Welcome back to Ride or Dine, everyone! It's been a while since we've brought you a new blog. To be fair, we've been out of theme park season for a while, but we are happy and excited to be back in the swing of it and beginning our 2019 theme park trips! This past week was one of our first trips of the year and man oh man did we kick the season off right!! We visited Knott's Berry Farm for their annual Boysenberry festival!
This was our second time at Knott's and I have to say this time was a very different experience for us. The first trip was pretty quick (only one day in the park) and the crowds were OUT OF CONTROL! We've come to learn that Knott's Berry Farm is pretty much always busy, but the first time we were there it was just too insane. This last trip we had two full days in the park and crowds, while still heavy, were a bit better than last time.
So, one cool thing we learned about Knott's that we didn't really realize before is the fandom for this park is REAL! It's not quite on a Disney level...but it's pretty close. The amount of Boysenberry t-shirts, hats, dresses, etc., in the park was CRAZY! And so awesome to see!! It really helps to get you hyped for the park and the events happening! Who knew people would rally so much for boysenberries!? (Although if you haven't had boysenberry flavored snacks, you really are missing out on a gem!)
The entire park is decorated with boysenberry-themed decor, extra floral, and banners and signs! It looks so nice and everywhere you turn there's a perfect photo-op.
This festival, dedicated to the birthplace of the boysenberry, features unique boysenberry-inspired foods, drinks, live entertainment, and attractions.
Guests are able to visit Cordelia's Pie Kitchen, a replica of Cordelia Knott's original kitchen, and create their own Boysenberry tarts. Guests can also take a stroll through the crafts fair or sip wine at the "Tied up in Knotts" Art Show.
There are also plenty of live shows and entertainment provided through the park that guests can enjoy! We had a great time watching some of the Calico Park Games like the pie walk and the Pie-eating contest!
Congrats to this little pie-eating champion for taking home the grand prize-
A freshly-baked boysenberry pie!! ...and bragging rights.
And of course, the star attraction of the festival- The Boysenberry FOOD!
Going into this festival I was fully convinced that I would get tired of the boysenberry flavor halfway through the fest and that I'd end up just breaking down and ordering chicken fingers because I'd be craving normalcy. Parker was fully convinced he wouldn't be able to get enough Boysenberry and that he'd end up wanting to get two of everything- this was one of those few shining moments where Parker was right and I was wrong :P
The festival offers these nifty tasting cards for $35 (unfortunately there are no pass discounts on these bad boys), and they get you 8 items. You can mix and match which 8 items you want from this list of 14 options.
In addition to the stands offering these 14 festival items, there are also food locations across the park with festival-exclusive items that you can purchase. While those are not included on the tasting card, we HIGHLY recommend several of those items!
The tasting card lanyard conveniently reminds you of the items you can choose from and a map of the locations that those items are sold.
The tasting card item booths all look something like this. Most festivals we've been to have booths with several items available to purchase at each. But, the extremely efficient Knott's Berry Farm has ONE item per booth. You pay at a separate register and take up your receipt or tear off one tab from your sampler card and exchange it for one item.
Tasting Card Items
Boysenberry dry-rubbed flank steak with boysenberry cream cheese topping. This was one of the top items of the festival without a doubt. The cream cheese topping was amazing and the steak was cooked perfectly!
A great way to start off the sampler!
Boysenberry Jerk Chicken Wings. This was one of Brittany's favorites but not Parker's. He thought the sauce didn't match well enough with the chicken's seasoning. Still a win for me, though.
Boysenberry glazed salmon over mixed greens and topped with a boysenberry vinaigrette. If you like salmon, you will like this dish! It's so refreshing and light. The fruit was perfectly sweet and matched so well with the boysenberry glaze on the fish. The vinaigrette was also good, although very different than we were expecting. It's more a creamy dressing than an oily dressing. Also, sometimes it's nice to stop and eat a salad in the middle of eating nothing but terribly unhealthy foods for two days straight haha.
Boysenberry BBQ Chicken skewers with boysenberry aioli. Another one of the top contenders of the fest! This chicken was SO good. Honestly, both sauces on it were amazing and I think it would've been just as good with only one of either. But, the fact that they were together was perfect!
Boysenberry pot roast over boysenberry mashed potatoes. This one was a little interesting. The pot roast was awesome! It was cooked well, very soft, and flavored perfectly. The mashed potatoes were a little odd to me. Parker liked them, but I'm not sure I like the idea of boysenberry mixed in through the potato. I was kind of hoping for maybe some regular mashed potatoes with some sort of boysenberry gravy on top. Parker disagrees with that, but he was already right once earlier so I'm gonna give this one to me.
Boysenberry Habanero Baked Mac and Cheese. Ok, ya'll know we love a good mac and cheese! And this one did not disappoint. I had read some things online that said this dish wasn't great so I set kind of low expectations, but they were blown away. I will say, if the habanero part intimidates you at all- don't be. It wasn't spicy at all. But, it was tasty, cheesy, and we loved the bread crumbs on top!
Boysenberry cinnamon sugar flour tortilla chips with boysenberry ice cream. The chips were pretty good actually, but mostly we ordered this because I have a new obsession with soft serve. I don't know why, but sometime over the last year I started wanting soft serve EVERY time we're in a park. So this was a no-brainer! Boysenberry soft serve FTW!
Boysenberry waffle with a maple boysenberry cream cheese syrup. I will say, I was expecting a bit more out of this one. The consistency is less waffle-like and more muffin-like. It's very dense. But, the syrup was everything!
And PRO-TIP: Scoop the ice cream onto the waffle. Trust us, it makes it SO much better!!
ITEMS THROUGHOUT THE PARK
These are the other boysenberry festival exclusive items offered throughout the park that you cannot use your tasting lanyard on.
Boysenberry Pie Milkshake. This was one of my favorite items from the festival, and honestly, it should be offered year round. The boysenberry flavor is actually pretty subtle here, but there are pieces of actual boysenberries and pie crust throughout which make this shake one of my favorites of all time!
Boysenberry BBQ Popcorn Chicken. Alright, so we were a little disappointed with this one. This is literally just regular popcorn chicken (which we know you can't go wrong with) nothing different or special about it. The sauce wasn't my favorite, although Parker really enjoyed it. It had kind of a spicy kick to it, similar to the sauce on top of the Mac and cheese. Maybe it is, who knows? This one was just alright.
Boysenberry Cheesecake on a stick. In theory, this should've been my favorite item because I LOVE cheesecake. And I LOVE the novelty of eating food on a stick. But, this dessert was just SO sweet. I honestly could've done without the coating, because the actual cheesecake with boysenberry pieces throughout was really good!
Boysenberry BBQ Cheddar Pizza. Parker really enjoyed this pizza. I can't even really tell you what was on it besides cheddar cheese, ham, onions, sausage and maybe boysenberry bbq sauce? That sounds right based on what we tasted, but there are no descriptions anywhere!
Boysenberry Butter Grilled Cheese with Boysenberry Jam Sandwich. All we have to say about this is YES! This sandwich was the last thing we tried of the festival, and I think we definitely saved one of the best for last! Oddly enough, I feel like the sandwich could've used even MORE boysenberry flavor (I know, I know, how can we not be tired of it yet??). There was plenty of melty cheese and butter on the toast which paired so well with the sweetness of the jam. Absolutely one of the bests of the fest!
And there you have our review of the 2019 Knott's Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival! Honestly, we probably only tried a little over half of the items offered at the festival. They also feature a 2-ft long Boysenberry hot dog (INSANE), boysenberry chili, pineapple and boysenberry Dole whip floats, boysenberry corn dogs, and SO much more!
The boysenberry possibilities are endless! If you're interested in attending this year's fest, it runs through April 28th. But, that's coming up pretty soon, so we definitely recommend planning a trip for 2020 if you can't make it this year!
1000000% Knott's Berry Farm is one of the most historically rich, authentic, total package parks in the country. It has quickly become one of our favorites thanks to the coasters, theming, and of course-food! It's got such a great vibe and there is so much to do.
We hope to return soon.
Until next time, follow along with us on the rest of our 2019 theme park adventures here and through our Instagram @rideordineblog!
See y'all soon!
Parker and Brittany Ruhmel- Lovers of all things food and theme park related!