Sloss Fright Furnace producer explains closure after 22 years in Birmingham

Sloss Fright Furnace not returning this year
Published: Sep. 10, 2022 at 9:54 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Thousands are upset after finding out a Birmingham Halloween staple will not return this fall.

After 22 years in the Magic City, the producer of Sloss Fright Furnace says he was forced to make the heartbreaking decision after given new terms.

The annual haunted house gained nationwide attention over the years and producer Robbie Yarbrough says nearly a million people visited the attraction. He estimated 25,000-45,000 visitors each year.

Yarbrough says the main reason they are ending the attraction is because they were being required to significantly scale down the event.

“It would take the event from 23-24 days down to less than eight,” he said. “We had a half a million dollar operating budget and it just couldn’t be done.”

Other new terms included not setting up on stage/cast shed area and no giant slide in the parking area.

In the same email as the new terms, Yarbrough was told: “We find the Fright Furnace event in its current format too disruptive to school tours and other operations in its current format, and do not consider the event well aligned with Sloss’ mission or the image we wish to present.”

WBRC reached out the the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark Board for a comment which reads:

“Approximately three years ago Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark Board and the operators of Fright Furnace entered into negotiations regarding the use of the site. No agreement was reached, and the operators of Fright Furnace decided to pursue other alternatives to host this important event. Please contact the operators of Fright Furnace for updates, and other information, concerning the future of Fright Furnace.”

“It was our decision not to produce a half a million dollar budget event and only have eight days to recoup the money,” said Yarbrough. “No one in their right mind in a business deal would have done that.”

The announcement post is going viral now, reaching over half a million people on Facebook. Yarbrough said he was shocked and overwhelmed by the amount of support: “Thanks guys! It was a great run.”

Yarbrough tells me they spent some time looking for alternative venues but realized Sloss Fright Furnace wouldn’t be the same without Sloss Furnace.

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