Ghost Town Alive was the summer long event that celebrated the 75th anniversary of Knott’s Berry Farm’s Ghost Town. Guests could visit residents of Ghost Town daily, also partaking in some of the Calico town’s festivities. There was a greater story to the celebration where the Mayfield gang – a group of bandits – are trying to take over Calico. Every night, the “town” would come together and partake in dances at a hoedown.
The last day of Ghost Town Alive, and at the Hoedown, it was an even bigger celebration because of the few months buildup of the 75th anniversary. The cast that was in the town were not the only characters that day. Every single actor and actress that roamed around Calico was present for the festivities.
The show went as planned. The re-elected mayor presided over the occasion. Miss Cordelia and the Calico Saloon players entertained the audience. Then it was time for some dancing. The only problem was the large crowd that was present to watch and participate! Where there has usually been two square dance lines, there had to be three to accommodate those that came to partake. Credit goes to the residents of Calico for getting everything organized in a timely manner. Everyone danced, and then the mayor proceeded to tell the story of the founding of the city.
Before he could finish, the sheriff gave a shot and brought up the Mayfield gang in cuffs. They were caught! As usual. Another dance came about from the rejoicing. Then the full story of the founding of the town. One last proposal between the banker and Cookie took place, and the couple ran off to get hitched. As things seemed to wind down, the train pulled into the station. The mayor remarked that it was arriving early, but kept going with the festivities.
It turns out that Ox Mayfield, the rumored long gone head of the Mayfield gang, appeared on the train engine. He threatened the sheriff and his deputies with some gunmen on the roofs of surrounding buildings. They would open fire if his gang were not released. As crossfire happened, the gang ran to the train. The sheriff and deputies followed, but the Mayfield gang escaped! The Calico newspaper printers ran out with fresh papers with the headline of Ox Mayfield being alive!
Ghost Town Alive finished with a bang!
This several month 75th celebration of one of Southern California’s staples showed how the past could truly come alive. Before the show began I noticed how many kids were running up to various Calico residents and giving them a big farewell hug. They wouldn’t let them go. It showed how much these summer days had touched these kids. It built some lasting memories for so many families.
The event was incredible each and every day! You could venture into the park and explore Ghost Town while people made you part of the town. Obviously, because of interactions each day was different. There was adventure, romance, comedy, and even gun fights in this town. It was alive!
And the ending was the best twist you could have for such an event. With the Mayfield gang being caught everyday, the leader was bound to free his family and gang. If it were a movie, this would be the set up for the sequel. Without knowing if Ghost Town Alive will be back, we’re left to our imagination. What will happen to the quiet town of Calico now that Ox is back? Will the sheriff catch him before he can run amuck? We can create any ending we want.
And that’s also what this whole summer was about. For Ghost Town at Knott’s Berry Farm being around for 75 years, we were able to make it into a living breathing town by our own actions. We could shape how each day went. It was a unique event and celebration that will long be remembered.