- Knott's Berry Farm is expanding its food events. With the events gaining popularity, Knott's is able to bring back theme park enthusiasts.
While California is still struggling on how to open and when theme parks are at a loss of what to do. Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Knott’s Berry Farm reopened their shopping districts as the only way to get around the current state mandates.
But Knott’s Berry Farm —the smaller of the three— found a way to bring back guests to its park. “Taste of Calico” is a food event introduced that will allow guests to explore the theme park’s iconic Ghost Town land and try unique foods. Since California is allowing for outdoor dining, the move was a perfect way to reopen a small part of the park by allowing guests to eat. The rides are still closed.
“Taste of Calico” is essentially a food festival. Each ticket, known as tasting cards, gives guests a chance to pick out five different food choices ranging from boysenberry sausage on a hoagie bun to sweet treats including a cookie ice cream sandwich.
Going to a theme park, even to grab a bite to eat, still doesn’t seem like the best choice amid a pandemic. But Knott’s did their best by putting tables in every available space to allow for social distancing. There was an employee in these areas whipping down tables before a new party sat which was a reassuring plus. Some locations also had an employee whipping down counters after each guest, but not all had this.
The debate about theme park food will never die but since Knott’s big on boysenberry, they knock it out of the park. The offerings were delicious and filling to the point. The cookie ice cream sandwich was the only disappointment as it barely had any ice cream.
The event ran smoothly with lines getting longer in the later hours. Guests on the day I attended wore their masks and followed line signage. Although certain bottlenecks in between some buildings do get crowded.
Thinking about the event as a way to go out and eat, as you would with any other dining, it feels normal. But it’s still odd being at a theme park right now, even stranger being there while there are no rides operating.
However, Knott’s found a loophole to the restrictions that proved successful. “Taste of Calico” extended its states and hours and prompted the park to introduce “Taste of Knott’s” which will open up two more lands and more food offerings.
It’s pulling off something that Disneyland might not be able to do. Disneyland is still the more popular park in which any possibility of these events to be sold out quickly and could be a makeshift Food & Wine Festival but could cause issues opening a bigger park for one event. Universal Studios has an opportunity to leverage it’s Harry Potter themed area but also runs the risk of a truncated capacity due to being smaller.
Knott’s is ahead of the curb with their food events. It has provided a way to get revenue in a time where there is no way of knowing when it could reopen. Knott’s also tapped into the theme park community, which has increased in the last few years which boosted attendance. Fans of any of the theme parks flocked to the event to get the thrill they have been missing. It was still a risk to throw a food event at a theme park not running, but the theme park experience is something many would take even scaled back.
“Taste of Calico” is sold out but tickets to “Taste of Knott’s” have been made available at https://www.knotts.com/play/events/taste-of-knotts/
See a bit of my experience below.