By Charly SHELTON
Last year everything was pretty much shut down due to the pandemic. For many people, that meant birthdays, anniversaries and special moments were spent alone or shared over Zoom. For businesses like Knott’s Berry Farm, that meant holding off on major celebrations. Knott’s Berry Farm was founded in 1920, making last year its 100th anniversary. While the theme park remained largely closed, except for the food festivals, 2020 was not a year conducive to holding a celebration of such a momentous milestone. So now with the theme parks reopened, rides and all, it’s time to celebrate in a big way.
“The Knott’s Family Reunion,” as the 100th anniversary celebration is subtitled, looks to reunite family and friends in a safe and fun environment. Guests who visit Knott’s Berry Farm from now through Sept. 6 will be treated to special photo ops, unique food offerings, event merchandise and more, all tailored to showcase the history of Knott’s over the last century. For many, that will mean a first introduction to some of the rides and characters that have come before. But for others who remember visiting the Berry Farm as children, it’s a resurgence of nostalgia. Whether you remember your first roller coaster being Wacky Soapbox Racers or you have a special fondness for the Catawampus, this is every Knott’s Berry Farm fan’s dream – to see the best of Knott’s history all in one place for the reunion.
In addition to the 100th anniversary event, Knott’s is also hosting its summer food festival, Knott’s Summer Nights, also through Sept. 6. As with any Knott’s food festival, guests should be prepared to taste some amazing stuff. From boysenberry BBQ carne asada pizza to a butter and onion burger to deep fried cinnamon rolls with boysenberry glaze, these foods are somewhere between county fair and a sock hop snack bar, which is perfect warm summer evening food. Honorable mention goes to the jerk shrimp and pineapple lettuce wraps, but there is one clear winner of best-in-show for the food festival.
The chicken-wich on glazed donuts with bacon and cheese may be one of the best things ever created. On a personal note, it was one of only three foods to ever bring tears to my eyes. Two fresh baked glazed donuts are the buns for this fried chicken breast topped with cheese and two slices of bacon. Ask for a side of the boysenberry vinaigrette (from a salmon orzo salad served at the same location) to drizzle over the chicken and you have pure tear fuel that will make you reevaluate not only how good foods can be, but your place in the universe and the depths of your very soul. This is no mere sandwich, but a window to the divine. And yes, after three sandwiches it’s a little hard to walk, but the sacrifice is worth it to see perfection attained.
The churros are pretty good, too. All in all, the food festival aspect of Knott’s summer offerings is, as always, one of the highlights of the visit. But the food isn’t the only new fun that Knott’s has cooked up. After more than a year of waiting, the boysenberry pie factory is finally ready to open in the new ride “Knott’s Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair.” Check back with CV Weekly for a full review of the new ride.