Knott’s Berry Farm during the Summer has quickly become a cannot miss time of year. Whether you want to visit Soak City (write up coming soon), experiencing Ghost Town Alive, or just visiting at night for the music and food; there is something for everyone. Maybe the only thing missing is fireworks at the end of the night on the weekends! But we can hold off on those till future Summer Nights down the road.
After a long day at Knott’s, throwing yourself into a western adventure during Ghost Town Alive, sometimes all you need is some good food, a good drink and some relaxation. Why not head on over to the Calico Mine Stage area for some good tunes and food during Knott’s Summer Nights! Ghost Town Alive concludes with a large hoedown, and the tone shifts from western adventure to a backyard bbq party in a rather seamless transition. Now if you haven’t heard of Knott’s Summer Nights, it’s essentially the after party to Ghost Town Alive. It offers a variety of live music, classic summer eats, and games. Anywhere in the park, there is something to enjoy. Whether thats the variety of top 40’s bands that rotate throughout the event at the Calico Mine Stage, the beats of the Boardwalk DJ’s, or the array of bands (Latin, Reggae, and Zydeco) at the Calico Park Stage; you’re going to find something to enjoy. Even if it’s the type of music where you want to kick back with a drink or the kind of music that makes you want to get up on your feet and dance. The party wouldn’t be complete without an abundance of food and drinks, as mentioned before.
And honestly, Knott’s always has amazing options in terms of variety for every event. This year, the Knott’s culinary team created tasty twists to classic summer dishes. Such as the Crab Cake Sliders, The Korean BBQ Burger, and the Vegan Lettuce Wraps. And if you’re looking to get more than one item, you can purchase a tasting card for $50 or $45 with a Season Pass Discount. The tasting card will offer six tastings from a selection of over two dozen seasonal-inspired dishes and drinks.
I can tell you first hand, that if you get the tasting card you will leave with a full belly because lots of these servings are sizable. And even if you can’t find yourself eating that much food, you can always save it for your next trip out!
We are foodies here at Theme Park Duo. We love to try all the new food and find out what the best is going to be for the season. Of course, any even with a tasting card is going to get our attention. So here are the items we tried at the event and our thoughts on them.
CRAB CAKE SLIDER with a LEMON CAPER AIOLI
This was a sleeper hit for us. This was a little bit out of our “comfort zone” when it comes to theme park food options. But after the frog legs at Scary Farm last year, we’ll try anything! The crab cake itself was well seasoned and tasted fantastic. The aioli really complimented the savory crab cake and gave it a bit of brightness it needed. The single piece of lettuce added a bit of crunch, but the bun leaves a bit to be desired. I’m not sure if it was meant to be toasted, but ours was not and I think that the item could use a toasted bun. That would take this item over the top if it had the toasted bun.
CARNITAS TACOS WITH CHIMICHURRI
These were also a very tasty item. The carnitas were tender and really packed a punch of flavor. The added onions and chimichurri took the flavor to the next level too. The only unfortunate thing is that my tortillas were flat out cold. If you were in my house and served cold tortillas, that’s basically a mortal sin. But I did let the team at the booth know and they replaced all of them asap. Which was nice to see an immediate reaction to an issue.
COWBOY STEW and KIELBASA with a WAFFLE BISCUIT
This one was a big hit with us. Lots of flavor and a lot of food. This alone could be one meal for the day but it was included in the tasting card which is insane to us. Lots of potatoes, kielbasa and corn mixed together with some tasty stew. If you have a big hunger, I’d go with this one first.
KOREAN BBQ HAMBURGER
I think this one is really the only miss for us. The Korean BBQ Burger had the flavor but the texture just got us. We love kimchee and the flavor of the sauce on the burgers, but something about the texture of the burger itself just got to me. I might be alone on this one because I talked to plenty of people who said the burger was their favorite item they had during the event. While we cannot agree, we did have a favorite item and that was the…
MINI PEACH PIE
I honestly don’t even know what to say about this thing. The Mini Peach Pie was hands down the best dessert item I’ve had at Knott’s and probably the best item during Summer Nights. It was served warm, with chilled peach slices on top, an extremely buttery and flaky crust, and whipped cream on top. It knocked my socks off and I’ve been thinking about it every day since we left. I honestly might need to come back to the even just for this item alone! If you are going to Knott’s for Summer Nights…DO NOT SKIP THIS ONE!
We drank this one so quickly we forgot to take a picture of it! But we found this extremely refreshing and a great addition to their lineup of beers. It wasn’t too sweet and still maintained that hoppiness that cuts through the sweetness. We did a tiktok about this one that you can check out here!
One thing that does need improvement is the operations side of food. I’m unsure of where the issue originates, but the amount of time it took to get food from short lines was crazy at times. I’m sure it was opening-weekend nerves and they’ll figure out a processes and put systems in place to ensure quick turn arounds going forward. But the day we attended was a tad bit rough for the crews it seemed. But as mentioned before, when I did have an issue and when I brought it to their attention, they resolved it quickly.
On the Calico Mine Stage, on this night, we were treated to some kick ass tunes by the band Hiatus! Not a single seat was left open when this band was on stage. So many smiling faces, singing along to the music and dancing. The band does a fantastic job at getting the crowd whipped up into a frenzy of excitement. You could feel the buzz in the air and it was awesome to experience.
Honestly, there isn’t a bad seat for the Calico Mine Stage simply because all you need is the music and the vibes. But, front row is pretty fun because the band sometimes interacts with the Party Planning Crew of Knott’s Summer Nights! We’ll get to them a bit later.
Over at Charleston Circle, near the fountain, you can find a DJ! This night, we were treated to a ONE TIME ONLY set by DJ Lance Rock! If you didn’t know, DJ Lance Rock has a new show for the kids inside the Walter Knott Theater! But man, was he playing some funky and awesome tunes for the crowd. Someone even proposed during his set and everyone went wild! Everyone had a good time dancing to the music over here because it was just a different type of music than Hiatus was playing. And that’s not a dig at Hiatus, the music was just different and more up our alley. We found ourselves movin’ and groovin’ to the beat and it was so much fun.
Now I do have to say, that the party atmosphere of Knott’s Summer Nights and the level of fun it reaches would not even be attainable without the Party Planning Crew. This cast of wacky characters are supposed to be the people who live in the neighborhood and who’ve come for the block party. They are all unique and different and represent the stereotypical people you’ve seen in the movie or in real life. The interactions alone with these characters take Summer Nights up to the next level for us. It makes it unique and really takes it to the next level to set itself apart from any other theme park party.
I couldn’t give more kudos to this cast of characters for really working their butts off and it truly showed. So many people interacted with them, danced with them, engaged them; and it seemed like they made guests experiences better for it. Just to give you a sense of the environment during Summer Nights, watch this video below.
I don’t really know how to convey my thoughts properly about Knott’s Summer Nights, other than just going over each detail matter of fact. Yes the food is good, yes the music is great, and yes the interactions are fantastic. But the way I feel when I’m there is really difficult to convey. It’s just an overwhelming sense of happiness. Just a massive smile on my face from beginning to end. Honestly, it might have something to do with the past two years being so difficult. Not only on us, but on people in general. And to see so many happy people dancing, eating, interacting with each other and just having a good time just adds to the overall experience of Summer Nights. Honestly, how do you quantify happiness? That’s a difficult question to answer and sometimes it’s impossible. I only say these things because I had such a good time at Summer Nights that it’s very difficult for me to convey it to everyone reading this now. It just felt like my good friends threw a bbq party and everyone was invited for a good time, that’s honestly and truly exactly how it felt. And although there were some minor issues that need to be fixed just operationally, I guess all I can say is that if you want a family friendly party with kick ass food and tunes; Knott’s Berry Farm has you covered.
For more information regarding Knott’s Summer Nights and Knott’s Berry Farm, head over to Knotts.com