Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival 2022 Review

Throughout the pandemic, Knott’s Berry Farm excelled in bringing guests wonderful food tasting events within a safe environment. Giving everyone a taste of normalcy during a time that was anything but normal. In place of the 2021 Boysenberry Festival season, Knott’s Berry Farm put on A Taste of Boysenberry Festival. Clearly giving everyone “a taste” of what they’ve come to know and love in the months of March and April. But in 2022, Knott’s Berry Farm is bringing back Boysenberry Festival bigger and better than ever. And trust us when we say that it was worth the wait!

Boysenberry Festival runs from March 18th through April 24th of this year. And if you’ve never been, The Knott’s Boysenberry Festival is an annual food-inspired event that celebrates the park’s historic roots by highlighting the little berry that started it all, the boysenberry. Here you can indulge in a tantalizing lineup of dishes ranging from savory foods with a boysenberry twist to one-of-a-kind specialty desserts and drinks that you can only find at Knott’s Berry Farm during this limited-time food festival. In addition to the numerous food and drink offerings, the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival offers a wide selection of local crafters, live music, musical stage shows, and fun activities for guests of all ages to enjoy.

Each year, Knott’s introduces brand new boysenberry concoctions to tantalize our taste buds. This year is no different with 27+ pieces of boysenberry deliciousness.

The “Tasting Card Food Locations” are scattered around Ghost Town primarily and you can track them with the letter based system. Letters A-I are placed on each booth to identify them and what food they have to offer. Outside of Ghost Town, you’ll find different boysenberry food at different establishments. These are usually noted with a sign on the building or windows that say the name of the specific food item available.

For the Tasting Card itself, it runs $50 (before tax) and if you’re a Season Passholder, then you can also save $5 off that price. For that price, you get 6 different tastings to use however you like throughout the park. But remember, its limited to the different options that are listed on your tasting card. You’ll also find that certain items are available at multiple locations. So if you run into a long line, you can always check to see if other lines are shorter. This year, there were about 17 different unique food options and about 8 unique drink options on the tasting card, which felt a bit smaller than previous years.

This was slightly disappointing, but doesn’t take away from the overall tremendous value of the tasting card. If we were to look at it from the perspective of straight cost, it’s rather incredible. For example, the Boysenberry Slushy Mudslide could be obtained with a tasting card tab or you can just buy it for $15. If you were to use all your tastings on this alone (which I wouldn’t fight anyone on because it was that damn good) then essentially you paid $50 for 6 cups of it vs spending $90 for 6 cups just paying outright. It’s a clear no brainer that using the tasting card is the way to go instead of just buying your way through the day. Obviously, there are plenty of items you can choose to buy because they aren’t available on the tasting card. But at least there are a good amount of really good pieces of food on the tasting card if you want to spend your money a bit more wisely.

And don’t worry, if you have specific dietary needs, Knott’s has outlined all the different foods here for you!

One thing that was clearly evident while at the park was the confusion surrounding the tasting card and how to obtain it. Multiple times throughout the day we saw guests asking team members where they can buy tasting cards or were confused when they couldn’t get food without it. There needs to be more obvious signage throughout the park on how to find locations to purchase the tasting cards. Because even though we knew where to buy them and we could help people. Even we noticed there was a lack of signage.

THE FOOD

Let’s waste no time and get into why everyone came here, the food! We tried so much food while at Knott’s that we nearly turned into Boysenberries ourselves! But here is what we had and what we loved. We will rate these foods out of 10 boysenberries, so we all know the scale!

THE BOYSENBERRY MEATBALLS

This obviously gets a 10/10 in our book. This is a fan favorite classic item that we’ve come to expect from this event. And trust us when we say it is a must have!

TRIO OF SAUSAGE WITH PEPPERS AND ONIONS on BOYSENBERRY POLENTA

This was about a 7/10 for us. The sausages and veggies were fantastic. But the polenta could have used a strong boysenberry taste. It was very light! If you’re looking for the food that is a bit lighter on the boysenberry, this might be the dish for you.

BOYSENBERRY PIE BAR

Good God! 10/10 on this decadent dessert. It’s tangy, sweet and oh so very good. And it was much larger than I was expecting.

BOYSENBERRY MOUSSE CHOCOLATE CAKE

This was a surprise hit for us. Neither of us are massive mousse fans but loved this. It was perfectly balanced in terms of sweetness. And it had just the right amount of boysenberry mixed in. A solid 9/10 for this!

BOYSENBERRY COWBOY CHILI with MAC & CHEESE and a FRITO GARNISH

In the past, we haven’t been massive fans of the mac and cheese items. But this years was far superior than the previous. The chili has a hint of sweetness from the boysenberry that lingers through the savory mac and cheese. Something about the sauce is different for us that makes this dish much better. 8/10

CHICKEN POZOLE with a BOYSENBERRY GARNISH

As someone that grew up with pozole, I was going to be the harshest critic when it come to this dish. But it was actually very tasty and it had massive pieces of chicken in it. The only disappointing side of this was how the boysenberry was incorporated. It felt like an after thought. At an event where the boysenberry is being incorporated in meaningful ways in other dishes, the soup that has berries placed on top is inherently going to stick out. 6/10

CHICKEN DUMPLINGS in a BOYSENBERRY WONTON

The dumplings were much better than we expected. The boysenberry doesn’t lend too much in terms of flavor because the teriyaki sauce masks it all. With that being said, it was very tasty. It just needed more boysenberry incorporated throughout the dish. 6/10

BOYSENBERRY SLUSHY MUDSLIDE

This was by far the winner of the day. Less of a slushy and more of a shake, this sweet libation hit all the right notes for us. The mixture of the chocolate and boysenberry was refreshing and it was sweet without being over the top. We highly, HIGHLY suggest giving this one a try. If you’re of age of course. 10/10

ELOTE with a BOYSENBERRY BUTTER

Another classic and favorite for us while at Boysenberry Festival. We get this every trip and this time around we were pleasantly surprised that they increased the portion size from 2019. Although they did increase the portion size for Taste of Boysenberry Festival. 10/10

PROSECCO with HIBISCUS and BOYSENBERRY JUICE

This was a sweet and refreshing option. Nothing major to write home about but it was rather tasty. 8/10

BOYSENBERRY BEER & SELTZER

Out of all the adult beverages, these two are the top. The boysenberry beer is a classic and the boysenberry seltzer was a welcomed addition. If you love Whiteclaws, then you’ll love the boysenberry seltzer. 10/10

You can also head over to the Wilderness Dance Hall where you can find beer, wine, and other assorted tasty adult beverages. We came to snag some of the different food options here but decided to come back for some beer and wine on another trip. There was simply too much for us to do it all.

MERCHANDISE, ENTERTAINMENT, & OTHER OFFERINGS

For us, Knott’s Berry Farm has become the home of fantastic entertainment and unique merchandise items you can take home to remember your trip. The park has been putting a lot of work into making souvenir items more accessible to families trying to save money. In fact, if you’ve read our reviews of Knott’s Berry Farm events in the past. You know that they have a pin and shirt combo deal for almost every event! For only $22 you can get yourself an event shirt and event pin. The price point on this is outrageous!

As for other merch options, there’s an abundant amount you can find throughout the park. There is literally something for everyone in the family! We are particular fans of the Boysenberry Festival spirit jersey.

Additionally, as with prior years, Knott’s has brought in local artists and businesses to set up shop in Ghost Town for their Craft Fair. Here you can find unique food and merch options from the different vendors.

For this year, Knott’s opened up a new area of the park to expand offerings for the event. If you remember during Merry Farm, they opened up the area past Ghostrider (typically only used for Scary Farm). They did exactly that for Boysenberry Festival and it’s called Boysenberry Lane! This new area for 2022 has expanded seating areas, fire pits, food, games, entertainment, photos ops, and shops! They honestly fit so much into a small space!

As is tradition with Boysenberry Festival, you must buy yourself a real boysenberry plant. You can find this store within Boysenberry Lane!

If you plan on buying one of these, make sure you get to the park at opening because they typically sell out before the season ends. As of March 19th, there were still plenty left. But why hesitate and make sure you snag one!

The incorporation of carnival games was also a very nice touch to the area. Here you pay either pay $6, $12, or $15 for the small, medium, or jumbo prizes. But don’t worry, if you’re not very good at carnival style games…EVERYONE IS A WINNER! We opted for the absolutely adorable boysenberry pie plush!

In fact, we loved how this prize is so unique and special to Knott’s and this particular event. While we where in the area, we had the wonderful opportunity to speak to the gentleman in charge of all the games and prizes in the park. We were informed that management is really trying hard to incorporate Knott’s history and meaningful imagery into its games and prizes. So that when guests leave the park, they aren’t just holding a pokemon or some generic toy. But a Snoopy, or in this case a boysenberry pie to remind them of their good time at the Farm. We absolutely love this idea because Knott’s is so special and unique onto itself. In our opinion, it’s severely underutilized in terms of what it has to offer. Thankfully we saw a massive shift during the 100th celebration and it doesn’t seem like there is any plan to stop.

Make sure to come back to this area at night because its gorgeous! The wonderful lighting and fire-pits make it a must visit for us!

Back again is the Tied Up In Knott’s Art Show, this time inside the Factory Store across from Cordy’s Corner (which is currently being refurbed).

This show really celebrates the history of Knott’s and in particular the boysenberry! Local artists from all around put their heart and soul into making unique, one of a kind, pieces that you can take home!

There are some absolutely stunning pieces of art in this years show. Lucky for everyone, you can snag prints for any one of the pieces on the wall to take home. We even did it because we want to help support local artists and show them some love. Here is what we took home!

If by this point your feet are falling off or you’ve eaten your weight in boysenberries, then Knott’s has some great entertainment offerings for you! This year in the Bird Cage Theater, you can find Riverboat’s Revenge! This is a classic comedy melodrama that is being performed during the event. We honestly didn’t know what to expect when going into this show. We’ve never experienced a comedy melodrama and didn’t recognize the name. But oh man are we happy we checked it out. It might have been our favorite piece of entertainment during the day.

This is the type of show where the audience gets to participate in the form of cheers, hisses, and other various noises that we were instructed to make. Not only that, but the cast of characters were fantastic.

We highly suggest checking out Riverboat’s Revenge when visiting for Boysenberry Festival. Just know that the whole point is to have fun and be ridiculous. Our crowd was very rowdy and it made the experience so much better for it.

On top of phenomenal Riverboat’s Revenge, you can find a couple shows on the Calico Mine Stage as well. You can find a good old fashioned Pie Eating Contest. We even caught our friend Nick from Mouse Vibes trying his best to win.

This is also where you can catch Snoopy’s Boysenberry Jam-boree! This is a large scale song and dance style show. If you remember the event back in 2020, then you’ll remember this show. Although its the same, it’s still a big production show thats fun for the whole family. We are always really impressed with the big choreographed dance numbers in Knott’s shows. It feels very Disney, and we mean that in the best way possible!

Something that you might totally miss because it’s somewhat hidden away is right next to the Wilderness Dance Hall. Inside Cordelia’s Pie Kitchen, you can find cookie decorating for families. We love that Knott’s always has some type of hands on activities and this is something the kids can really get into. You can also purchase it and take it home so you can make the boysenberry celebration last even longer.

OVERALL

As with every Knott’s event that we’ve attended in the past few years, there was simply too much to fit in a day. We didn’t even have a chance to check out the Knott’s Totally Tubular 80’s Dance Party, The History of the Boysenberry inside Town Hall, Craft Beer Tasting, K-NOT Radio, Boysenberry Blues and so much more. I think that’s a testament to the people working hard behind the scenes to continually improve Boysenberry Festival year after year. It’s easy to mistake it for a simple food event. While although it is primarily a celebration of food, it’s truly blossomed into a multifaceted event that brings so much more than what meets the eye. Each and every bit of Boysenberry Festival has care given to it so it feels special inside and out. Although there are a few things about this years event that we would love to see adjusted, it doesn’t affect the overall value and high standard we’ve come to expect from Knott’s Berry Farm nowadays. We believe that Knott’s has delivered another fantastic event for those who love the history of the park and for those exploring it for the first time.

FOR TICKETS AND OTHER INFORMATION REGARDING BOYSENBERRY FESTIVAL, HEAD ON OVER TO KNOTTS.COM

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