Knott’s Berry Farm is, unfortunately, still closed as a theme park. However, they still brought the Christmas festivities with the Taste of Merry Farm! Knott’s has always done a great job with their traditional Merry Farm park wide event every year. This year actually might have gone bigger than ever, even with much of the park still closed.
Knott’s is known for great food. It is what got them on the map with the Boysenberry and Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant. The Taste of Merry Farm is primarily an outdoor food festival. Several booths have items to choose from and savor. The ticket itself is basically a tasting card that includes five items you can choose, which is a challenge!
Many of the items are available at multiple locations, which adds to the convenience and helps with the challenge of choosing. It still doesn’t help entirely. With enough for those with food allergies or not it makes for quite the quest to pick out five in one visit. Many of the tastes are of a savory nature. They seem to focus on holiday dinners. The other set of items is of sweet dessert delicacies.
Out of the many items to choose from I got the Turkey Dinner Tater Tots, Green Bean Fries, Blitzen’s Christmas Tree Bundt Cake, Knott’s Holiday Bowl, and the North Pole Oatmeal Toffee Cookiewich. My least favorite was the Knott’s Holiday Bowl, but that is for lack of a better term. It was in no way bad. It just didn’t surprise me in some way like the other items. It was a fairly straightforward meal of Knott’s chicken tenders (basically their famous fried chicken), mashed potatoes, cranberries, corn, and gravy. It wasn’t mixed, and that let me mix it how I wanted. It was oh so tasty, it was just that the flavors are exactly what I expected.
The Toffee Cookiewich was a great dessert. The cookies were soft and had good flavor. It was matched with great ice cream and a bit of praline flavor. What surprised me was the softness of the cookie. I thought it would be a crisp oatmeal cookie, but I don’t usually like that. So, it was a pleasant surprise to have the soft cookies.
The Tater Tots and Green Bean Fries I got from the same location in Calico. If you’re going to have a holiday meal at a park, this is the best way to do it! The green beans were coated in a great bread crumb-like batter that reminded me of fried zucchini. It had great seasoning and a wonderful gravy dip to really get a good mouthful of taste. The Tater Tots were the real hit and surprise for me. First, these tater tots had great seasoning and were made to have great texture to them. They were the good, crisp tots like how they always should be. The “topping” was a mix of stuffing, cubed turkey, gravy, and real cranberries. It was just enough to let me taste each individually, but they all paired together nicely.
The Blitzen’s Bundt Cake might be the best dessert there. Not that I had any others besides the Cookiewich, but from the size and taste I would imagine it’s hard to find anything else. First, the presentation is amazing with a frosted Christmas tree sitting on snow frosting which covers the bundt cake. Now, honestly, I was expecting the bundt cake to have a “plain” taste to it. Maybe a very generic vanilla bundt cake flavor to it. That was not what I had! It was a rich red velvet cake with chocolate chips mixed in! I was not expecting the chips most of all! It was so tasty and moist for a bundt cake. If there was any weak link it was that the tree was exactly what you see: cake frosting on an ice cream cone. Good, but exactly that. It was still a stellar dessert. Good job, Blitzen.
Where to even begin with what there was to see? The park really decked the halls with its finest decorations. Immediately walking in you are greeted with a large display of tin soldiers, a giant teddy bear, and a tree atop the windmill. It was great for photo ops, but just as splendid to look at on its own. From there, much of the park had garland and lights strewn about it.
The most wintery wonderland was Camp Snoopy. It was a little different from day to night. In the day you can certainly see certain decorations a bit better. One set is a common gag running through the Camp. Elfs all named Kelfin are riding the rides. Christmas presents also all have the tag of To: Kevin, From: Santa. Both of these are a continuation from the Taste of Fall-O-Ween where skeletons running the rides were all named Kevin. Elsewhere in the area were playful penguins and gingerbread families. Night was truly a sigh to see, however. Lights made the area come alive and were around almost every tree. A field of lit up candy canes and gift packages were near the cave. Another space was made for Santa Snoopy to come visit and take photos, but Woodstock and friends made a snow playground there too. It was a magical area to walk around in and take in the holiday environment.
Over in the Calico cemetery was a bit of the retelling of the Christmas Carol throughout the night. Every few minutes one of the ghosts would visit the buildings on the side via projections and torment the Ebenezer Scrooge grave marker. Interestingly, a couple of Christmas Carol characters were at some places in Calico throughout the day and would interact with guests…at a safe distance. Scrooge himself would slowly transform that by night he was saying Merry Christmas instead of Bah Humbug above the Calico Saloon.
Over at the Calico stage were several shows to watch, either through video or live performance. Ice skating shows of the past were all in a montage showing on the screen. The other alternative showing on that is a performance of Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies with some very festive songs. A live magician would come out periodically and alternatively a duo performing the Dicken’s Christmas Carol vaudeville style. Over at the Boardwalk area is a Christmas tree salesman with a familiar tree. Also around there is KNOT which is half radio drama half music playing.
Peanuts characters had multiple locations. Besides Snoopy in Camp Snoopy, Linus was on the Camp Snoopy Stage for distanced photos. Charlie Brown, Lucy, Franklin, and Snoopy made appearances atop the Charles M Schulz Theater with a great backdrop for photos. All of these locations had great ambiance and energetic characters to take distanced photos with. Santa, himself, could be found at the Wilderness Dance Hall for photos. But, reservations are required and are rather limited. If you go, be sure to get the reservation first before doing anything else!
There are many other things that I’m not even listing, like the art gallery in the Boardwalk area, or forgetting about. It was so much to take in that I don’t think it’s possible to do in one day! It created such a festive and fun environment. It was spectacular and fun, and I was so delighted to be around it all I didn’t want to leave! There were magic and music and great entertainment to be had.
I know that one of the new biggest concerns doesn’t have to do with enjoyment of food or fun, but how safe the area is to be in. I’m pleased to say that I felt very safe there. Several team members are in various locations just to enforce mask-wearing. I noticed signs posted to help let people know where seating locations are so that there’s not a lot of standing around and eating. The entire park is open, meaning some areas were blocked off in previous Taste events, but all pathways were open now. This meant less congestion of people and more seating to spread everyone out. Shops were keeping safe capacities that fit within the tier of the county when I went. In all, it seemed like the best experience I’ve had there out of all the Taste events. Always know that there is still a risk and that there are times where you might see someone slip through the view of Knott’s team members with their mask off. But, for the most part, it was a good experience in terms of being safe there.
Is It Worth Going To?
Where I would normally be able to give a short answer, it’s not as easy now. If you’re in a position to go out in a public setting, it’s a safe one to go to. If you want a very Christmas oriented festival to go to that is safe, it is probably the best in Southern California (I would dare say). If you feel apprehensive about going out to a public place, this is not the thing to go to right now. There are crowds. They’re not people necessarily close to you there, but people are still around. And eating. It’s a risk. If you’re willing to take the risk, it is paid off. This was such a warm and magical holiday experience. I was absolutely glad I went. And I want to go again!
Be sure to check knotts.com for tickets and further information. There are dates already sold out, so you might want to get a ticket soon! We have all of the information on price and more to expect here. I highly suggest going if you’re in a life situation to do so! It will bring the Christmas spirit alive for you!
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