Once again, the venerable Knott’s Berry Farm has transformed itself into the holiday fun-filled and festive “Knott’s Merry Farm”, and we were there to see it for ourselves. The park’s holiday time designers should pat themselves on the back as the whole place just screams old-thyme Christmas cheer. The buildings of Calico Ghost Town are adorned with strands of classy, old world lights – not the purples, greens, and reds you find in most modern Christmas decorations, mind you. – these lights are the classic “yellas”. Also roaming the streets, you will find a group of very-talented carolers belting out seasonal favorites. Aside from the usual shops that reside in the park’s Ghost Town area, you will find the “Christmas Craft Village”, which features an array of vendor booths set up along the streets. Each sell a different kind of product, such as custom soaps, Christmas ornaments, and one even makes custom chainsaw art out of cut logs. There is so much to see, shop for, and do in Ghost Town this time of year, it’s a tad on the ridiculous side. You may need two days to experience the whole park.
Once inside Santa’s Christmas Cabin, guests can purchase all manner of seasonal snacks like cookies, hot cocoa, and roasted nuts. Adults of drinking age can even enjoy port and wine tastings. Unfortunately, we missed the caramel apples and cinnamon rolls features in last year’s Christmas Cabin. The selection felt a bit smaller this time around. Still, it offers a festive break to recharge your batteries (and your mugs of cocoa) before heading back out into the brisk Winter weather. I type that optimistically as only recently have us in Southern California began to see Winter weather – but I digress. While in the Christmas Cabin, you can also get your photo taken with Santa Clause, so be sure to be good for goodness sake!
Speaking of food, Knott’s Berry Farm still provides its assortment of eateries during the silly season, such as the Ghost Town Grill, Fireman’s BBQ, Coaster’s, and even the non-Knott’s owned Panda Express, to name a few. We dined at a the Fireman’s BBQ earlier in the day and enjoyed some turkey legs and roasted corn. Later, we visited the Santa’s Christmas Cabin array of snack foods and we ended our day at the Ghost Town Grill. We didn’t have a bad experience in the lot of them and enjoyed our meals greatly. If you need to get your sugar fix on, be sure to stop by the homemade maple Popsicle stand outside the Calico Hotel. You get to see them being made and they taste great – especially if you have a sweet tooth.
Outside the Ghost Town area, the holiday theming lessens a bit but you can still enjoy the park’s usual assortment of attractions and rides like the newly-renovated Calico Mine Ride and Timber Mountain Log Ride as well as Camp Snoopy. As the day begins to wind down, be sure to head back to Ghost Town as the park has arranged for it to “snow”! Be sure to ask what time this will occur on the day of your visit. Also, be sure to check out the tree lighting ceremony at the Ghost Town’s Calico Stage. The stage show is campy and a lot of fun – especially for the younglings in your group.
I would be remiss to finish this review up without mentioning the seasonal ice show the park puts on. This year, it’s “Merry Christmas, Snoopy!”, and the ice skaters are simply awesome, as always. I am constantly impressed by how well the skater wearing the Snoopy costume can navigate the ice given his or her obscured vision. The show breaks up skate routines with walk-on skits by costumed Peanuts characters and takes a lot from the lesser-known of the two Peanuts animated Christmas specials, “It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown”.
Overall, Knott’s Berry Farm’s 2014 Merry Farm experience is a welcome breath of holiday air for Southern California. From the decorations to the vendors and all the rest, it is a terrific time for you and yours to enjoy the season. Have a Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas!