In less than a week, Knott’s kicks off one of their biggest events of the year. It’s an institution that’s gone from tongue-in-cheek joke we all secretly enjoyed to a full-blown love affair.

We had the chance to preview the event Thursday night. We took a look at the new and returning food options. We also saw some of the upcoming merchandise, too.

Needless to say, the food was all great, from the corn nuggets drizzled in boysenberry honey to the boysenberry blondie.

But there were a few standouts this year. The big one I think isn’t being given enough attention is the beignet. While it doesn’t come close to being shaped like a famous mouse, it really hit the spot. I imagine the lines at Ghost Town Grub, where this is currently planned on being served, are going to be long in a familiar fashion. Especially while a certain other french market is under refurbishment down the street.  While a lot of items were available for testing, even more were only for our eyes to eat, so getting a chance to try the pancake cheeseburger will have to wait until March 10th. And that’s harder to wait than you can imagine, when you’re so close.

Beyond the food, the merchandise this year is just as refreshed. The big ones that caught everyone’s eye was the Boysenberry-shaped bubblewand. It’s hard to find someone that’s anti-bubble. And if you have kids, it’s going to be hard to prevent them from wanting it. If they get bored with that (nearly impossible, though), there’s also the blinky light-up boysenberry necklace that is another in a long line of “How did it take Knott’s this long to make this?” items.

Plus the sweater designs are looking great this year, with more of a focus placed on zip-ups for the remainder of the year, something that feels all too often overlooked. But don’t worry, the regular Spirit Jerseys will also be available, just as they always are.

There was also a sample on display of the “Tied Up In Knott’s” tribute art show that will be on display soon. Not only is it a great collection from a great group of artists, but it’s also a testament to the park’s stature that after doing this for years, they can still produce such a wide variety of nostalgia-induced pieces.

And finally, Whittles is back, and yet again, he got into the boysenberries right before going on stage. So you just have to bear with him in his sticky and sweet presentation. Oh darn.

Keep in mind, this is just a preview of the event. In the coming days, the actual festival kicks off, where we’ll see all the new shows, entertainment, craft booths and more, that didn’t have room to fit into this preview.

The Boysenberry Festival runs from March 10th through April 16th and tickets are available at And now, enjoy all the rest of the photos of the food from the upcoming festival! See you there!