Roger Tofte, creator of Enchanted Forest, stands in Tofteville Western Town on Tuesday, October 27. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
Enchanted Forest will remain in business after raising over $360,000 from fans of the storied amusement park located just south of Salem.
In October, Enchanted Forest warned that it would go bust after nearly a half century of visitors flocking to the park each summer to ride the Ice Mountain Bobsled Roller Coaster, brave the Haunted House or stroll through Tofteville Western Town.
Pandemic restrictions sharply reduced its number of visitors this year. To make up for lost revenue, the Tofte family, which owns and operates the park, set up a GoFundMe page seeking to raise $500,000. The family explained that the money was needed to cover expenses such as payroll, insurance, taxes and maintenance performed on rides while Enchanted Forest closes for the winter.
In a video posted to Facebook on Wednesday, Dec. 2, Roger Tofte, the park’s creator, appeared with his daughters Mary Tofte and Sue Vaslev to announce they would be staying open.
“We want to thank everyone for supporting us so much,” said Roger Tofte, sitting in one of the park’s buildings.
As of Thursday, Dec. 4, the park’s GoFundMe has raised $361,043 from about 6,600 supporters — short of its $500,000 goal.
Vaslev told Salem Reporter that Enchanted Forest has found other ways of raising money that will keep it afloat. She pointed to how earlier this year, the park began an online auction of old plans of the park as well as Roger Tofte’s artwork depicting scenes of Enchanted Forest and other memorabilia.
She didn’t have a figure for how much the auctions have raised but said some items sold for more than $1,000. Auction sales have slowed and the park will move collectible items to its online store that includes T-shirts, figurines, plush toys and other items, said Vaslev. The last item to be auctioned will be a rare vinyl pressing of music composed by Vaslev that’s played throughout the park, she said.
Vaslev said Enchanted Forest has promoted its online store and increased the number items sold there. Fans of the park can now pay $250 to “Buy A Brick,” allowing them to have a special message engraved on one of the bricks that line the pathways in Enchanted Forest, she said.
Between the GoFundMe (which people can still donate to) and online sales, Vaslev said the park should be able to reopen for its season on March 19. While the U.S. is preparing to widely distribute Covid vaccines, Vaslev said it’s possible the park will still have to cope with reduced capacity to control the spread of the virus.
In the meantime, she said the Tofte family is grateful for the community support.
“It has just amazed us,” she said. “Boy, I had no idea it meant so much to so many people. It seems like they are really taking pride in saving us.”
Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.
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