wearing knee high boots.
The first character we saw looked like a village farmer with a pig in a cart filled with hay. Shortly after that, we visited with a fellow who had a pet dragon. Then we talked to a couple of villagers who were a little further down the street. We entered the tavern and were greeted by Suds, the bartender who is a true midget. The old English accents were perfect and all the participants we talked to were genuine and comfortable with their roles. It truly felt like we had entered a European gothic village.
At sunset, the village came aglow with a spectacular array of lights reminiscent of Christmas. The winter village is called Aurora and the King and Queen were beautifully dressed. Their elves were busy moving around and visiting with the village guests. The village had a family feeling and the members of the cast refer to each other as uncle and cousin. It was a cold January night when we visited, and several fire pits were blazing with warmth for rest stops as you wander the village pathways. While pausing at one of the fire pits a young lady showed up with another pet dragon which generated a lot of conversation from the guests. As we were leaving, we met one of the locals with a miniature horse and a little more conversation about this unique horse.
We spent an enjoyable and entertaining three hours in the 14th century before returning to the Saturday night reality of 21st century I-15. The park is located at 382 Evermore Lane in Pleasant Grove right off I-15. For more information and tickets call (385) 323-5135 or check out the website at www.evermore.com.