Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA
Would ya lookie here, we're back with another update--once again from Knott's Berry Farm. And today, we're checking out the 2018 Boysenberry Festival, which kicked off last Friday and runs through Sunday, April 8th! This spring seasonal event has become a fan favorite ever since its humble beginnings several years ago as an experimental food festival, and it's become the alternative event to Disney California Adventure's Food & Wine Festival!
We were on hand this past Sunday to see what this year's tribute to all things boysenberry brought to the Farm, so lets dive right into all the diabetic goodness!
The Crafts Fair
As this event has grown, it's expanded beyond just an eating event and incorporated aspects of some of Knott's other seasonal overlays. In particular, just as during Knott's Merry Farm, there's a crafts fair spread throughout Ghost Town featuring local vendors of an assortment of handmade items, selling their wares. From soaps to knit caps to succulent displays to plushes, there are plenty of unique and cozy items to purchase.
In addition, Knott's is selling its own set of boysenberry-related merchandise. There are T-shirts, gift baskets, boysenberry soda and jerky, and other sweet and official items. Just wander through Ghost Town to see how the spring has brought out the entrepreneurs!
Details and Ambiance
The Knott's prop and set department has done a fantastic job making the park (mostly Ghost Town) look even more charming and lovely than normal. A variety of floral bouquet arrangements, and boysenberry decorations can be found throughout the area, and they really provide a lively, invigorating vibe to the historic environment. Major props go out to the painters and decorators--including several members who double as Haunt monsters during the fall--for their hard work and excellent attention to detail!
Of course, the main attraction at the Boysenberry Festival is the food. Knott's has a dozen and a half restaurants and stands throughout Ghost Town that are selling a variety of boysenberry-inspired dishes, both savory and sweet, available throughout the event. Some of these items are on the regular menu, while others have been created just for the Boysenberry Festival.
In addition, guests can purchase a tasting card that allows the sampling of 8 food items located at 8 different stands throughout Ghost Town. The format for the food tasting is a little different this year. Rather than be allotted one item per booth, guests can use the tabs for any combination of items--but only across the 8 participating food stands. This means they can have 8 of the same dish if they like it enough, or 4 pairs, or try all 8 unique dishes crafted for the Boysenberry Festival.
This year featured a mix of old and new items. The Boysenberry Sausage was easily the hit of the day, with a delicious boysenberry relish and boysenberry mustard and ketchup available. The Boysenberry Short Rib was delicious as usual--a tender favorite from past years. And the Elote was tasty with a nice smack of spice to mix with the sweet, tangy boysenberry butter. I'd recommend those three, most definitely.
On the other hand, the hummus was easily the least impressive item out of the 8 available on the tasting card, and I thought the Boysenberry Boba--another intriguing item--wasn't really anything special. Just a saturation of syrupy sweetness mixed with milk tea and firm boba balls.
Wine and Craft Brew Tasting Garden
Over in the Wilderness Dance Hall, the wine and beer tastings are back. Guests can purchase a wine and beer tasting card (just as in previous years), which comes with a snack tray of cheese, crackers, and fruit, and six pours from any wine stand inside the Dance Hall or the boysenberry beer and cider tap outside. Many of the wineries from last year are back this year, and yes, boysenberry wine is back!
Tied Up In Knott's Art Show
New this year is a curated art exhibit showcasing pop and stylized art inspired by Knott's Berry Farm attractions and the park itself. This punny exhibition features artists from all over, including some Knott's employees. The art show can be found on the stage of the Wilderness Dance Hall, making it a convenient thing to check out while imbibing in the wine and beer.
Cordelia's Pie Kitchen
Right next to the Wilderness Dance Hall, in what's normally the Pony Express Outpost, kids and parents can make their own boysenberry pies in an interactive experience.
Most of this year's entertainment line-up is a repeat of last year's Boysenberry Festival, so read up on our 2017 coverage if you want to check out more information and photos. We caught a few of the evens on hand, and while they're primarily family-oriented, they still provided some good, old-fashioned fun.
Snoopy's Boysenberry Jamboree
The only show that seems to be specifically geared toward the Boysenberry Festival, Snoopy's Boysenberry Jamboree returns from last year with the same, charming show. From the big opening dance number to a Calico beauty pageant, it's your typical family-friendly Peanuts big dance number. Only this one features the Easter Beagle!
Old Time Melodrama
This classic Bird Cage Theater Show continues this year, and just as last year, involves a devious plot by a dastardly villain to commandeer the boysenberry crop. It's silly and hilarious, and guests might even recognize some familiar Knott's faces in the show.
Calico Park Fun and Games
Similar to the Peanuts Celebration, there are a series of games and activities for kids to partake at Calico Park. These occur at various times throughout the afternoon and into the early evening. Just fun interactive contests.
History of the Boysenberry Presentation
This wonderfully produced documentary from last year plays at the Calico Town Hall building, across from the Schoolhouse, and narrates the history of Walter and Cordelia Knott, their farming success, and the early days of Knott's Berry Farm! It's a touching story full of resilience and hope, and a fantastic tribute to the park's founders.
Old MacDonald's Barn
The barn in Ghost Town is always open for visit, and during the Boysenberry Festival, that remains the case. This isn't a show by any means, but it's included in the park's entertainment listings.
Boardwalk BBQ Duo
This guitar duo plays surf rock covers to guests dining outside the Boardwalk BBQ. They're not specific Boysenberry Festival entertainment, just regular park live music. But they're on the entertainment bill too.
Fiesta with DJ Cruz
When I passed by the scene on Sunday, DJ Cruz was teaching a group of kids how to line dance to a Spanish version of "Acey Breaky Heart." Stop by the Fiesta Village Stage if that sounds like your jam.
Calico Saloon Show
Once again, the Calico Saloon puts on its boysenberry-centric version of its normal song and dance act. Dakota Dan and Cameo Kate offer slapstick jokes and witty banter in this classic bit of Knott's theater.
There are a plethora of other shows at Knott's during the Boysenberry Festival, shows that are on the park's normal line-up. From the Ghost Town Miners to Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies to the Frontier Feats of Wonder Stunt show, there's a lot of entertainment to be had. Combine that with the food throughout the festival and the lovely ambiance, and you have a great event that continues to grow in popularity! So go check out the festival before it ends on April 8th! It's a fun day to be made!
That's it from Knott's. We'll close the week with a visit to the Disneyland Resort to see what's progressed over the past couple of weeks. Spoilers: it's more construction. Until then...
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.