It’s 2021. Right? Just checking.
I think you can forgive us for losing complete track of time recently. In fact, it was just over a year ago that we covered the preview of the then-upcoming 2020 Boysenberry Festival, featuring some truly inspiring feasts. Then just a few short days later, everything came to a life-changing halt.It’s somewhat fitting that after a 3-month pandemic-led pause from festivals, the fifth and final Knott’s Berry Farm tasting festival is themed to the single event that gave them the experience and clout to run food festivals during the craziest times of our lives.I say final, with confidence, because there’s work being done around the park preparing them to finally reopen their attractions. Later in this article, I’ll cover the work being done.So, if you’ve been able to venture out for the Taste of Fall-o-ween or Taste of Merry Farm events, you probably have a very good idea of what to expect this time around.Running from now through April, the event includes a 5-voucher (Or 3 for the kiddos) pass for a myriad of food options around the park. And once again the menu has grown to barely fit on both sides of the gigantic laminated sheet they give you.Fall-o-ween had a lot of spicy options and Merry Farm really packed in the chocolate and mint flavors. This time around the food options are themed to the Boysenberry, as one would expect, so a lot of the options are a bit sweeter than previous festivals, even for the savory options. In addition to just food, you’ll find a lot of merchandise booths around the park with a lot of independent vendors selling their wares. We really like how they’re making use of the plaza in Fiesta Village for booths now, too. It helps spread out the crowds and fills an area that really was dead space for a long while.Like the previous “Tastes”, there is some entertainment to be found, but it’s up to you to track them down yourself, so they’re quite easy to miss if you aren’t in the right spot at the right time.During the daytime, the big stage plays some exclusive footage of Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies, but once it gets a bit later in the day, they actually make an appearance themselves to play some live music over multiple sets throughout the evening. For us, we found them playing at the top of the hour starting around 4 PM for 30 minutes. Because it’s a tad shorter than their normal sets, and I’m sure other social distancing reasons, the banter between songs has been reduced. But any chance to see the Hillbillies is a precious one. It’s hard to believe there was a time they weren’t associated with the park and now have come to be the tent-pole band of this annual festival. There are a few days during the event they won’t be available, but the Grammy-award-winning Mariachi Divas will be on stage instead, so there won’t be a shortage of live music.Beyond that, on the Boardwalk, the radio station returned with the very punny DJs putting on a great show.Plus there are some familiar faces to be found around Ghost Town and a very lost surfer up on the Boardwalk. It wouldn’t be a festival without the honorable Deputy Mayor, Milton C. Howell, to welcome all the guests. And Lotta Leftovers has made a test kitchen above the Glass Blower shop. Above the saloon, you can find Dorothea Dumont. And there’s a shady magician trying to hock his snake oil not too far away from there. Of course, there’s likely to be other citizens around on some other days. But these were the great folks we talked to on our first visit. And of course, there’s a DJ in Fiesta Village, because I believe it’s contractually impossible to have any kind of event inside Knott’s Berry Farm without having some person playing music in Fiesta Village. Rest assured, Despacito will play at least twice an hour.
One of the things that stood out to me during the preview last year was the introduction of the Boysenberry Sarsaparilla. But now it has apparently birthed a sequel, the Boysenberry Chocolate Sarsaparilla. Both available around the park. And if you look around, some places have them chilled in the soda fridges in the stores, too.On top of that, the decorations around the park are decidedly Easter-y. And there’s a free Easter Egg hunt you can go on around the park that ultimately leads with you meeting up with the big bunny himself.Yes, it starts you off by first meeting up with Sad Eye Joe. We’ll let you have that one as a head start. Or, if you’re so inclined, you could also meet with the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown or Sally. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of signs that Knott’s is preparing to re-open all their rides. Around Camp Snoopy, some plexiglass and frames have been placed in the queues. So they’re definitely going to hit the ground running once this event wraps up. The park is the best it has ever looked and they’re beyond prepared for their 100th anniversary, whenever that can kick-off. Signs have been repainted. Dead Land has been re-landscaped. Marquees have been replaced with glowing digital ones. It’s made it all the harder to wait for the celebration to begin. But this festival is one way to help enjoy the wait.