Knott’s Berry Farm will once again celebrate its Boysenberry Festival March 28 – April 12 this year, encompassing Spring and Easter celebrations as well as the annual celebration of the little berry that started it all.
(EDITOR NOTE: Join the MiceChatters on Saturday the 28th of March for the opening day of the Boysenberry Festival. We’ll meet on the garden patio of the Wilderness Dance Hall in Ghost Town at noon. We’ll sample the boysenberry treats, enjoy the festival entertainment, and partake in the wine tasting. Plus surprises and a ride on the Calico Mine Train! Don’t miss out, come join us a Knott’s. For more information about this informal meetup, check out the MiceChat Facebook Group HERE.
Bird Cage Square, located in front of the Bird Cage Theater, will be the place where many of the events take place, including the messily fun pie-eating contest. Little kids get to try to gobble up the most boysenberry pie in the shortest amount of time. New this year will be Grandpa’s Boysenberry PJ Contest, where contestants will race to fill oversized purple long-johns with balloons.
Special entertainment will include “Peanuts Party in the Park” at Charleston Circle Fountain (one of the two fountains from the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant in the film “Hello, Dolly!”) with Peanuts characters singing and dancing with the audience among flowers and confetti. At night, the Circle transforms into “Jammin’ in the Dark”, with DJ HowLy and special lighting effects on the decor of the fountain itself. If salsa is more your style, head over to Fiesta Village for dancing to popular Latin music.
The Easter Beagle and Lucy’s Really BIG Spring Show will entertain the little ones in Camp Snoopy during the day, and Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies (you know, THOSE guys) will entertain guests of all ages inside the iconic Bird Cage Theater in Ghost Town. Ghost Town itself will be transformed into a boysenberry paradise, with gorgeous decorations by Jeff Shadic and his team, as well as cutouts of WANTED posters and other cute and funny scenes for guests to stick their heads in and pose for a picture. There will also be craftsmen like blacksmiths, glass blowers and chainsaw carvers working their craft in front of rapt audiences.
The shows, contests, entertainment and decor are all fantastic, but the number one draw for Knott’s Boysenberry Festival is the food, and this year promises to top last year’s in a big, FUN way. A few of the MiceChat staff were lucky enough to get to sample some of this year’s offerings, which include:
- Fried Alligator with Boysenberry Aioli: This returns from last year with no discernible changes. It tastes like a cross between chicken nuggets and fish sticks. The aioli is lovely, creamy with just a hint of warmth to it.
- Corn on the Cob with Boysenberry Butter: Half-ears of boiled corn served steaming hot with a savory-sweet Boysenberry Butter on the side.
- Fish & Chips Sandwich with Boysenberry Tartar Sauce: A delicious twist on a classic, breaded fish is served on a roll with freshly-made potato chips instead of french fries. The salty, starchy taste would be an overload, but the boysenberry tartar sauce brings a lot of flavor to this dish.
- Boysenberry Chicken & Sausage Sandwich served on Knott’s Fresh Boysenberry Bun: If you like the chicken-apple sausage at ‘Ohana, you’re going to love this. It’s fantastic even without the bread, which adds sweetness to the savory spice of the chicken, sausage and grilled vegetables.
- All-Beef Hot Dog with Boysenberry Relish and Boysenberry Ketchup: We got two thick hot dogs on one extra-long hot dog bun. The boysenberry taste in the ketchup and relish was very mild.
- Fried Cheese Curds with Spicy Boysenberry Dipping Sauce: Don’t be frightened by the “spicy” – there’s just a hint here. The cheese curds are breaded, fried and served with french fries in a long cone with sauce tray like the alligator. This is a don’t miss in my book, especially if you’re a cheese lover.
- My other favorite is the Ribs with Knott’s Famous Boysenberry BBQ Sauce. Even better than Sonny’s Sweet Sauce, and that’s saying something. The ribs are slow-cooked at 180 degrees for a full day. The meat is tender, tasty and falls right off the bone. It’s delicious, but it’s definitely not dainty. Grab an extra wet nap.
- Knott’s classic Boysenberry Pie. I hope you can get it hot and a la mode too.
- Boysenberry Cheesecake: more sweet and creamy than cheesy, with whipped cream, purple sprinkles and chocolate shavings on top.
- Deep-Fried Boysenberry Ice Cream: I love deep-fried ice cream, but have only ever had vanilla. This is a perfect twist for the festival.
- Dessert Boysenberry Flautas: almost like a Mexican cannoli. Flautas are tortillas curled up into a tube, like a flute (hence the name). These flautas are filled with a wonderful boysenberry cream. I’d like to see cannoli with boysenberry ricotta cheese next year.
- Boysenberry Chocolate and Cream Cheese Mousse: This was nice because it’s not overly sugary. The cream cheese mousse was heavier than most mousses, but it was really better that way; it gave the dish some gravitas.
- Boysenberry Cotton Candy is back, and you can get it fresh on a paper cone or in a plastic tub that has a really cute label.
- Chocolate Dipped Boysenberry Creamsicle: Crafted esspecially for Knott’s Berry Farm, are the mouth-watering Boysenberry popsicles with a vanilla ice cream center, dipped in rich milk chocolate.
- Boysenberry Trifle: Similar to the mousse (I kept confusing the two) but with a small piece of cake at the bottom. The dark chocolate straws are a perfect wine pairing.
- Last but certainly not least, the viral sensation of the festival, the FUN BUN. So, there’s a huge cinnamon roll, and they coat that in funnel cake batter and fry it. They then top it with boysenberry cream cheese icing. To die for. No, seriously, it almost killed Norm!
Norman Gidney interjects… “The Fun Bun more than lived up to the hype surrounding it. Probably one of the single most delicious desserts I have had in recent memory. The crunchy outer layer of funnel cake crumbles like a candy shell to reveal a rich, buttery, sweet, cinnamon roll within, never crossing the line into painfully sweet or repulsively rich. Then there is the Boysenberry cream cheese frosting that caps everything off, turning the entire affair into a gigantic mass off compulsively edible decadence. While there is more than enough to share, I give you fair warning. You may not be willing to.”
- Wine and Craft Brew Garden in Wilderness Dance Hall
- Knott’s says there’s also: “Boysenberry ICEE Floats, Boysenberry Frappuccino and Latte (served at the new Gourmet Coffee Hut which proudly serves Starbucks drinks), and more charbroiled treats cooked on open-air barbeques throughout the streets of the festival.”
- What about the Boysenberry Cream Cheese Jalapenos? No word yet. Please?
I’m so so so so so very happy that this year I can buy the Boysenberry BBQ Sauce! Boysenberry Taffy, Gummy Bears, stick candy, candy bars, jams and jellies, pancake syrup, honey (in a cute lil bear) Cane Sugar Soda, and the surprise hit of last year, boysenberry plants! Every single boysenberry plant on earth traces its roots to Knott’s Berry Farm.
I saved the best for last, because it falls into several of the above categories: Knott’s Bear-y Tales Interactive Pie Making. Kids (big kids too, I hope) can join the Bear-y Tales family and friends inside the Toy Barn (where several of the classic ride’s figures still perform), where they will learn about the process of how boysenberries become award-winning pie. They can also bake their very own boysenberry tart with crumble topping. We also learned that there will be TWO new Bear-y Tales t-shirts on sale during the event.
Knott’s Boysenberry Festival is fast becoming a must-do for the West Coast, like the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival has become on the East Coast. Isn’t it marvelous what can happen when the people who run a theme park respect the past and strive for the highest quality in the present and future?
Ok folks, let’s hear from you. Which treats caught your attention?