Every year, the holiday season promises special events, twinkly lights and peppermint treats galore. However, due to Covid-19, many of our yuletide dreams have been thwarted this season, and many businesses and event organizers have been left to desperately create pandemic-friendly alternatives that still capture the spirit of the season.
This year, I enjoyed my time so much at the fall/Halloween tasting event at Knott's Berry Farm that I decided to go to its sister event on my actual birthday: Knott's Taste of Merry Farm.
Just as they had at previous events, Knott's required face coverings, conducted temperature checks and had staff constantly wiping tables and ensuring guests were socially distant. Tickets included 5 tasting items from a wide selection, as well as items available for a la carte purchase. Each tasting card had a QR code to be scanned each time a tasting was acquired. Parking was free, and the park was once again transformed with seasonal touches. However, the warm, autumn tones from the previous event were replaced by ornaments, wreaths and plenty of lights, which made for magical evenings.
I had learned my lesson, with regard to food at Knott's events, so this time, I made a point to start indulging early on in the event. Once we had our temperatures taken and entered the park, we headed straight for our first food destination near the boardwalk.
My friends and I had planned on ordering the Boysenberry Champagne Float, and because the sun was blazing and temperatures were high when we arrived, we decided this frosty drink was the perfect place to start.
Generous servings of champagne were poured over pleasantly purple boysenberry sorbet, and our drinks were delicious! Of course, I couldn't help myself and supplemented our indulgent floats with Scrooge's "Spicy" Cranberry-Pomegranate Glazed Wings. I don't normally eat spicy food, but after reading countless reviews of the dish, I realized they weren't actually spicy. In fact, they were perfectly sweet and savory.
Continuing my eat-early-in-the-day strategy, we headed to our next destination for Mistletoe Maple Syrup Breakfast Sausage Dogs, over by the log ride.
As a breakfast enthusiast, this item massively excited me... and it did NOT disappoint! Despite looking like a corn dog, these sausage dogs were dipped in pancake batter, complete with maple syrup for dipping. We gobbled up these wonderfully sweet and savory delights while we sat in the shade of the Calico Mine Train.
It had been a couple hours, so we were ready for our "main course," the Turkey Dinner Tater Tots (Tater Tots with Turkey, Stuffing, Gravy and Cranberry Sauce) and the Green Bean Fries with Creamy Mushroom Dipping Sauce. Oh, and of course, boysenberry wine!
Let me tell you, those tater tots were amazing! They tasted just as they were described, a perfect fusion of crispy potatoes with all of the best parts of a turkey dinner. And even more amazing were the green bean fries - they were probably my favorite savory bite of the day.
With our bellies full, we decided to make our rounds at the park for fun, seasonal photos. The sun had just begun to come off of its afternoon high, and the park was bathed in a soft golden glow. At some point, we did stop for tacos at Fiesta Village, but the girls devoured those before I could snap a photo!
I will admit, I did not find the Taste of Merry Farm decorations as successful as the Taste of Fall-o-Ween decorations, but nighttime transformed the park into more of a holiday wonderland.
Ghost Town was full of classic, twinkly lights that gave the space a very rustic, holiday feel. Take a peek at my video at the bottom of this post to see just how Ghost Town embraced the holiday spirit with a light show. I loved the vibe, but no place was more festive than Camp Snoopy!
Camp Snoopy was over the top - it was full of giant candy, wrapped gifts and an endless lights. As we were admiring the lights and decor, we found an empty table behind the waterfall area, so we decided to grab dessert and eat it there.
I decided to try the Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Bar with Chocolate Peppermint Bark, as well as a hot cocoa. Both were wonderful - not too sweet, and full of fun holiday flavor. My friend Mariah got a little fancier and ordered the souvenir cup with the very Instagrammable Blitzen's Christmas Tree Bundt Cake!
By this point, our tastebuds and tummies were completely satisfied, and I was done eating and drinking for the night! We decided to make one more round of the park to see everything at night - we started at Camp Snoopy and went around the entire park.
Even Boothill Cemetery had some added holiday touches, including Ebenezer Scrooge's grave, as well as some of the spirits that visited him in the famous story A Christmas Carol. The famous Knott's Berry Farm fog with a holiday twist made for some spooky yet festive photos.
As we finished our last lap around the park, we realized Mariah had one more tasting left on her card! We were just arriving in Fiesta Village, so Mariah used her last tasting to get a Beef Empanada. While she enjoyed her last treat, we sat at one of the tables and took in the last bit of the holiday magic. Although it made me a little sad to see no rides running, there was still something eerily beautiful about the empty rides all lit up.
Overall, it was the best birthday I could have asked for, especially during such a difficult time where our options are limited. I am insanely grateful that we picked my birthday to go, as Knott's had to cancel many dates due to Covid-19 numbers.
Knott's Berry Farm has gone above and beyond this year to provide a little bit of that Calico charm wherever they could. I am grateful to the staff and to everyone who made these events so wonderful! I am looking forward to the day where Knott's can get back to its full running capacity and we can enjoy all of our favorite rides and boysenberry treats.
Until next time,