Ghost Town 75th Anniversary Celebration: Knott’s Berry Farm Media Event Report

Knott’s Berry Farm, in Buena Park, California celebrates a very special anniversary this year, the 75th Anniversary of Ghost Town.  Media day was Thursday, June 9th, and the park put on an amazing media day.  They graciously extended their hospitality to many bloggers, including Coaster Chit Chat.  When I say hospitality, I really mean hospitality.  All media guest where treated to a full day of everything the park has to offer for this major milestone.  They have really gone all out, remodeling and refurbishing many favorites, including retracking GhostRider, their beautiful wood coaster.  The coaster looks amazing, and the ride on it is simply unbelievable now.  And finally, I was going to get to ride it.  Yes, it had been running and many people had already ridden, but I waited for the media day, not so much by choice frankly.

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But I am a little ahead of myself.  The day started off with a beautiful breakfast buffet in the newly remodeled Mrs. Knott’s Fried Chicken Restaurant.  They will be serving breakfast on weekends this year!  I have often wished there was a place to get breakfast at Knott’s, and now there is.  Yay!!  The food was really good, and the restaurant is just beautiful.  It has numerous seating areas, including banquet rooms for groups.  Here is a look at the new restaurant, and the beautiful breakfast Knott’s treated us to.

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Mrs. Knott’s Fried Chicken Restaurant was set up as a Media Center.

 

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Media Check in. We were given our media passes, as well as a souvenir Ghost Town magnet, a voucher for a free cocktail at the full bar in the restaurant or at Calico Salon, and a special voucher for a gift to be picked up in the afternoon at Virginia’s Gift Shop.

 

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One of several dining rooms at the newly remodeled Mrs. Knott’s Fried Chicken Restaurant

 

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Mrs. Knott loved fresh flowers. One of the updates for this year is the return of fresh flowers throughout Ghost Town.

 

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Large, family style tables for larger groups. The benches can easily be moved to accommodate wheel chairs.

 

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A fully stocked bar. I enjoyed a Boysenberry beer there later in the day.

 

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The food was delicious: Danish, croissants, fresh fruit and granola, eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy served with juices and coffee.  And the set up was simple, elegant, and down right classy.  When I stepped out onto the outdoor dining area, I realized that there is a great view of GhostRider.  Coasterside dining, that’s for me.

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The view from the patio at Mrs. Knott’s Fried Chicken Restaurant. I can’t wait to see the lights at night.

Ok, so breakfast was done and now we got to ride!  Knott’s had opened GhostRider, Calico Mine Train, Timber Mountain Log Ride, Ghost Town Live, the new Livery Stable, and the Panning for Gold venue at 8a.m. for the media to enjoy and report on.  Obviously, I headed to GhostRider, and rode several times, including a few times with my friends from ACE.  I did not realize that RPOVs were available, but Knott’s was able to accommodate my last minute request.  Thank you Jason.  My RPOV wasn’t until 11am, so I got in a few rides and some photos.   Here are some photos shot from the exit area, and of the underside of the coaster.

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A close up view of the track and braking mechanisms

 

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A view from below.

 

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Returning to the Station, Look, it’s the Coaster Guy!

 

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Inside the station. View from the exit.

 

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Entering from the exit.

Gregg, Kurt, Dan and David

Unfortunately, I do not know the gentlemen on the far left. Next to him is Gregg of Park Journey, Kurt, aka the Coaster Guy, and the Southern California Coaster Twins, David and Dan Sheffler. I met these two at the media day for Calico Mine Train in 2014. #RidewithACE

As you can tell from my RPOV, I had a blast riding GhostRider.

Here is the park’s POV of their freshly refurbished wooden beauty.  At over 4500 feet, it is the longest, fastest, and highest wooden coaster in California.

 

Next, I headed into Ghost Town to check out the panning for gold and how things were in Calico on this gray California morning. My family loves the Panning for Gold venue, so I took advantage of the opportunity to check it out in it’s new location, near the entrance to GhostRider.

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panning for gold, me!

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We, (my family), periodically have all of the gold we have collected combined into one bottle.  I will take it to the ASSAY office later this summer to estimate it’s value.  I am told that each panning typically yields about $5.00 in gold, (for $10.00).

Heading into Calico, I met some of the fine citizens.  Ghost Town Live is an interactive, all day long event where the guest get the opportunity to become citizens of Calico, and assist the sheriff in catching the Mayfield gang, notorious bad boys, (but really cute), who rob and plunder in Calico.

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The Banjo and Spoon player. He got the kids involved in helping him play. The entire Ghost Town experience is completely immersive.

 

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The Mayfield Boys.

 

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Trying to break into the bank.

 

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Mayor Parnell was in town today.

 

Mrs Mayor

The lovely Mrs. Parnell. On days when Mayor Parnell is away, she is in charge and runs for mayor daily against  Clay Mayfield.  Sometimes, Clay is away and his daughter runs for mayor. The citizens of Calico line up to vote every afternoon at 4:00pm. The election results are revealed before the evening’s hoedown.

 

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The barber and this lovely young lady being interviewed by someone from the future??

The livery usually has a couple of horses in it and sometimes a mule.  Cliff, a retired 12 year old Thoroughbred is there daily. He use to be on the stage-coach, but after suffering a shoulder injury, has given that up for a life of leisure greeting visitors at the Livery Stable.  I visit Cliff every time I go to Calico.  He is a horse I could happily bring home.  The horses were on restriction from people being allowed to pet them on this particular day, but he head butted me and I stole a kiss.

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Time flies in Calico, and soon it was time for the opening ceremonies and lunch, so back to Mrs. Knott’s Fried Chicken Restaurant I went.  I have a video of most of the ceremony, and will post it on our site when we can edit it and get it ready.  For now, here are a few shots from the event, including pictures of Charles Phoenix in his custom made for the event suit.  Charles presented the slide show in the Boardwalk Ballroom after lunch, which was a wonderful presentation, filled with Knott’s history and delivered with obvious affection for the park and the Knott’s legacy.

 

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Charles Phoenix and his custom made suit.

 

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Mr. Charles Phoenix at the Opening Ceremony

 

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The rest of the day was amazing too.  Lunch was fabulous, featuring, of course Mrs. Knott’s fried chicken.  Two of the gentlemen in attendance where the grandson’s of Walter and Cornelia Knott.  I asked them if the chicken really tasted like their grandma’s, and they assured me that it does.  I didn’t get photos, because, frankly I am a fried chicken fiend and was busy.  After lunch, we went to the Boardwalk Ballroom for the presentations.  It was a rather long event, and afterwards, I hurried over to the Wagon Camp, and caught part of the show in the newly remodeled Wagon Camp theatre.

Walter and Cornielia Knott

One of the slides shared at the Boardwalk Ballroom, Walter and Cornelia Knott, proud founders of Knott’s Berry Farm. Cedar Fair has shown a remarkable commitment to preserving the history of this amazing family park.

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This beautiful painting was commissioned to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Ghost Town. A lithograph of it was given to each of us. This was what the special voucher we received in the morning was for.

 

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Wagon Camp Theatre

 

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Wagon Camp Theatre

 

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Wagon Camp Theatre

 

I totally spaced on the new Ice Skating show, because I frankly was in need of another spin on GhostRider before the hoedown.  It was a long, and amazing day, but it was time for an adrenaline rush.  Watch for a future report on the new Beagle skating show, as I am sure it is great.

The hoedown is the culmination of the events of the day in Calico.  It is different every day, depending on the outcome of the days events, including the election of course.  Visit Calico often this summer.  But everyday, you can count on music, singing, and dancing.  The citizens, (everyone is a citizen of Calico) have a wonderful time.  In speaking with the cast, they tell me that no one knows how it will end on September 5th, because it depends on the events that unfold throughout the summer.  I will leave you with a few shots of the Hoedown on this fine June day. hoedown 8

 

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I have hundreds more photos, I will create an album and put them on our website for you to check out if you like.  I get all excited every time something new comes out, I remember thinking World of Color at Disney’s California Adventure was the greatest thing ever.  And I was crazy about the Kwerk Show last year at Six Flags Magic Mountain. But seriously, go to Ghost Town Live.  You’ve never experienced anything so unique.  The work and the thought put into creating the amazing fabric of this continuing saga is truly captivating.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and share this amazing day with me.  And most of all, thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Knott, and to Cedar Fair for giving us, and preserving for us, this wonderful place, Knott’s Berry Farm.

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