Not to be outdone by its more famous neighbor in nearby Anaheim, the 160-acre theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm, is transformed into Knott’s Merry Farm annually during the holiday season. The Peanuts gang, created by Charles Schulz, appears in various incarnations throughout the park as part of A Charlie Brown Christmas. This year, the transformation takes place from November 28 – January 5.
The theme park is located on what used to be the berry farm established by Walter Knott and his family. In the 1920s, the Knott family sold berries, berry preserves, and pies from a roadside stand along State Route 39. In 1934, the family began selling fried chicken dinners in a tea room on the property, later called “Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant“. The dinners soon became a major tourist enticement, and the Knotts built several shops and attractions to entertain visitors while they waited to be seated at the restaurant. In 1940, Walter Knott began constructing a replica Ghost Town on the property, the beginning of the present-day theme park. He added several other attractions over the years, and began charging admission to the park in 1968. In 1983, Knott’s Berry Farm added Camp Snoopy, which began the park’s present-day association with the Peanuts characters.
In the 1990s, following the deaths of Walter Knott and his wife, Cordelia, their children sold the family business to the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. Cedar Fair has continued to expand the theme park, adding Knott’s Soak City in 1999. Today the park boasts 40 rides in all, including 10 roller coasters. Attendance to the park has increased over the years and 2012 saw 3.5 million visitors to Disney’s neighbor to the west.
When the park is transformed into Knott’s Merry Farm, lavish holiday decorations including a 65’ tree fill the park with holiday magic! There are strolling carolers, a colorful Christmas parade, live entertainment, a crafts fair and of course, Santa! Guests can enjoy a spectacular ice show performed in the 2,100-seat Charles M. Schulz Theatre, starring everyone’s favorite beagle. And each night, Calico Stage lights up with the delight of the season as Snoopy hosts a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Ghost Town is transformed into a Victorian holiday wonderland and becomes an old-time crafts village where visitors can explore handmade one-of-a-kind items created by one of the more than 100 artisans. Unique blown glass figurines, hand carved carousel horses, and skillfully crafted ceramic and wooden tree ornaments are just a few items that are created right before your eyes.
Wilderness Dance Hall in Ghost Town is home to Santa’s Christmas Cabin. The youngsters can visit with Santa and have their photos taken. You can also indulge in holiday delights like Santa’s homemade cookies, sundae bar, decadent hot chocolate, winter wine and craft beer tastings, and much more.
Entrance to the Christmas Crafts Village is free Monday through Thursday and is included daily with theme park admission (available November 28 through December 24).
New this year is the Christmas celebration aboard Calico Railroad’s Engine 41. Visitors can climb aboard a vintage railcar and meet an ever-changing group of Ghost Town residents willing to share their Christmas plans with the passengers.
When the sun goes down, Camp Snoopy hosts its “Snoopy’s Magical Nights of Lights.” Thousands of twinkling white and multicolored lights accompanied by a holiday soundtrack offer visitors a feast for the eyes. In the Camp Snoopy Theater, Charlie Brown, Linus and Lucy dance, sing and join in on the holiday fun in the Lucy’s Wish List show.
Knott’s Berry Farm is located at 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park CA 90620 (Beach Blvd exit from the 91 Freeway in Buena Park).