Knott’s Boysenberry Festival 2016 jams two weeks’ worth of food and live events into Knott’s Berry Farm

in Events, Knott's Berry Farm, Theme Parks

Knott’s Berry Farm launched the now-annual Knott’s Boysenberry Festival in 2014, which takes place over more than two weeks in the spring each year and celebrates Knott’s rich history of– what else– berry farming and the storied cultivation of one particular, very special berry.

A boysenberry is a cross between a blackberry, a raspberry, and a loganberry, and Knott’s founder Walter Knott was a key figure in the (no pun intended) preservation and proliferation of the berry back in the 1920s and 30s.

As ITM previewed last week, this year’s Boysenberry Festival at the Knott’s Berry Farm theme park in beautiful downtown Buena Park, California celebrates all things boysenberry… with food, drinks, live entertainment, and access to Knott’s year-round rides and attractions that have made the park (and the original Ghost Town area) such a huge draw for Southern California crowds over the past seventy-five years.





Let’s run through a quick breakdown of most of what the Boysenberry Festival has to offer– hint: there’s a lot, and I’ll do my best to make it clear what makes each unique food item or live show special, but it’s really an event that needs to be experienced in person to truly absorb the feel and excitement of everything that goes on throughout the day.


As I previewed in my interview with Knott’s chefs last week, there is a wide variety of specialty boysenberry-flavored items available at the festival. In order to get a better overview of many of the more popular items, guests can purchase a Tasting Card for $25.00, which includes one helping of the six separate items listed below, and each one is definitely worth it.

DSC03252 DSC03258 DSC03259

If you get the card and spread the items out over your entire day, you’re sure to leave full and satisfied by the end of the evening. It’s a great value and I can recommend it for anyone who truly wants to get a taste of the festival.

Boysenberry BBQ Short Ribs

DSC03469 DSC03472 DSC03473

Spicy Boysenberry BBQ Wings

DSC03465 DSC03401 DSC03402

Fried Alligator Bites

DSC03254 DSC03267

Boysenberry BBQ Meatballs

DSC03502 DSC03505

Boysenberry Panna Cotta

DSC03528 DSC03525

Boysenberry Dessert Flautas

DSC03313 DSC03325 DSC03326

Of course, there’s plenty more food available, not to mention drinks– including an assortment of wines and even boysenberry-flavored beer. You might have to visit more than once during the festival in order to try everything.

DSC03332 DSC03333 DSC03485 DSC03486 DSC03493 DSC03494 DSC03500 DSC03544 DSC03545


In addition to the food, of course, there is plenty of live entertainment to be enjoyed around the festival during both day and nighttime hours. Kids, teens, and adults alike will find something to amuse them and even get them dancing here and there.

Bird Cage Square

Lots of different live events are scheduled throughout the day in Bird Cage Square, including something called Grandpa’s Pajama Game, Vine (Line) Dancing, a Berry Jug Band, and even a Pie Walk Contest. We saw a hilarious game of “Mayor Says” (basically Simon Says) and a Dueling Fiddles/Banjo performance, both of which were tremendous fun.

DSC03285 DSC03278 DSC03280 DSC03282 DSC03284

DSC03299 DSC03301 DSC03302

Lucy’s Really Big Spring Show

This one’s pretty much just for the kids, but it’s a good pit stop for families near Camp Snoopy. Lucy, Charlie Brown, and Linus dance around with a perky host to spring-themed tunes.

DSC03368 DSC03370 DSC03375 DSC03372 DSC03394 DSC03384 DSC03387 DSC03389

World Boysenberry Pie Eating Competition

Probably the most exciting (and disgusting) moment of the festival’s opening day was the Boysenberry Pie Eating Contest (see the video above). After eight non-stop minutes of chowing down, last year’s champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut took home the first place award trophy once again, having consumed over fourteen pounds of pie. Not an event for the faint of heart.

DSC03328 DSC03341 DSC03361 DSC03344 DSC03351 DSC03353 DSC03360 DSC03366

Calico Saloon Show

This is essentially the same show that has been running at Knott’s for years, but it’s nice to see the complete refurbished theater and get out of the sun for a little while. You can also enjoy any food or beverage of your choosing while you watch!

DSC03405DSC03408DSC03431 DSC03438

Peanuts Party in the Park

This show is more for the whole family than the Lucy-centric one mentioned above, and features energetic dancers getting down with Charlie Brown and the gang to classic rock songs, reworked to fit into the theme of the festival.

DSC03441 DSC03448 DSC03453 DSC03455 DSC03460 DSC03462

Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies

Probably one of the biggest draws of the festival for theme park fans is the return of Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies (formerly Disneyland’s Billy Hill and the Hillbillies.) See the video above. The band performs three times an evening in Knott’s famous Bird Cage Theatre during the event.

DSC03476 DSC03477 DSC03479

Salsa Dance Party with Opa Opa Band

Once nighttime rolls around, you can make your way over to Fiesta Square on the opposite side of the park from Ghost Town, and get down to the spicy salsa stylings of Opa Opa.

DSC03519 DSC03514 DSC03515 DSC03516 DSC03518

Jammin’ in the Dark

Perhaps the most unlikely event at Knott’s Boysenberry Festival is Jammin’ in the Dark, essentially a boysenberry-themed rave in Calico Square. It seems like the popularity of dance parties at theme parks has grown over the past few years, leaving many longtime fans scratching their heads as to why. But it certainly is a pulse-pounding (if ear-throbbing) way to end a fun-filled day at the festival.

DSC03520 DSC03522 DSC03523

As you can see, there’s so much to do at Knott’s Boysenberry Festival this year that you could probably come back each and every day over the event’s sixteen days and never get bored (or hungry.)

In recent years Knott’s has evolved from emulating Six Flags’ aggressive roller coaster construction to becoming a less-expensive, friendly-competitive neighbor to Disneyland, and I think the park has improved all the more because of that. The Boysenberry Festival is the perfect example of that spirit, and I can’t possibly recommend more that you make a point to go before it’s over.

DSC03263 DSC03262 DSC03250 DSC03248 DSC03307 DSC03310 DSC03312 DSC03320 DSC03323 DSC03396 DSC03463 DSC03509 DSC03536 DSC03539 DSC03541 DSC03542 DSC03535 DSC03492

View Comments (2)