Howdy pardners! It’s summertime down on the farm and Knott’s has rolled out a new slate of entertainment, nighttime food festival, and the return of Ghost Town Alive! We were there for opening day (and will be back again today) to experience the fun for ourselves.
Here’s the scoop on Ghost Town Alive and Knott’s Summer Nights…
Ghost Town Alive
Welcome back to another Calico Founder’s Day!
After a two-year hiatus, Ghost Town Alive has returned, giving us the opportunity to be part of an evolving interactive experience that casts guests as citizens of Calico. If you’ve ever wanted to live your best cowboy life, this is for you.
Ghost Town Alive is one of the most unique theme park experiences out there. The town of Calico comes alive, crammed with interactive characters coming out of every nook and cranny. All of them holding a piece of the story and ready to share it with you.
Like LARPing (Live-action roleplaying), every citizen of Calico can thrust you into a unique storyline where you’re the star. Throughout the day, you may stumble upon events, as well as attend Founder’s Day Activities. It’s amazing how one bit of information will take you all over town, chatting with a variety of citizens.
Many of our favorite characters returned this year, but there are also many new ones to interact with this year.
The roleplaying is quite organic, just strike up a conversation with any citizen of Calico and they’ll start you on a quest.
If you’re finding yourself lost, the Calico Gazette next to the stables can get you caught up.
Or maybe stop by the sheriff’s office and check their blackboard.
More than likely, you’ll just bump into someone, overhear a conversation, or get caught up in one of Calico’s scavenger hunts.
We’ve put together a video to show you a little bit more about how it works:
Ghost Town Alive runs on select days May 20th-September 5th.
Miss Cameo Kate’s Western Burle-Q Revue
The queen of the stage herself, Miss Cameo Kate has put together an extra-special, toe-tappin’, rip-roarin’ western musical revue just for the summer.
Bringing together her brilliant band of dancers and musicians, this show celebrates everything western.
If the live singing wasn’t great enough already, the band is also live. Knott’s has really put together a wonderful showing of talent.
It wouldn’t be a Knott’s show if it weren’t a little kooky. This is a show that celebrates western music, but no one said it had to be period-appropriate. With classic 40s tunes like “[I Got Spurs That] Jingle, Jangle, Jingle,” you’ll definitely be bobbing in your seats.
And this being Cameo Kate, there’s plenty of marvelous can-can dancing as well.
This was a surprisingly excellent show; if you have time to stop in between Founder’s Day activities, make sure to put Miss Cameo Kate’s Western Burle-Q Revue on your list.
Also returning this year is Knott’s Summer Nights, the music and food festival extravaganza. It’s much the same as it was in previous years: three stages, three rotating acts, and seven food booths.
Friday, the lineup was Tomasina, Adelaide Pilar, and the Charleston Circle DJ. We recommend checking the Knott’s app to see who’s playing during your next trip.
The party committee is also out to make sure everyone’s having a great time. These are silly pun-laden characters like Helen Highwater, Ivana Drink, and Carmen Geddit. They’ve expanded the roster this year, which we appreciate because they’re hilarious.
While dancing the night away, check out the food offerings at the seven festival booths.
If you’re thinking of getting a few things, take a look at the tasting card. Knott’s has moved back to using a QR code system instead of breakaway tabs, which we appreciate (although it requires you to keep track of how many items you’ve received). It’s $50 for six items ($45 for season passholders). While that is an increase over previous years, we noticed that Knott’s increased the portion sizes quite significantly.
Here’s a quick overview of what to expect from Summer Nights:
Let’s have a look at some of our favorite items:
Top 5 Food Items
1 & 2: Sparkling Watermelon Lemonade & Fruity Vitamin Water
We’re going to start off the list with something a little different: drinks. These kinds of drinks are often overly sugary, but we felt these two were different. With striking fruit flavor, both drinks are great for the coming warm summer nights. The Watermelon Lemonade is light and tart, while the Fruity Vitamin Water has a pleasant sweetness that isn’t overwhelming.
3: Chicken Waffle Slider With a Honey Mustard Coleslaw
Don’t let the name fool you, this is a full-size sandwich portion. Keeping in tradition with weird festival sandwiches, this is yet another Knott’s oddity. This one, we can say is one of the better ones. The waffles are thick, fluffy, spiced perfectly, and full of crystallized sugar. Shoved between them are a chicken patty and a smattering of coleslaw. It may still be a lot for some people, but it’s definitely more approachable than previous festival sandwiches…
A classic, the cookiewich is two cookies with your choice of soft serve. But we recommend the incredible boysenberry soft serve! This is once again a full-sized item, which means it’s quite a lot of ice cream.
5: Cowboy Stew with Kielbasa and a Waffle Biscuit
One of the heartier items, what really makes the cowboy stew stand out is the waffle biscuit. Yes, the biscuit is made of waffle mix. And they serve it with butter.
Overall, the Summer Nights food this year is better than last year, but not quite as unique as the first year in 2019 (bring back the cornbread bowls!). Knott’s continues to experiment with their lineups, which we appreciate, as that means their events don’t stagnate. This year is familiar but also refreshingly different.
Summer Nights runs on select days May 20th-September 5th.
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Let’s Hear From You
Who’s ready for a hootenanny?! We can’t begin to tell you how much we enjoyed Ghost Town Alive this year. Games, gossip, endless entertainment, a hoedown, and a real sense of being part of the fun. But you don’t have to get any more involved than you want to… you can interact with the characters and accept tasks, participate in games, or just sit back and watch the fun unfold. Then, after Ghost Town Alive packs it in for the day, Knott’s Summer Nights festival kicks off in the evening. It’s a fabulous one-two-punch of summer entertainment, food, & frivolity.