Walter Knott was the first person to commercially cultivate the boysenberry, which is a hybrid of the raspberry, blackberry and loganberry. While Knott may have successfully grew the plant on his Buena Park farm, fellow farmer Rudolph Boysen brought the idea to him after several failed experiments. The rest is history. While it took several decades for the theme park to recognize the popular fruit though a festival, the result was worth the wait. This year’s festival has grown to over 75 boysenberry themed food and drink items, ranging from boysenberry wings to a deep fried cinnamon roll coated in funnel cake batter with a boysenberry frosting. Take home a bottle of BBQ sauce, a bag of coffee, or a box of rock candy.
The three week, daily event (which runs through Sunday, April 23) offers guests an opportunity to purchase items a la carte, or sample selections through a tasting card. The $25 punch card includes six items, including Boysenberry BBQ Meatballs, a Fry Bread and Panna Cotta. A new item this year, (included on the tasting card), is the Boysenberry Pizza, which is made with arugula, goat cheese, black forest ham, almond slices and more. While the feedback ranges from hating it, to loving it… this is a unique item only found here at Knott’s. Personally, I thought it was delicious, and have been craving it since last weekend. theFUNnelCakeBlog’s favorite items this year includes the Boysenberry Apricot BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich (located at Fireman’s BBQ), the Boysenberry Meatballs, and the previously mentioned pizza. In terms of dessert, a must-try is the Boysenberry Nutella Crepe (inside of Spurs), and the lighter Boysenberry Triffle (think strawberry shortcake – but better). Inside the Wilderness Dance Hall, find dozens of wines and craft beers. Try the deliciously sweet Boysenberry Wine, or the Boysenberry (alcoholic) Cider. Buy a glass, or a punch card of six tastings, with a cheese plate for $25.00. If you want to create your own pie, visit the newly built Cordelia’s Pie Kitchen, which has taken over the former Outpost. For around $6.00, kids (and adults) can become a pastry chef, and eat their creation after. The staff has done an amazing job decorating this building. Let’s hope they keep it.
Learn about the history of the boysenberry and the park itself by viewing a short and rather informative documentary, which plays continuously throughout the day inside of the Town Hall. A variety of other entertainment takes place throughout Ghost Town, and includes line dancing, games, performance by The Ghost Town Miners and Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies. Meet and pet farm animals inside the barn at the end of Main Street. At night, an 80’s dance party takes over the Boardwalk Ballroom/Cloud 9. “Snoopy’s Boysenberry Jam-Boree” is a large-scale, toe-tapping seasonal-themed production which features the Peanuts characters and more than a dozen singers and dancers. This is by far one of the best shows the park has put on and rivals the ice shows that take place during the summer and holiday season. Make sure to take the time to see this show!
A highlight this year is the return of the live melodrama inside of The Bird Cage Theatre. Knott’s was once home to the longest running melodrama in the country and launched the career of many well-known celebrities, including Steve Martin. While the theatre is used at Christmas for live shows, this is the first melodrama in decades.
With a cast of four, audience participation is key in this hysterically funny, fast-paced play, which incorporates a boysenberry theme. Boo and cheer along with the actors. This is a must-see. Knott’s made the right choice on bringing back this important part of the park’s history.
For too long, corporate management ignored what made Knott’s what it is today… food and entertainment. The Boysenberry Festival manages to honor the legacy of Walter and Cordelia Knott, while providing creative culinary treats and entertaining live shows. The festival has become a highlight of the park’s operating calendar.
For more information, visit knotts.com For updates and photos, visit facebook.com/theFUNnelCakeBlog
GALLERY - Beautiful park decor creates an inviting atmosphere.
GALLERY - Delicious Boysenberry Themed Foods
GALLERY - Boysenberry Merchandise For Sale
GALLERY - Experiences and Entertainment
GALLERY - Snoopy's Boysenberry Jam-Boree!