Knotts Berry Farm Grows Great Entertainment and More

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features, In the Parks, Knott's Berry Farm

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Published on July 04, 2014 at 2:00 am with 13 Comments

I’ve just returned from the Farm and boy are they pulling out all the stops this summer.  As you know, they have recently renovated another one of their major classic attractions, the Calico Mine Ride.  But there is much more to see at Knotts Berry Farm .  Did you know about the tons of Live entertainment that recently began performances at the beginning of the summer season?  We will share some of the highlights with you today.  We will also show you which shows not to miss.  Speaking of entertainment, we also fill you in on what Knott’s Berry Farm will be doing for the 4th of July Holiday.  It’s not all good news, however.  A recent fire occurred inside the building that houses Johnny Rocket’s. Will that affect any plans for a dark ride in that space? We round things out by looking at the renovated Calico Mine Ride’s surprisingly beautiful lighting package after the sun goes down.


The summertime skyline of Knott’s Berry Farm promises fun.



Silver Bullet looms overhead as you enter the main gate.


 Live Entertainment

This summer Knott’s is filled with a krazy amount of Live entertainment.  With a roster made of former Disneyland cast members, world class entertainers, and engaging performers, the bar has been raised.  All of it is actually very good, with some of it being great!

Boom Town

Boomtown, the Gold Rush-themed acrobatic stage show, returns this year.  Leaner and more focused, the show is an overall improvement from its debut last year.  Performers jump, flip, bounce, cavort, and dangle from nearly every piece of the set. Fun and engaging, the performers grab your attention with their perma-smiles and flawless motor skills.







The crazy miner was particularly good, overcoming a failing mustache with humor and an irreverent tone.





The cast of Boom Town

Unfortunately, the one nearly fatal flaw with this show is still the slow pacing. It is vastly improved from last years version.  For that, they are to be commended.  But there are still too-long stretches of single performer segments which quickly get old. The talent on display here is wonderful.  But this is a big stage in a big area and requires a big show. To match the venue the pacing must be broad and break-neck and should never be allowed to sag.

Regardless, this is still fun entertainment for the whole family. We would recommend catching the show in the evening as the wonderful lighting is more visible and there is otherwise nothing to shade the audience during the day.


Snoopy Unleashed

The wonderful Snoopy Unleashed ice show returns to the Charles M. Schultz Theatre this summer and will run 6 days a week (closed Wednesdays) through the summer.  The Knott’s ice shows are a southern California tradition that surely must not be missed.


This year the same show from last summer returns with a few, almost imperceptible tweaks.  The show is very good.  But for those who had seen last years version, the opening number may seem to lack that over-the-top crowd pleasing beginning. Yes, the marching band has been minimized and it does weaken the powerful beginning that the show had last year. However, that is soon forgotten as all of the performers are spot on, energetic and wonderful.  This show is not-to-be-missed.



The Ghost Town Miners

A transplant from Disney California Adventure, the Ghost Town Miners entertain guests three times a night at the Spurs Chop house Patio.  These guys are the real deal and are some of the most talented blue grass players around.  Go over to the patio, order some for d’oeuvres, and enjoy the show.


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Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies


Another wonderful transplant from Disney, Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies (formerly Billy Hill and the Hillbillies) entertain guests in the Birdcage Theatre in Ghost town often to a packed house.  Kirk and the gang are simply wonderful, and a perfect fit here on the farm.  It is only a shame that they are stuffed into the so-so Birdcage.  The venue is in dire need of a refurbishment and is not exactly inviting to the wandering guest who are curious to see what’s inside.  Let’s hope that Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies either convince Knott’s to upgrade the venue or they get moved to a more prominent spot.


The wildly talented OPA OPA surprised the heck out of us.  This band took the stage in Fiesta Village and began to systematically win the heat-stricken crowd over with an infectious blend of salsa and meringue music.

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Soon enough members of the audience were up and dancing under the newly built canopy to the beat of this great band.  Next time you are in the park, grab a cool drink, pull up a chair and just give them a listen.  They surprised us and we know that you will enjoy them too.



Marshall Purdy

Finally, we head back to the Birdcage Theatre for another act; Marshal Purdy.  The Marshall is a quaint, beguiling little show of music comedy and magic tricks.  Engaging the audience he makes music up on the fly, pulls people up on stage, and really gets the crowd going.





There is still much more to see in regards to the live performances at Knott’s.  But we feel that these in particular were worth a mention.  Go explore the park entertainment.  It is surprisingly varied and high quality.

4th of July at Knott’s Berry Farm


Celebrate the Fourth of July at Knott’s Berry Farm all-day from 10am to 11pm. Enjoy the mentioned live entertainment throughout the day and look forward to the fantastic fireworks spectacular at night.

  • Performances of the ice show “Snoopy…Unleashed” will take place in the Charles Schulz Theatre at 2pm, 4pm, and 6pm.
  • The Mountain Fife and Drum Corps will march through select areas of the Park at 2:30pm & 5:15pm. Their patriotic music and authentic costumes will transport you back to the birth of this great nation.
  • Performances of Boom Town will take place in Calico Square at 7:30pm & 9pm.
  • The Salute to America Fireworks Show will light up the night sky at 10pm. Be sure to visit the refreshed Camp Snoopy with three new rides and head to Ghost Town to ride the newly restored Calico Mine Ride.

Fire at Johnny Rocket’s

On June 26th at around 2:20 am, inside the complex that houses Johnny Rocket’s, the Arcade, the Lazer Tag game, and the old Kingdom of the Dinosaurs show building, There was was a small fire apparently ignited by a welder’s torch. When the fire broke out, the sprinkler system kicked in and all workers were evacuated without injury.  Fortunately, the fire department is literally across the street and they responded quickly and effectively, saving the building from any major damage.



Haunt 2014

Haunt construction has begun backstage and near Xcelerator.  Though no mazes have been announced just yet, we think it is safe to assume that the wonderful Black Magic will be returning to this spot.


Calico Mine Ride

We return to the spectacular redo of the Calico Mine Ride.  However, this time we share with you the stunning lighting package that bathes the show building at night.


Matching the saturation and beauty found over at Cars Land or even Big Thunder Mountain, lighting designers James Sidler and Kyle Arnold up their game.  Each peak is a textured, carrot colored spire reaching into the night sky. While every water feature shimmers in tones of aqua and blue.

















This ride has never looked better. The immersive story, animated figures, sound and lighting surrounds guests in this completely reinvigorated attraction.  Again we say, GOOD JOB to the Knott’s team on this one.

Around Knott’s

We close the update with a few shots from around the park.








Thanks for reading this update from Knott’s Berry Farm.  We’ll see you In The Parks.

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • jcruise86

    (Please someone answer my question at the bottom.)

    Norm, that was an excellent update! THANK YOU! :) Our last Disneyland APs were so expensive that we made sure we got our money’s worth and went about 18 times before they expired in the fall of 2013. Disneyland is my favorite theme park, but I don’t feel a need to return for a couple of years.

    Your update did make me want to go back to Knotts! (I will for the Scary Farm in about 11 weeks.) All that former Disneyland talent, beautiful gardening, the train that gets robbed, Xcelerator, the still-excellent Mystery Lodge, the stage coach, the boysenberry pie.

    Thanks in advance for leading the great Micechat Scary Farm outing! If I volunteered to work on it passing out shirts, etc, the day of the event, do you think we could shorten the wait from the suggested arrival time till Micechatters entered the Boo-fet? Yes, you heard right, free labor offer from a polite (when not ranting on Micechat) proven leader/Jungle Cruise guide with three unnecessary graduate degrees, happily willing to “just follow orders.”

    Does the pair of funny can-can dancers still perform at the saloon show in the summer?

    • Wendygirl

      Yes! The Saloon show is currently the Summer run which includes not only the two main performers and the piano player but also someone on a drum set and the two can-can dancers and they are terrific!

      • jcruise86

        Thanks, Wendygirl!
        The can-can dancers I saw at Knotts were talented and funny, and reminded me of the Golden Horseshoe Revue.

        There’s a lot to like at Knotts. I found the employees and guests to be nice during our many visits when we had their (low-priced) “Season” Passes–which, if purchased in December can last for longer than four seasons. It’s not smart of Knotts to give these great values a name which makes it sound like they always last for just 3 months.

        Micechat is dominated by Disneyland fans, but it’s possible to have a big heart and LOVE Knotts, even if one loves Disneyland even more.

  • love2go2disney

    We visited Knotts for the first time this summer, and we loved it!! Our older kids loved the roller coaster, and our little one enjoyed camp snoopy. When we go to Disneyland, we are making sure Knotts is included in our vacation!!

  • Wendygirl

    Great update on Knotts. Loving this Park more and more especially with our former Disneyland entertainers (the Miners and the Hillbillies) there :) Planning to spend my July 4th at Knotts!

  • DisneylandManFan

    Both Knott’s and DIsneyland are legendary, in my book. Growing up in Orange County in the 70s and 80s, you can’t talk about one without talking about the other. I’m just ecstatic that Knott’s has been on a roll with their recent upgrades and entertainment options. Thank you, Cedar Fair (and Ouimet) for bringing back what may be precious to the current and future generations and, specifically what was once just a memory to the past one. And, thank YOU Norm, for putting together a fitting update and preview for those of us who haven’t had the chance to experience it yet.

  • victoriaskitten

    Norman great great pictures once again. I haven’t been to Knott’s since the 90′s and am thinking I need to find someone to go with again.

  • eicarr

    Spike looks cool. Knotts is on a roll. They’re a dark ride away from ending their over-reliance on generic 90′s teen coasters. Looking forward to regular trips to Knotts again(I’ll just have to live with Big Foot Rapids instead of Soap Box Racers).

  • C. Andrew Nelson

    I haven’t been to Knott’s Berry Farm since the 1970s. But thanks to these update articles I’m dying to return. I was turned off by the emphasis on thrill rides over the past couple decades. Now the charm that I knew as a child is finally returning to Knott’s. I hope they continue the roll they’re on. (And I hope there are more Garner Holt Productions projects coming to Knott’s in the not too distant future. )

  • DarthSavage

    Hopefully rumors are true of an interactive (shooter?) dark ride in the KOD/Bear-y Tales location for 2015!

    • Freddie Freelance

      I’m already jumping to conclusions about what it could be! Seriously, I’m looking at current and recent reports about dark rides in development and trying to guess what may or may not be going here.

  • Captain Pitchfork

    Just spent Thur, Fri, and Sat at Knotts. They have stepped it up quite a bit since our last visit in 09. The park was “Disney” clean and cast members were helpful and smiling. Lots of warm welcomes and helpful suggestions. Soak City is an utter disaster with the CM’s not holding any resemblance of order to the lines, tube disbursements, and general helpfulness. Soak needs the next overhaul but the main park is AWESOME!! We had the dining plan for a day and it worked out to our advantage. We also took advantage of the bakery by Ghost Rider at the end of our last day which will be our first stop next visit.
    Gold passes more than paid for themselves!! GREAT JOB KNOTTS!!!!!

    • Captain Pitchfork

      Oh yeah, the acrobatics show is fantastic and the refurbs of Log Ride and Calico were beyond phenomenal. I want to ride both many more times to see everything!!