It’s finally time to dig into Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival 2022. We’re excited to share this year’s festival food and entertainment with you below. Be sure to browse all the way through for a virtual taste of a Southern California favorite!
From March 18 to April 24 (about one week longer than in the past), you can find over fifty dishes and drinks that feature Knott’s famous berry. It’s time for us to pick up our forks and knives and check out a ‘berry’ exciting festival….
Let’s start with a festival overview from Dusty:
The Six Berry Best
While there are some returning favorites, most of the items this year are new. Not sure what to use your tasting card on? Here are six that we think are the berry best (in no particular order).
Boysenberry Filled Donut Open-Faced Chicken Sandwich with Bacon Jam and Arugula
On the surface, it’s a simple sandwich – a donut and a fried chicken filet. Yet, there’s a bit more to this intricate dish.
The combination of boysenberry filling in the donut and the savory bacon jam on top creates a truly epic dish with complex and satisfying flavors. While we don’t imagine everyone will be as tempted by the combination, it definitely is the most curious dish at the festival and one of the best. (Note that we heard some folks received their sandwich with the doughnut still frozen! That’s not how it should be served, so don’t hesitate to send your dish back to the kitchen if it isn’t prepared correctly)
Boysenberry Mousse Chocolate Cake
We could easily take a few of these home for late night snacking. Mingling with the rich boysenberry mousse is a dense chocolate cake interior, all coated in a berry purple glaze.
Boysenberry Pie Bar
This is simply a layer of boysenberry pie filling sandwiched between a base of a tender pie crust (like a sugar cookie) with a crumble topping. There’s no going wrong with boysenberry pie in any shape. This baked goodie is available in multiple locations around the park, which means you’re never too far from having one in your hands at all times!
All-Beef Meatballs in a Boysenberry BBQ Sauce on Mashers
An obligatory inclusion for sure, but for good reason. It’s one of the only returning dishes. Knott’s said this remains their most popular and asked-for dish, and we can see why.
The magic here is the amazing Boysenberry BBQ sauce. We could slather that stuff on everything (and often do, bottles of the sauce are sold in the park for you to take home).
Chicken Cordon Bleu with a Boysenberry Cheese Sauce
A surprise addition to the list, this dish checked a lot of boxes for us. Thick chicken breast wrapped around ham and cheese, then topped with boysenberry cheese sauce—an instant classic. This one is served with two cutlets, so it’s a generous portion.
Mini Crab Sushi Roll with Boysenberry Aioli
Theme park sushi?! Hear us out on this one. Many of the tasting card items are quite heavy and the sushi really checks the box on a satisfyingly light but delicious option. Fundamentally, this is a mini crab roll with a boysenberry aioli garnish, but the little extra crispy texture from the fried onion topping was a nice touch.
Other Tasting Card Options
Trio of Sausage with Pepper and Onions on Boysenberry Polenta
Pozole with a Boysenberry Garnish
Boysenberry BBQ Chicken Pizza
Chicken Dumplings with a Boysenberry Wonton and a Teriyaki Dipping Sauce
Spring Fling Salad With Shrimp and a Boysenberry Vinaigrette
Boysenberry Cowboy Chili with Mac & Cheese and a Frito Garnish
Elote with a Boysenberry Butter, Mayo, and Cotija Cheese
Boysenberry Rocky Road Brownie
The Boysenberry Festival tasting card lets you choose six items from the list of twenty-five different items. For comparison, there were fourteen in 2019 and twenty-six planned for the canceled 2020 season.
Here’s the full list and locations:
The card is $50 (plus tax), and $45 with a season pass. It’s up $10 from 2020’s (canceled) festival with two fewer tabs to use. We didn’t really miss the extra tabs due to the huge portion sizes, and left with tabs still unused (you can continue to use up your card through the duration of the festival). Knott’s also includes alcoholic beverages on the tasting card, which is something Disney doesn’t do.
Overall, we had mixed initial reactions to the 2022 tasting card. It pales in comparison to the insanely huge “Taste of Boysenberry Festival” tasting card in 2021, but that was strictly a food festival when the rest of the park was not operating. And all items in 2021 had to be purchased via the tasting card. This year has a mix of items which are not on the card and must be purchased a la carte.
What Knott’s has actually done here is take the pre-2020 fourteen-item card, add almost entirely new items, then added fourteen drink options (serving alcohol on a tasting card was previously unheard of). Ultimately, the mixed reactions we are hearing are mostly due to an expectation that some favorites would return and that the festival is much more expensive this year. But most folks seemed to leave the festival happy and satisfied.
Craft Beer Tasting Card
The Craft Beer Tasting inside the Wilderness Dance Hall confusingly offers a separate tasting card for those who are inclined to adult beverages. It’s sort of a hidden gem, not heavily advertised, yet has the most variety of alcohol at the festival. Representatives of the mostly local breweries are on hand to chat with you about their offerings.
We enjoyed the assortment of beers, but wish there had been more wine offered (as there was in the past). Just make sure you finish the card before the end of the day (unlike the regular festival card, this one is only valid on the day of purchase) and hang onto your tasting cup as well. The staff wants you to only use the one cup they give you, and if you lose it you can’t redeem the rest of your card. That was NOT explained to us when we purchased the card and when we threw away the cup to go ride some attractions (with the intention to come back later and finish the beer card) we were told they couldn’t serve us without our cup. So we ended up losing out on two tastings. Not a great system and sure to result in lots of unhappy customers. Also, some of the breweries represented expressed how unhappy they were that most guests didn’t even know about this offering.
Note that you CAN purchase full sized drinks here a la carte, which may be your best option.
It seems Knott’s has really stepped up their food game this year outside of just the tasting card items. Several of the very best things we tried weren’t even on the card! Many classic items were also turned into something new, like the Monkey Bread Bites with a Boysenberry Glaze. They’re almost like the now-classic Fun Bun, but bite sized (the Fun Bun curiously did not return to this festival).
Here’s a look at many of the other items at the festival that we’re salivating over:
For those with special diets, Knott’s has some alternative items like the Chickn’less Sandwich on a Gluten-Free Bun with Boysenberry Jam and Arugula
Here are all the special dietary need items (click to see in full size):
Knott’s also has what they’re calling “Boysenberry Colossal Creations.” There are three items that are meant to feed a whole family (6-8 people), and they indeed are colossal. Try getting your mouth around one of these:
Grande Nacho with Jalapenos, Chili, Cheese, Avocado, Sour Cream, and a Boysenberry Salsa
Boy O Boy, Now That’s a Cookie! Jumbo Chocolate Cookie Deep Fried with Boysenberry Jam and Ice Cream
Monster Boysenberry Pulled Pork and Slaw Sandwich topped with Onion Rings and served with French Fries
Boysenberry Festival Merchandise
Boysenberry Festival merchandise never disappoints, especially when it involves food. We’re very happy they’ve added even more new take-home cooking and food items this year. Especially wonderful is that we can finally pair the boysenberry mustard with the new boysenberry ketchup.
If you want to take a little taste of the Boysenberry Festival home, at the front of the park is a booth where you can build your own “festival in a box.” The box includes seven items, plus recipe cards with suggestions on how to use them all.
It’ll cost $50 and a pre-made one is also available to ship on Knott’s online marketplace. We’re thinking about sending some to a few friends to convince them that they should accompany us to the festival…
Stay tuned to MiceChat, our merchandise maven, Natalie Kipper, will be sharing all the festival good in a follow-up article.
New to the Festival!
Don’t miss out on a major new area to the Festival…
Previously used for Scary Farm and Merry Farm, Knott’s has once again opened up their not-quite backstage area behind Ghost Rider. “Not-quite” is the key phrase here, as this backstage area has been redressed so convincingly that most guests likely won’t have any clue that this isn’t normally an area used by Knott’s guests.
The area has been decorated with a wonderful festival and Ghost Town theme that helps make it feel fitting.
Indeed, that’s the purpose of Boysenberry Lane. It contains the first booth on the tasting card (with what will likely be the most popular item), several craft booths, games, and the boysenberry plant nursery (where you can purchase your own boysenberry plant).
This is also where you can meet some festival characters, like the tall chefs and Whittles.
Boysenberry Festival Fun
Although Boysenberry Festival is primarily centered around food, there’s also some fun entertainment.
A new melodrama has taken the stage in the Bird Cage Theater. Following a kooky cast of characters setting off on a boat race on the Mississippi, Riverboat Revenge displays yet again the strength of the simplest of Knott’s shows.
Cheer for the hero, boo the villain, and laugh your sides off with this hysterical show.
There’s a pureness to the modest Knott’s melodrama. While other productions rely on flashy sets and costumes, Riverboat Revenge relishes in its uncomplicated whimsy.
It’s not terribly different from the previous show, Boysenberry Bedlam! But that doesn’t make the fresh setting any less entertaining.
We noticed that the key art is illustrated by one of the performers (who previously illustrated the art for Boysenberry Bedlam!)…
If you happen by the Tied Up in Knott’s art gallery, he also submitted this piece featuring K-Knot radio!
Snoopy’s Boysenberry Jamboree
The down-home fan-favorite Calico Mine Stage stage show returns again with Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and all their friends.
After two years away, we’re delighted to see the charming large-scale production return with all its catchy music and substantial cast.
The Music Goes ‘Round and Around
Held over from Peanuts Celebration, this Camp Snoopy show features Sally, Schroeder, and Snoopy as they cover different music topics that Sally has to write about for a school report.
Boysenberry Fun and Games
At the Calico Mine Stage, a variety of diversions are held throughout the day, including a pie-eating contest.
There’s nothing quite like shoving your face into a whole pie…
Old MacDonald’s Barn
Just at the end of Main Street, a petting zoo pays tribute to one of Knott’s original attractions.
Knott’s Totally Tubular 80s Dance Party
A nightly dance party in the Boardwalk Ballroom offers music from a funky neon decade. (It might be better for Knott’s to move this one outside to the Boardwalk and let guests discover it as they walk by. Currently, it’s a little too tucked away inside)
History of the Boysenberry
Inside Ghost Town Hall, a video documents the history of the berry that spawned a theme park. It’s a large room with just one small TV monitor and benches, some posters and images on the walls would help tremendously.
For an in-depth video tour of this year’s Boysenberry Festival, be sure to take a walkthrough with Dusty Sage below…
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Let’s Hear from You
We’re stuffed, but already planning our return visit to Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival. What caught your eye? Are you excited about the return of festival entertainment? Have you visited as well? Let us know in the comments below!