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Knott's Berry Farm
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Loren Javier

Amid theme park shutdowns, Knott’s Berry Farm reopens for a food festival

And no, you can’t ride the rides.

Written by
Stephanie Breijo

Amusement parks and large gatherings are still outlawed throughout California, but the state’s oldest theme park is reopening its gates. Morphing from a sprawling 57-acre plot of roller coasters, log flumes and some of the most iconic berry fields in the world, Knott’s Berry Farm is sanctioning a small part of its park to become a socially-distanced food seller and retailer on weekends now through August 9.

The new Taste of Calico food festival launched July 17 to such demand that tickets for the initial dates sold out almost instantly, offering a sampling of boysenberry-filled churros, berry BBQ chicken wings, and even boysenberry beer and wine—a nod to the park’s berry-farm roots and its famous boysenberry festival, still postponed from earlier this year.

The new fest fills the Knott’s faux ghost town with small plates, new outdoor dining areas, Western-inspired magic shows and characters, limited activities, demos, and a few shops kept at half their regular capacity. Tickets function as somewhat of a punch card: $25 entry nets five tastes, but if you want to sample a few more of the 20-plus items on offer, you can buy them à la carte (ideally via contactless payment, of course). Kids can enter with a $15 pass for three bites.

Attendance is limited and guests will have their temperature checked upon entering—in fact, anything above 100.4 degrees will get your whole party sent home. Once inside, visitors are required to wash their hands every 20 minutes. Similar to a number of county dine-in guidelines, masks are required at all times when not eating or drinking; unlike restaurants, the food fest also offers a designated “RelaxZone,” where masks are not required. Six feet of distance between parties is expected at all times (even in the “RelaxZone”). 

The Western town also reopened a few of its usual non-food stations, supplying views of blacksmithing and activities such as painting ceramic pies. But to be clear, none of the rides in the park are open, nor are any other themed areas.

Tickets are available online. Here’s a peek of the Taste of Calico’s first weekend:

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Knotts Berry Farm is located at 8039 Beach Blvd in Buena Park. The Taste of Calico food festival runs Friday to Sunday now through August 9.

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