As I sat atop a wooden fence next to Tiny Mayfield, of the Mayfield gang, he asked me what we should add to their hideout blue prints. He held up a scrap of paper with a crudely drawn picture of a potential hideout right next to the bank of Calico. I took a moment to look at the drawing and warned him about his potential plans. They had planned to put an electric fence right next to a moat. But before I could finish my sentence, another Mayfield gang member yelled out “What if we add alligators in the moat!?” in a thick western accent. Tiny Mayfield then scribbled alligators within the moat on the map. I just smiled and decided to add even more absurdity to the mix. I leaned over the map and said “What if we add some lions too?” Tiny looked up at me and said “That’s a good idea!” He then proceeded to write “lions” in the moat and as I went to correct him he said “maybe they should be sea lions on account of the fact that they’d be in water?” I thought about the proposition for a moment and said with excitement and in a western accent “that sounds like a mighty fine idea!” I was then asked to take the map to the Post Office to get it sent out to the Calico Logging Company so we could get the wood to begin construction.
It’s been two longs years since we’ve last seen the great citizens of Calico during Ghost Town Alive. But finally we have Ghost Town Alive back for the 2022 summer season along side Summer Nights! These two drastically different events are perfectly coupled as a day and night (all day) extravaganza at Knott’s Berry Farm. During the day, you can run around Ghost Town living out your ideal western life and at night you can dance the night away with great food and music. Keep your eyes peeled for our full review of Knott’s Summer Night’s later this week!
GHOST TOWN ALIVE
As mentioned before, it’s been two years since we’ve had Ghost Town Alive (GTA) at Knott’s Berry Farm and it’s truly been missed. Without GTA, there is a very obvious void in the entertainment offerings at the Farm. Especially when said offering is immensely popular. This is supported by the overwhelming amount of people who came to Knott’s to experience GTA for opening weekend. Countless smiles, painted mustaches, laughing families, and excited adults only cements GTA’s popularity and ability to wrangle up people of all ages. You can easily spend all day in Ghost Town enveloping yourself in the story that unfolds throughout the day.
Two things about GTA that are incredibly important to its overall enjoyment is the actors portraying these western characters of Calico and the interactive flowing nature of the experience.
The experience of GTA would be nothing without the stellar work of all the actors and actresses putting their heart and soul into these characters. Not only is it convincing, but it’s heartwarming to watch. Especially when you see young kids break out of their shell to interact with characters throughout the day. Something about the way these actors approach and engage guests is welcoming and warm all at the same time. Really putting forward the idea that you’re walking into this western town and being swept up in the Founders Day activities.
In terms of the interactive nature of the GTA experience, it truly is everything Galaxy’s Edge should have been and everything the Galactic Starcruiser currently is, but without the massive price point. GTA, while obviously not Star Wars, completely overshadows the Disney run event in Orlando. This isn’t just a personal observation, but the observation from many people who’ve experienced both the Galactic Starcruiser and GTA. The total immersion into the wild west at Knott’s with its characters is worth its weight in gold and we are always astonished at how something executed at this high level, is offered at a price point that is affordable and accessible. This sets Knott’s completely apart from its (friendly) competition down the road.
During GTA, you can get completely entangled in the story and happenings of GTA. There is an active storyline that is progressing throughout the day. So if you happen to take some time away from Calico, when you come back you’ll find out very quickly that plenty would have happened while you were gone. We never found that distracting at all, it’s very easy to track the story because all the characters are open books and want to make sure every guest feels involved. While you can find yourself delivering packages to the Post Office or (in my case) help plan the new hide out for the local gang; you can easily find smaller activities that aren’t actively part of the storyline.
The Mayfield gang set up a little portion of the hideout for lasso practice. So guests can get better at tossing a lasso over the head of cattle. You can also head over to the Livery Stable and see the horses and donkey of Calico.
There truly are countless things you can do during Ghost Town Alive that will fit the interest of every member of your family.
ENTERTAINMENT OFFERINGS DURING GTA
While you can spend all day in Ghost Town, there are other entertainment offerings to see while at Knott’s. If your desire to stay within the world of Calico and GTA is strong enough, then you can stop by the World Famous Bird Cage Theatre (for any of the three show times) to see Miss Cameo Kate’s Burle-Q Revue!
Unlike many shows in the Bird Cage, the Western Burle-Q Revue is very much a show supported by it’s song and dance numbers as opposed to witty dialogue that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing at Knott’s Berry Farm.
Typically, these shows only have a single piano player but the Burle-Q Review has a Bass player and a drummer that accompany the piano and it makes a big difference for a show that heavily relies on the music. Especially in a small venue like the Bird Cage.
While the music and dancing was silly, fun, and very much impressive. This isn’t a show that I would frequent when visiting the park like many of the other shows that have called the Bird Cage home. That’s not to say that it’s bad or not entertaining. Very much on the contrary actually. The show is astoundingly well crafted. It just isn’t really our cup of tea, which is totally okay. Even that being the case, we highly suggest taking some time to see this show because it will give your feet the much needed rest they need and you’ll see a highly entertaining show of dance and song.
If you’ve come to visit Knott’s Berry Farm with younger kids in your family, then you really need to go see DJ Lance Rock at the Walter Knott Theater.
If you’re unfamiliar with DJ Lance Rock, he is primarily known for his roll on Nick Jr.’s Yo Gabba Gabba. But if you’re still unfamiliar with his work, he very much comes across like a Mr. Rogers type figure. Communicating the importance of reading, eating your vegetables, and overall positivity. But he does it with some amazing music too!
DJ Lance Rock and his friends will take you on a musical journey that combines his passion for music, dance, play and education through two separate shows, Let’s Play! and Everybody Dance. Let’s Play! is a smart and energetic music show featuring DJ Lance Rock who, on a rainy day, dreams up an entire world of play and imagination that takes place inside his apartment. By using his imagination, DJ Lance Rock finds a way to invent a day full of fun and play for everyone. Everybody Dance is an interactive show where DJ Lance Rock engages the audience through song and dance, while teaching the importance of staying active. Singing and dancing his way through his neighborhood, DJ Lance Rock’s imagination helps spread and inspire good vibes, good music and big fun with the audience.
For each of these shows, the kids were running from the crowd to dance and play near the stage. With this new show, Knott’s actually removed the first few rows of seating and put in carpeting for the kids to be super comfortable during the show. So make sure to encourage your kiddos to run down and have a good time near the stage. Especially because DJ Lance comes down and dances with the kids too!
I think the show could be advertised a bit better in terms of the audience it’s targeting. This is not the show for your pre-teens or older. They might get a bit bored. This is very much for the younger kids in your family because they’ll love to get up, dance, and just get all their wiggles out while DJ Lance plays some great tunes.
As always, Knott’s is coming out swinging in terms of the amount of merchandise they have for Ghost Town Alive and Knott’s during the summer. We are always incredibly impressed with the sheer amount of items and how affordable they usually are as well. Almost every season had a shirt and pin combo souvenir. But this season, they have a sticker pin combo! We are just very impressed because it’s not something that would have even crossed our minds.
Additionally, Knott’s has some fun his and hers shirts for Ghost Town Alive, gorgeous water bottles, adorable kids cowboy hats with Snoopy ears, and so much more.
Ghost Town Alive thrusts guests into the world of the wild west at Knott’s in the most impressive and unique offering in Southern California. The constantly evolving storyline engages guests and encourages people of all ages to play along in all the fun on Founder’s Day within the town of Calico. Ultimately, Ghost Town Alive does a tremendous job bringing out the kid in adults and only limits the kids in how far their imagination can take them within the confines of the story Knott’s has created. Not only that, but doing it at an affordable price point so that whole families can enjoy it together. Knott’s Berry Farm once again feels whole again with the return of Ghost Town Alive and we cannot wait to see what other hijinks the good citizens of Calico can get into during the summer season.
For more information regarding Ghost Town Alive and Knott’s Berry Farm, head over to Knotts.com