Categoria: Knott’s Berry Farm

8 Best Things I Ate At Knott’s Boysenberry Festival — And 5 Worst To Skip

Knott’s Berry Farm didn’t let a little rain get in the way of the start of the Boysenberry Festival that brings dozens of dishes to the park drizzled, dipped and drenched in the signature fruit that started it all more than 100 years ago.

Knott’s Berry Farm kicked off the annual Boysenberry Festival on Friday, March 10 in such a steady rain that the Buena Park theme park was eventually forced to close early due to bad weather. The food fest runs through April 16.

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SEE ALSO: Everything you can eat and drink at the 2023 Knott’s Boysenberry Festival — See the list

I got to Knott’s around lunch time on Friday when it was only misting before the gray skies started dumping enough rain to swamp overwhelmed sewer drains throughout the park.

While there was plenty of food, there weren’t many festivities at the food festival. Most of the entertainment called it a day as did many of the outdoor food booths. Knott’s gamely served food at indoor and semi-indoor locations throughout the afternoon before ultimately throwing in the towel and admitting defeat at 3 p.m. on the festival’s opening day.

The biggest upside of the foul weather: No waiting in lines to get food. There were so few people in the park that there was never any competition to find a table to eat either indoors or out of the rain. Canopy umbrellas kept at least portions of the bench seats dry at a sea of picnic tables leftover from pandemic social distancing protocols.

I tried a baker’s dozen of main courses, appetizers, side dishes, desserts and drinks at the 2023 Boysenberry Festival. Here are the 8 best things I ate and the 5 worst that you should skip.

Main Courses Boysenberry Sausage at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. (Brady MacDonald/Orange County Register) Boysenberry Sausage Served on a Boysenberry Hoagie with Boysenberry Mustard — Wilderness Broiler

The Boysenberry Sausage was the best bite I had at the Knott’s food festival.

The sausage was savory and juicy with just a hint of sweetness — but it’s the boysenberry mustard that pushes this one over the top.

You can spend your time like me messing around trying to find the best new thing to eat at the festival — or you can just go with the tried and true winner.

I couldn’t stop eating this one.

Jambalaya at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. (Brady MacDonald/Orange County Register) Jambalaya Served with Boysenberry Sausage, Chicken and Shrimp garnished with Green Onions — Gold Mine Trail Booth

The hefty bowl of dirty rice makes this dish more of a main course than an appetizer — but it can serve either purpose.

The star of the show here is the boysenberry sausage with bits of chicken and a few shrimp.

Does it taste like New Orleans? Of course not. But it’s pretty tasty for theme park fare.

Another seasoned veteran of the seasonal festival that remains a perennial winner.

Chicken Wings at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. (Brady MacDonald/Orange County Register) Chicken Wings Served with a Boysenberry Sweet Chili Glaze — Spurs Chophouse and Wilderness Dance Hall

It’s impossible to be delicate with these sauce-slathered wings. The lip-smacking finger food will get all over your face — so make sure to get plenty of napkins.

This one’s another festival standby — and for good reason. It holds up year after year.

Cajun Shrimp Po’ Boy at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. (Brady MacDonald/Orange County Register) Cajun Shrimp Po’ Boy Served with Coleslaw and a Boysenberry Remoulade — Wilderness Broiler

Knott’s serves this po’boy open face on a sausage roll, but there’s virtually no way to eat it like a sandwich.

I ended up picking up the fried shrimp with my fingers, using the tomato slices like tortilla chips to fork the shrimp into my mouth or breaking off a piece of the roll like a bread bowl. It was impossible to taste everything in one bite.

The big selling point here is the Pepto Bismol pink boysenberry remoulade that adds a bit of sweetness. Otherwise it’s pretty straightforward fried shrimp.

I was hoping and looking for more here. Don’t waste your time on this one.

Sushi Burrito at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. (Brady MacDonald/Orange County Register) Sushi Burrito Made with Spicy Crab Surimi, Avocado, Lettuce, Crispy Onions, Sesame and served with Unagi Sauce and Boysenberry Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce — Ghost Town Bakery and Wilderness Dance Hall

This is two big rolls of standard-issue supermarket sushi with a big vat of boysenberry dipping sauce.

I’m not sure what I thought I’d get, but it’s exactly what it sounds like.

I’ve never thought to dip sushi in boysenberry jam before, but now I know that I don’t ever want to do that again.

This one’s a hard pass. If you like sushi, you’ll hate this. And if you’ve never tried sushi, this is not the place to start.

Appetizers and Side Dishes Beef Barbacoa Mac & Cheese at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. (Brady MacDonald/Orange County Register) Beef Barbacoa Mac & Cheese Served with a Boysenberry Chipotle Crema — Silver Bullet Booth and Wilderness Dance Hall Patio

The first thing you notice is the Beef Barbacoa Mac & Cheese could be a meal unto itself. This side dish is enough to serve three or four people.

The basic mac in a creamy white cheese serves as a base for the tender barbacoa. The tangy crema adds just a hint of boysenberry without overdoing it.

This one’s a winner if you’re hungry or have plenty of friends who are.

Sweet Corn Nuggets at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. (Brady MacDonald/Orange County Register) Sweet Corn Nuggets Served with a Boysenberry Honey Drizzle — Ghost Town Grub

This was the one thing at the festival that I was most curious about. What on earth is a sweet corn nugget?

My first bite left me only more curious. It certainly tasted like fresh corn kernels inside a deep fried nugget. But could that be it?

I cut open the next nugget — and to my surprise — corn kernels tumbled out. It tastes exactly like it sounds — corn off the cob wrapped in deep fried batter. That’s what you call truth in advertising.

Each nugget is about the size of a bottle cap. You get about 10 nuggets — just enough for you to pop a few of the curious creations in your mouth and share the rest with your equally quizzical friends.

This novelty hit is one of those county fair foods that you order once just to say you did. It’s definitely worth a try for curiosity’s sake.

Desserts Boysenberry Panna Cotta at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. (Brady MacDonald/Orange County Register) Boysenberry Panna Cotta Served with a Shortbread Cookie — Gold Mine Trail Booth and Ghost Town Bakery

You have to dig down deep to get to the equally rewarding and surprising boysenberry filling at the bottom of this little dish of panna cotta.

The shortbread cookie works like a pita chip through hummus — and adds some crunch to the creamy goodness.

This cool and sweet treat hits the spot after a long day of sampling festival fare. Or get it first if you’re a dessert-before-dinner kind of person.

Finally, Knott’s has figured out the right portion size for a food festival. This one is just right. I found myself scraping the bowl clean — a sign of a satisfied customer.

Boysenberry Waffle at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. (Brady MacDonald/Orange County Register) Boysenberry Waffle Served with Whipped Cream and Boysenberry Maple Syrup — Ghost Town Grub

The Boysenberry Waffle was the biggest surprise of the festival.

It doesn’t look great, but it tastes fantastic.

The waffle tasted like it was soaked in boysenberry maple syrup — without being overwhelming.

Unlike some other festival dishes, the single waffle is just the right size. You could share it — but why would you? Tell your friends to get their own.

Boysenberry Bread Pudding at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. (Brady MacDonald/Orange County Register) Boysenberry Bread Pudding Available at Wilderness Dance Hall

The otherwise bland and flavorless bread pudding serves as a vehicle for the boysenberry — which can be hit or miss depending on your serving.

Mine was mostly a miss, so make sure you ask for extra boysenberry topping when the server is ladling out your portion. And once again, it is an enormous portion. More than enough to feed three or four people.

I would pass on this one. There are plenty of better desserts at the festival.

Boysenberry Blondie at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. (Brady MacDonald/Orange County Register) Boysenberry Blondie Available at Ghost Town Bakery

I had high hopes for the Boysenberry Blondie and Knott’s let me down big time.

This was more a blandie than a blondie.

None of the flavors really came forward. I could see the boysenberry veins and chocolate chips — but for some reason all I got was a dense, chewy cookie dough. It didn’t help that the boysenberry turned the blonde cookie an unappetizing gray.

It tasted like the base for a dessert to be named later. The sugar punch I was expecting never happened. There was something missing — and that something appeared to be everything.

Drinks Cucumber Lemonade at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. (Brady MacDonald/Orange County Register) Cucumber Lemonade Served with Raspberries and Boysenberries — Ghost Town Bakery

This typically-tart lemonade has a little cucumber bite on the palette as well as the nose thanks to the cucumber slice garnish floating on top.

The blackberry and raspberry garnish adds a little delight when you’re done with the drink.

As with all of the Knott’s drinks, you’ll have to ask the server to go light on the ice.

This was the better of two lemonades I tried at the festival — and my go-to the next time I visit.

Boysenberry Mango Lemonade at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. (Brady MacDonald/Orange County Register) Boysenberry Mango Lemonade Available at Spurs Chophouse and Wilderness Broiler

As you can see, I love lemonade — but I wouldn’t order this one again.

Boysenberry, Mango and Lemon don’t necessarily sound like they would mesh. The initial taste was off-putting — like I didn’t rinse my cup out between drinks and accidentally blended flavors not meant to go together.

The first few sips reminded me of mulled wine, and not in a good way.

The flavors mellowed the more the ice melted and watered down the drink — but it was a long time to wait for the drink to sort itself out.

Niles: Festivals Level The Playing Field Between Knott’s And Disney

Top companies in the theme park industry have recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic by leaning into one of the great secrets of business management.

You can get people to do anything, so long as they believe that it was their idea.

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What theme parks needed people to do after the lockdowns was to spend more money in the parks — a lot more money. Many have succeeded, as average guest spending has soared at top theme parks since they reopened. Sure, parks have raised prices on food, on souvenirs and on admission. But the theme park companies enjoying the greatest financial success in the past year also have found ways to entice fans to stay longer and buy more stuff when visiting their parks, too.

Knott’s Berry Farm owner Cedar Fair last week reported record financial results that it attributed in part to the company’s focus on special events and food festivals during 2022. Knott’s has been running its Peanuts Celebration this month, to be followed by the return of its annual Boysenberry Festival in March.

Events such as these have proved across the country that they can entice fans to spend more on food and merchandise. Not only that, special events also can encourage fans to invite others and stay longer in the parks than they might if they were just focused on rides and shows. As one Theme Park Insider reader wrote, “it’s just a lot of fun to hang out with your friends at a familiar theme park while eating junk food and drinking beer.”

If a park can offer new stuff people want, they’ll spend the extra money without the complaints that just raising prices on the old stuff inevitably draws.

Not every theme park special event hits with fans, of course. Another business maxim says that ideas are worthless, it’s the execution of those ideas that delivers value. Just repackaging a park’s everyday food and entertainment as a “special event” won’t draw crowds and open wallets. And if a park isn’t already a familiar, beloved location for enough fans, special events likely will not be enough to build that relationship. Parks still need great rides, shows and environments to create the atmosphere in which fans will want to spend their time and money.

Knott’s has done that with its yearlong lineup of festivals, which Cedar Fair now has exported to many of its other parks across the country. Disney has been running a food and wine festival at Walt Disney World’s Epcot for decades and in recent years has expanded its festival lineups in Florida and California. The SeaWorld and Six Flags parks are leaning into festivals and events with varying success as they try to boost their guest spending numbers, too.

With Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood raising the bar to multibillion-dollar heights with attractions such as Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and Super Nintendo World, special events such as food festivals have helped level the playing field for parks such as Knott’s Berry Farm to compete for fans’ time and money.

Robert Niles | Theme Park Insider reporter Robert Niles is the founder and editor of Follow him on Twitter @ThemePark.