It’s fascinating to continually find folks unaware of how much Knott’s transforms every year into Merry Farm. Of course, the irony is that even if you know what to expect, there’s still lots of new surprises around every corner, too.
2021 was a heck of a year and the path to get here is like nothing we’ve ever dealt with. While 2020’s “Taste of Merry Farm” event was unfortunately cut short, we’re finally back at an event that feels closer to full strength than ever before.
Deciding on what to cover first with Knott’s events is always tough. For now, let’s go with merchandise because I’m really excited about their new board game. Knott’sopoly made its debut recently. And before you ask, it is published by USAopoly, a partner of Hasbro, and there was a lot of back and forth with Hasbro regarding approvals of the game, so it’s been a labor of love to get it out finally and in a proper manner.
I also want to draw attention to the Santawampus. Last year I bought some art featuring the adorable woodimal, so I’m especially happy to see her get more exposure in the festive attire. And Whittles is still around, so those worried he’d go back into the berry vault after the 100th celebration concluded can rest easy. He’s here to stay.
Turning lemons into lemonade is an art form with Knott’s. In this case, this year’s supply of boysenberries wasn’t as bountiful as years past. So given that constraint, they’ve come up with newer jams that are less reliant on the formative berry, instead creating concoctions like Christmas Jam, featuring a mixture of other flavorful fruits. I enjoy the variety, never knowing what we’ll see on shelves next.
Of course, that’s packaged food and goods. But it wouldn’t be Knott’s without fresh treats, too. And they delivered in spades. Their stuffed churros are delightful. You can even watch them being made when you order them. I will say the Cookiewich is gargantuan and you should try to share it with someone.
And if you prefer something slightly more savory, there’s the apple pie corn dog, which works wonderfully. Corn dog batter already included a bit of sweetness in it using honey, so flavoring with apples actually works better than you can imagine. I hope this one sticks around beyond the holidays because I see myself wanting it regularly.
There are also three holiday-specific pizzas to find. The Rudolph Reuben was the favorite of the trio. And the holiday tater bites are great, too. The tater tots location at Knott’s, right near the entrance of Ghost Town, has become a very popular location. I hope they can expand it soon, because the demand is pretty consistent.
If you can manage to get away from the food, the Christmas Crafts Village is back, with all the classic booths you’ve come to know and love. Our favorite is Leafy Love Tea, serving up their beautiful blends of loose leaf teas.
One of Knott’s biggest strengths is recognizing the power of live music. Everywhere you walk around the park, there’s bands playing something. Even the outdoor shows feature wonderful music, too. You really need to watch Home for the Holidays. The production values of it will surprise you. I promise.
All the stores have been freshened up, too. The Factory Store, the exit for the Bear-y Tales ride, has a stunning new sign. More changes are going to be coming to this location in the near future, too.
Even across the way, there’s beautiful art in every window. Everything is decorated for the holidays.
Even the midway games have thematic decorations. Basketball ornaments? Knott’s didn’t have to go this hard, but they did.
Oh, by the way, because it wasn’t obvious to us, but the Pumpkin Cider is HARD cider. So this one is for the moms and dads.
The Christmas Carol theming has returned to the graveyard, including the headstone and the projections. This was added last year, when they were unable to put on the classic show inside the Birdcage Theater, so they themed all of Ghost Town to the story. While the show (And its musical sequel) have returned for 2021, the decorations here have stuck around. It’s a nice touch that catches other guests by surprise.
And Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies have returned to play their live music during Christmas once again! If you remember last year, it was a pre-recorded show, which means it’s been a full 2 years since we’ve last seen Kirk whipping the smallest whip and listened to the holiday version of the Orange Blossom Special.
I also want to call out the ridiculous amount of decorations that went into the Geode Shop at Knott’s this year. Maybe it’s new, maybe it’s not. But something about all the decorations inside really struck a chord with me this year. You have to go inside and see it in person, alongside the music that’s playing.
But like I said at the beginning, the whole park is transformed for this. Even on the Beach Blvd entrance, the trees are lit up in green and red. Pictures can’t do it justice.
K-NOT radio is here to stay. They now have a show for every season in the park, so this location, giving flavor to the music of the area, won’t be going away for a long while. Make sure to stop by and wave hello to the DJs as they do their live show.
And make sure to come out for the Snow & Glow towards the end of the night in Ghost Town. It’s a fun moment and they really pump out the artificial snow.
There’s also a lot more I didn’t cover yet. Like the return of the ice show, Merry Christmas, Snoopy! or the refillable hot cocoa mug, which will come in handy over the next few weeks. Camp Snoopy also has its daytime show, A Peanut’s Guide to Christmas. And the big man himself, Santa, is waiting for you in his Christmas Cabin right in Ghost Town.
Knott’s Merry Farm runs daily through January 2nd. Tickets and season passes are available at Knotts.com. Plus, if you buy the 2022 season pass now, it includes unlimited visits from now through December 17th. So if you’re considering getting a pass, it’s the best value to get it now, when the price is the cheapest and you get the most days of use out of it.