This post covers our tips for enjoying and saving money at Knott’s Boysenberry Festival, an annual event at Knott’s Berry Farm in Southern California. Basically, what Food & Wine Festival is to Disney California Adventure, the Boysenberry Festival is to Knott’s Berry Farm–except literally everything on the menu features boysenberries. That might sound odd at first, but some of these things are delicious in relatively surprising (delightfully surprising!) ways.
Knott’s Boysenberry Festival happens during the month of April (so yes, it’s already over) and is a relatively new event that Knott’s has done each of the last 4 years. I know I’m a bit late with this article, but the event is so fun and every year I keep forgetting to cover it that I figured I’d just post it now for those of you planning 2018 trips. Given that the popularity of Knott’s Boysenberry Festival has grown and the event has expanded every year, we’d expect (and hope for) even more dates for Knott’s Boysenberry Festival in 2018.
One thing that we cannot possibly expect during the 2018 Knott’s Boysenberry Festival is more food items. That would be downright impossible. During Knott’s Boysenberry Festival this year, there were over 70 boysenberry-inspired food and drinks available throughout Ghost Town. These included everything from sweet treats to savory meats, including bbq ribs, meatballs, chicken wings, pizza, and plenty of dishes covered with Knott’s very own Boysenberry BBQ Sauce (it might sound odd, but this is glorious). Speaking of glorious…
The star of the show at Knott’s Boysenberry Festival is the legendary Fun Bun, which part funnel cake (“fun”), part cinnamon bun (“bun”) slathered in boysenberry cream. This is the hero SoCal needs, and the one it deserves. You could say the Fun Bun is the heart and soul of the Boysenberry Festival…and you’d be right.
Thanks to masterfully-done social media campaigns, the Fun Bun has quickly attained an iconic status in Southern California before it was even released (there’s an interesting look at the Fun Bun’s memification in this blog post). With a cult following before anyone ever tried the Fun Bun, it could’ve been disastrous if the thing tasted bad.
While it’s probably “technically” bad for you, the Fun Bun is so good for your mind, spirits, and emotional health that I cannot help but think that overall it’s a net win in the “good for you” column. It’s sweet and decadent, with wonderful.
You probably shouldn’t eat an entire Fun Bun yourself (they’re huge) if you want to sample other items at Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. Then again, that’s exactly what I do, and I never have any regrets. The Fun Bun is definitely the highlight of the event for me.
Aside from the Fun Bun, items at Knott’s Boysenberry Festival are changed out annually, so I’m not going to go overboard making recommendations here. Personally, I love the alligator bites, boysenberry crepe, chicken wings, and corn on the cob with boysenberry butter.
This butter and the bbq sauce are incredible, so basically order whatever core food product you like that incorporates these.
Each year, Knott’s also offers a Boysenberry Bites Tasting Card. This year, it was $25 for 6 pre-selected items. That’s a pretty good deal…if you want those 6 things. It’d be nice if Knott’s has allowed some choice (A or B type scenarios for each slot) on the tasting card–hopefully next year.
While the tasting card did feature highlights of the event, not being able to customize it at all seemed a bit rigid.
Most of the portions are easily shareable, and as compared to other food & wine festivals, offer good value for money (most samples are around $5, +/- $1.50). For a party of 2, I’d recommend getting one tasting card and splitting those items, and also purchasing a few other items.
A couple can spend $50 or so at Boysenberry Festival on what amounts to lunch and dinner for both of you, which is pretty good by theme park pricing standards.
In addition to the food kiosks located around Ghost Town, there’s a Wine and Craft Brew Garden inside Ghost Town’s Wilderness Dance Hall. Here there are 2 different craft brews and over 50 different wines from 36 producers including boysenberry beer and boysenberry wine.
Alcohol tasting cards are also available to purchase for $25, which includes 6 tastings paired with a cheese and fruit plate.
Because of Knott’s Boysenberry Festival’s growing popularity, I’ve heard weekends have become especially busy at Knott’s Berry Farm in April. If you’re able, go during the week. In my experience, Knott’s is always a bit chaotic right when the park opens, with security and turnstile lines tending to get backed up.
If you’re a Knott’s Annual Passholder (and if you’re a local who will visit Knott’s 2+ times in a year, it makes sense), I’d advise arriving around midday. That’s plenty of time to eat your way around Knott’s Boysenberry Festival.
In addition to the boysenberry treats, entertainment has been added for Knott’s Boysenberry Festival! This year, Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies performed in the Calico Saloon, the Berry Jamboree played at Birdcage Square, and there was also the all-new Snoopy’s Boysenberry Jamboree show.
For me, the highlight of these by far is Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies. Disneyland fans will instantly recognize this group as fan-favorite Billy Bill and the Hillbillies. When they were “retired” from Disneyland’s entertainment lineup, Knott’s scooped them up, and they’ve been delighting audiences across town ever since.
If you can’t get enough boysenberry goodness, more is available for purchase. Boysenberry BBQ sauce, Boysenberry Butter, Boysenberry Mustard, Berry Market Jams, etc. are all available in the Berry Market located in the Ghost Town General Store. The butter and bbq sauce are my favorites.
Overall, Knott’s Boysenberry Festival is a real-winner. It adds life and energy to the best area of the park (Ghost Town) and is a fun excuse to try some foods you otherwise wouldn’t. A day frolicking through Knott’s Berry Farm with the Fun Bun and its friends, plus entertainment, and a handful of attraction experiences (Calico Mine Ride, Timber Mountain Log Ride, and Mystery Lodge–all of which have Disney “connections” too–are my favorites) is a really satisfying way to spend a spring day in Southern California. Being just down the road from Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm is also fairly easy to access via Uber or public transit if you’re staying nearby in Anaheim.
If you’re planning a California vacation, check out my California category of posts for other things to do. For Los Angeles-centric trips, we’ve found the most useful guidebook to be The Best Things to Do in Los Angeles: 1001 Ideas, which is written by locals (and we use it even as locals!). If you enjoyed this post, help spread the word by sharing it via social media. Thanks for reading!
Have you done the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival? If so, what did you think of experience? Any must-try foods or items to take home that you’d recommend? Any additional tips to add that we didn’t cover? Would you do the Boysenberry Festival again, or do you think it was a ‘one and done’? Was it worth your time and money? Hearing from readers is half the fun, so please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!