New Owner of Calico Revealed at Ghost Town Alive 2018 Finale at Knott’s Berry Farm

Ghost Town Alive has been a very popular summer season event for Knott’s Berry Farm.  The season has always concluded Labor Day with a big event that happens during the nightly Hoedown.  This year was no exception.


The Hoedown is the nightly finish to a day with Ghost Town Alive.  It starts with the Calico Miners playing at Calico Square.  Square dancing lets guests get in on the fun as one of the characters call out the actions.  There is a usual theme and general story to each Ghost Town Alive, but every year there is an additional plot that gets resolved at the Hoedown.  There is also a mystery that is concluded at the finale Hoedown.

Who Owns Calico?

The big story and theme for this year’s Ghost Town Alive is trying to figure out who owns Calico.  Votes throughout the day would let there be an owner by the end of each night.  But, it would reset the next day for guests to pick a new owner.  At the final Hoedown of 2018, there was the issue of who truly owns and is a descendant of the founders of Calico.

The mystery was finally solved as a time capsule with the founder’s signatures arrived just in time for Founders Day.  The first name was Walter Knott, an appropriate homage to the man who started the theme park.  The last name read was Pop Wing Lee, which may sound a bit familiar to fans of Knott’s Berry Farm.  It sounds like Hop Wing Lee who is a proprietor in Calico.  But, he is always absent from the festivities, and Ghost Town Alive.

The Big Finish

After the founders’ list was read, a lookout above the food stands across the saloon proclaimed a stagecoach was coming.  It’s the stagecoach the Sheriff referred to saying was 3 days late and had his Goldie on it.  Sure enough, a stagecoach pulled into Calico Square and inside wasn’t just Goldie.  Hop Wing Lee came out of the same stagecoach and he was brought on stage as the owner of Calico.

To celebrate, the town and guests did the Calico Serpentine, which was a dancing line that went through all of Calico.  Newspapers were handed out declaring Hop Wing Lee as the owner of Calico.

Who is Hop Wing Lee?

Hop Wing Lee is a character from the beginnings of Ghost Town.  His name and appearance has been at a laundry shop at Ghost Town.  When the area was refurbished and Ghost Town Alive premiered, Lee was not around and the shop said he was out.  For those who frequented the park, he was known and there was a bit of a mystery as to where he went.  Now, he’s back in Calico and has a prestigious honor bestowed to him.

Ghost Town’s Impact

I’ve been to each finale of Ghost Town Alive, and the interactive summer event has been growing in fandom.  The first one filled up the square with fans who had frequented Calico and became a sort of friend to various characters.  Now, there is almost nowhere to stand let alone dance as many come back for this end event!  Many kids and fans dress for the occasion and have made up their own characters to interact with the town.  When the Hoedown concludes there are tears that come down the faces of the kids.  This has been their summer home.  The characters have become their family.  It’s clear Ghost Town Alive is a tradition, a hit, but also one of the most amazing theme park activities ever.  There aren’t many things that can have guests cry when a season concludes.  This is one of those.

So, there was a great send off to another great season!  And many are looking forward to next year’s event.  It is also great to have Hop Wing Lee back in the great Calico!


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