Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA
Happy National Boysenberry Day, everyone! Yes, today is the first-ever National Boysenberry Day, as declared by... whoever is in charge of national days. And also Knott's Berry Farm. To celebrate, we're going to take a look at this year's iteration of Knott's Boysenberry Festival! Now in its third year and running through Sunday, April 23, the Boysenberry Festival has become Knott's spring season event. With a charming marketplace, fun entertainment, and of course, delicious food offerings, this complement to Disney California Adventure's Food and Wine Festival has become a popular even in its own right! Lets take a look at what's to check out this year.
First, though, a few housekeeping things. Knott's has finally joined the rest of the Southern California theme park crowd in installing metal detectors at its entrances. Sadly, the reality of these days means that even America's First Theme Park now must screen guests for weapons. This will increase waits getting into the park (something to keep in mind come Haunt time, when the park is at its busiest), but the process seems to be fairly efficient (based on Saturday's busy cycling).
Also, in Fiesta Village, work is ongoing for the installation of the new Sol Spin ride on the site of the grave of Windseeker. And in the Boardwalk area, the new VR Showdown in Ghost Town upcharge attraction has opened.
Oh yeah! And Boomerang is closing forever this month. The last day of operation is Sunday, April 23--same as the final day of the Boysenberry Festival. Get your final rides in if you're a concussion enthusiast. It won't be missed.
Boysenberry Festival Ambiance
The Boysenberry Festival brings charming berry-themed decorations throughout Ghost Town and even to other areas of the park. Similar to some of Knott's other seasonal overlays, like Knott's Merry Farm, there are various vendor stalls set up throughout Ghost Town to sell arts and crafts and home-made items. The theming is absolutely lovely--hand painted signage and flowery arrangements bring for the new life of springtime, and under the rustic environment of Ghost Town, they really make for a nostalgic environment!
Similar to Disney's Food and Wine Festival, the feature attraction of the Boysenberry Festival are the food and drink options. Everything carries a Boysenberry theme, of course, so folks who don't enjoy the fruit that made Knott's famous probably won't care for this event. Then again, those folks are also probably monsters.
Anyhoo, for those of us who enjoy theme park adulting, there is a nice wine and beer tasting area inside and just outside the Wilderness Dance Hall. Guests can purchase a $25 tasting card that provides (6) samples from the (9) wine booths set up inside and the boysenberry beer and cider stand outside. The tasting card also comes with a complementary fruit, cracker, and cheese tray, to pair with the booze.
There is also a nearly overwhelming selection of boysenberry flavored food items both sweet and savory all around Ghost Town. Those who want a sampling of featured items can purchase a boysenberry food tasting card (also $25) from multiple locations throughout Ghost Town and try tapas sized offerings of (6) tasty treats. In addition, dining locations throughout the area have special seasonal food items available for order. The best part is that season passholders who don't quite make it to each tasting card station can save their cards and us the remainder on a future visit within the Boysenberry Festival run. The same appears to apply for the wine tasting card too, which has no date stamp on it.
As with every Knott's seasonal event except for Haunt these days, there are a TON of shows to check out during the Boysenberry Festival. They're listed on the special Boysenberry Festival guide. Some, like the Calico Saloon Show and Mystery Lodge, are recurring shows that happen throughout the year. Others, like Snoopy's Boysenberry Jamboree and History of the Boysenberry, have been created just for this event. Lets take a look at some of the offerings!
History of the Boysenberry Presentation
This short video can be viewed at the Calico Town Hall. Just several minutes long, it gives guests a brief history of the boysenberry, from its invention and abandonment by Rudolph Boysen to its cultivation and proliferation by Walter Knott. It's the berry that put Knott's on the map, so obviously, it holds a special place in park lore.
Calico Park Fun, Music, and Games
Throughout the day, guests can engage in dance, song, and eating contests in Calico Park. With performances and events running about hourly, this area provides a festive, town gathering atmosphere for Ghost Town.
Snoopy's Boysenberry Jamboree
The marquee show for the Boysenberry Festival is Snoopy's Boysenberry Jamboree, which follows the Peanuts characters as they get ready and go through the festivities of the town's annual springtime celebration. Located at the main stage at Calico Square, this show sees Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, and friends and a host of dancers and singers put on an adorable and wonderful performance to jazz up the season.
Old Time Melodrama
Over at the Bird Cage Theatre, old fashioned vaudeville style storytelling comes to life in an intimate setting as a four-piece company tells the story of a sheriff investigating the mysterious death of the local boysenberry farmer, and a devious villain who aims to make a new empire out of the boysenberry. Along the way are twists and turns and laughs and romance. With heavy audience participation and actors who ham it up to the energy, this is a fantastically entertaining stage show that's fun for everyone!
Ghost Town Miners
Over behind the Fireman's BBQ stand, a five-piece country and bluegrass band entertains audiences with energetic and slapstick songs.
Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies
The Knott's favorite with a large fan following makes its outdoor debut with evening performances at the Wagon Camp, regularly home to the Frontier Feats of Wonder Stunt Show. The former longtime Disneyland performers have found a great home at Knott's, with their high strung (get it) and hilarious act attracting plenty of laughs, cheers, and repeated viewings. Despite the larger capacity of their new venue, they still pulled in crowds on Saturday. Could this become a permanent move?
The preceding was just a fraction of what's available to watch for guest enjoyment. It doesn't even include nighttime entertainment, like the Studio K Classic Dance Party or Fiesta with DJ Cruz, which provide the venue for grooving over at the Cloud 9 Ballroom and Fiesta Village, respectively.
And that's that for our coverage of this year's Boysenberry Festival. In just a few short years, it's gone from a fun idea to try to a legitimate and established event that people anticipate. Moving up to three weeks and four weekends is a great sign for the event, and if the Saturday crowds were any indication, this great seasonal promotion can probably support even longer.
So make your way over to the Farm this month and check out all things boysenberry! I don't think you'll regret it!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.