By Charly SHELTON
The holidays are over and it has been three weeks since we’ve had a real celebration for anything. Time for a festival at a theme park.
Each January, Knott’s Berry Farm welcomes guests to its annual Peanuts Celebration, this year running from Jan. 27 through Feb. 25. This event transforms the park into a giant playground celebrating the beloved Peanuts characters, where kids and families can immerse themselves in a celebration of the colorful charm of the creations of Charles M. Schulz.
CV Weekly was invited down last weekend to experience the celebration and it was as much fun as ever. Despite the partial closure of Camp Snoopy due to ongoing construction, the whimsy of the event was undiminished thanks to the variety of entertainment options available. From the character cavalcade to the stage shows, there was no shortage of Peanuts-themed fun to keep the younger guests thoroughly entertained.
True to Knott’s history, the culinary offerings were the biggest draw for this reporter. Mac n cheese is featured prominently in almost every dish, which is good for an event more geared toward children. There were traditional combinations, like a mac n cheeseburger or baked mac n cheese (loaf), to the more inventive options like a mac n cheese burrito or a mac n cheese waffle cone topped with pulled pork to the really crazy ideas that you have to try to believe like the breakfast mac n cheese pancake with a side of bacon or the Swedish meatballs on top of mac n cheese on top of French fries. We tried that last one at Papas Mexicanas and it presented a surprisingly enjoyable fusion of flavors, much to the delight of our toddler. But the culinary star of the show was undoubtedly the weirdest option on the festival menu – the cornbread funnel cake topped with mac n cheese, pulled pork, powdered sugar, and a barbecue sauce drizzle. Who would have thought that a savory funnel cake would work, let alone be as amazing as this is? It was huge – plenty for three people to share and still have leftovers – and at $20 it’s more expensive than most dishes but you definitely get your money’s worth. The crispy, savory batter is just sweet enough from the corn and then the powdered sugar dusting offsets the toothsome pulled pork and roasty barbecue sauce. The mac n cheese ties it all together in a creamy smoothness that softens the crispy cake and works well with the flavors already present. This is a gastronomic masterclass in swinging for the fences and hitting it out of the culinary park.
Throughout the celebration, visitors can immerse themselves in the whimsy of the Peanuts world, meet their favorite characters, and indulge in the festival’s array of special entertainment and food offerings. Whether dancing along with the Peanuts characters or sampling the various mac n cheese based food items, the Knott’s Peanuts Celebration promises a delightful experience for all ages.