Yeehaw! Saturday at Knott’s

As mentioned in my last Knott’s Berry Farm post, lots of visits are planned this summer, because Ghost Town Alive is just too much fun. So over the weekend, Patrick and I went for the day. We’ve been having a bit of “June Gloom” recently, but I didn’t mind the mild weather, as it worked out perfectly to wear my new (to me) vest that I recently bought.

I want to thank those of you who commented on my last post where I shared my vintage California linens. I think my charm bracelet collection will be the next collection I share. Also, feel free to keep the post suggestions coming!

Outfit
Hat: Redlands Galleria, Redlands, California
Shirt, Boots, & Purse: Buffalo Exchange
String Tie & Coral Ring: I don’t remember…
Vest: Paper Moon, Los Angeles, California
Skirt: Dolly & Dotty
Rodeo Queen Ring: Gift

The Return of Ghost Town Alive

Last summer, Knott’s Berry Farm did something that was nothing short of magical, and something I gushed about repeatedly here on the blog, Ghost Town Alive. If you were ever a fan of the original film Westworld, or have been caught up in HBO’s reimagining of the 1973 film, it’s easy to relate Ghost Town Alive to that – a theme park, where there are citizens (or “hosts” as they are called in Westworld) that reside in a typical western town of the late 1800s, and each of these citizens have a plot that plays out over the course of the day, and it’s something you can be a part of. You can read my open letter to Knott’s Berry Farm that describes the experience a bit more here. The main point is, it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had, and was overjoyed when Knott’s announced they were going to bring it back for the following summer. And for the first day, Patrick, myself (along with a newly created Knott’s themed parasol), and friends were there to experience the first day.

 

This train border print skirt, along with a few other western themed border print skirts, has been on my wish list for some time now, and I recently scored it from one of my favorite Etsy shops, Trove Vintage. While it was on the big side, I was able move the hook and eye over, and iron it some to make it several inches smaller, without ruining the integrity of the skirt or seriously altering it! It was a perfect skirt to kick off what can best be described as “the second season” of Ghost Town Alive.

For photos from the events of the day, keep reading!

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Knott’s Preserved

By now it’s no secret I have fallen head over cowboy boots in love with Knott’s Berry Farm. The literal farm turned theme park has one of the most unique, interesting, and classic American dream stories that there is. The book that helps tell that story best is Knott’s Preserved: From Boysenberry to Theme Park, the History of Knott’s Berry Farm.

With extensive research, interviews, and massive collection of vintage photographs and ephemera, co-authors Christopher Merritt and J. Eric Lynxwiler, weave a tapestry of berries, chicken, and a sudden theme park that sprung up as a result.

Walter Knott, along with his wife Cordelia, began their small berry farm in Buena Park in the 1920s, and eventually Knott cultivated an unnamed berry he acquired from Rudolph Boysen, who had long given up on the hybrid of blackberry, red raspberry, and loganberry. Walter took the plant and nurtured it, and soon it was producing large berries that were rich in flavor. Knott chose to name the berry the boysenberry, after Rudolph Boysen. Walter sold berries and other fruit from a small roadside stand, and a tea room was added where Cordelia sold sandwiches, rolls, jam, and fresh berry pie. It was really a family operation, as the Knott children helped in making the pies. When the Great Depression arrived, the Knott family looked for a way to raise their income, and one night in June of 1934 Cordelia did something that would change their lives and the southern California landscape forever, she made fried chicken.

Word spread that this was the best fried chicken, and very soon Cordelia’s Tea Room had regular customers, and long lines. Soon one of the Knott daughters, Virginia, began selling small gifts from a card table in the lobby to aid both income and in entertaining people awaiting tables, and in 1938, just four years after serving the first dinner, the restaurant saw its first expansion, and Virginia got her very own gift shop, which still bears her name to this day.

But guests were having to wait a rather long time to be seated. And Walter wanted to entertain them. With volcanic rock he ordered from Death Valley, Walter built a waterfall for guests to enjoy while waiting. He quickly followed up that project with another, a millstone vignette, where guests waiting were encouraged to sing “Down by the Old Mill Stream”. Then inspired by a trip to Mount Vernon, Walter recreated George Washington’s fireplace. These were the first “attractions” Walter built to entertain customers waiting to be seated, and guess what, these three attractions are still at Knott’s Berry Farm, and free to the public. They are also something I have wanted to share for awhile, and this book offers a nice way to introduce them.

Today, tucked behind the Berry Market (which is part of the larger Marketplace shopping center just outside the main gates of Knott’s Berry Farm) you can still find these three original attractions. So if you stop in for a bite at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, be sure visit these hidden treasures.

But these small things couldn’t entertain the thousands that were flocking for a taste of Cordelia’s chicken, sometimes waiting over three hours, and soon Walter got the idea to pay homage to his grandmother, who came to California in a covered wagon. In 1940, construction began on what would become the Gold Trails Hotel, and would house a unique diorama depicting a wagon heading west. From this, Walter thought he needed more western buildings to give frame and context to the Gold Trails Hotel, and soon a real life Ghost Town sprung up! Here, guests could spent time as they waited for their tables at the Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

Soon Walter’s Ghost Town grew to have a life of its own, and buildings continued to be added, some of which were real buildings that he relocated to the property, others were built. Some of these buildings were called “peek-ins” as guests could literally peek in through the window and see a scene, like a barber giving a shave or card game being played at the sheriff’s office. These peek-ins were followed by panning for gold, a real antique train guests could ride, and before Walter Knott knew it, he had a full fledge them park. What is so wonderful is that Knott’s Preserved offers a perfect commentary on how each attraction was developed and added, and how the Farm had to change with the times, including stories I had never heard before. It also discusses the many hard working people who joined the Knott family with their project, including the self-taught wood-carver Andy Anderson who bought so many of the original peek-in characters to life, and artist Paul Von Klieben who designed buildings, painted gorgeous images for various locations, including the awe inspiring Transfiguration, which you can see and read about in my post about the Knott’s Berry Farm auction.

People came from all over southern California to visit. Patrick’s grandmother originally hailed from Nebraska before moving to California, and after marrying an Italian immigrant, she stuck to cooking Italian food for her family, but every once in awhile the family traveled to Buena Park from Burbank just for fried chicken and so she wouldn’t have to cook. My dad recalls visiting often (although from the much closer town of Downey), and I am lucky enough to have a handful of photographs from his visits (which I’m planning to share in a vintage Knott’s Berry Farm photograph post).  And stories like these aren’t at all uncommon as Knott’s Preserved shares.

Knott’s Preserved beautifully describes the path of Knott’s Berry Farm from its first steps as a simple farm, through the development of Ghost Town, and the later themed “land” and ride additions were made, not all of which were successful. I learned so much about the Knott family, long forgotten attractions, unrealized attractions, and how the Farm grew into what it is today, including the origins of Knott’s Scary Farm in 1973, and the unique addition of the Peanuts Gang in 1982.

For some, Knott’s Preserved will be a walk down memory lane, for others, like myself, it offers a wonderful glimpse into what Knott’s Berry Farm was once like. It is something any person interested in Knott’s Berry Farm should read.

Knott’s Preserved is available for purchase at Knott’s Berry Farm, both at stores inside the park, as well as Virginia’s in the Marketplace. It is also available for purchase through the the publisher’s website.

Disclaimer: I was not approached by the authors, publishers, or any employee of Knott’s Berry Farm to do a review Knott’s Preserved. I wrote this review of my own accord.

Mad for Boysenberry!

For Easter Sunday, Patrick and I returned to Knott’s Berry Farm to enjoy the sights, sounds, and treats of Boysenberry Festival again. I also finally finished my boysenberry parasol!

During Boysenberry Festival I had the absolute pleasure of meeting J. Eric Lynxwiler, one of the authors of Knott’s Preserved, an amazing book about the history of Knott’s Berry Farm, and which I keep meaning to write a review of! Lynxwilder is a wealth of information when it comes to Knott’s, and he taught me so many wonderful new things about the park, giving me an even greater appreciation. His passion for not only Knott’s, but history in general shines through when he talks, and his is a joy to chat with. Plus, both times I bumped into him, he had the most spectacular boysenberry themed ensembles. I mean, just look at this custom-made boysenberry western wear shirt he had on!

Since Knott’s brought back the melodrama at the Bird Cage, Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies were kicked over to the Wagon Camp during the Festival, which I thought was really neat, as the Wagon Camp was original created for music acts and square dancing.  The Wagonmasters were among the most notable and regular of the performers at the Wagon Camp, and it’s wonderful that the Hillbillies can follow in their footsteps. Over the years though the desire for thrills encroached on the Wagon Camp, and today part of the rollercoaster Silver Bullet winds through part of the Wagon Camp. Although at times it makes for amusing stage antics, as sometimes Kirk would scream back at the riders.

Sadly, Boysenberry Festival has come to a close, and while I’m bummed to see all of the wonderful and unique treats leave, it means it’s just a few more weeks until Ghost Town Alive returns!

Outfit
Boysenberry Pie Fascinator: Miss Doolittle’s
Peasant Top: Pin-up Girl Clothing
Skirt: Stray Cat Vintage, Fullerton, California
Boots: Buffalo Exchange
Tooled Leather Purse: I don’t remember…
Earrings: Belonged to my grandmother
Boysenberry Festival Pin and Bracelet: Knott’s Berry Farm
Calico Pin and Parasol: Made by me

Birthday Cowgirl

It’s my birthday! And what a proper day to share what I did to celebrate my birthday! So even though my birthday is today, Dapper Day is this weekend, and I knew most of my friends would be attending that, I also wanted to do a get-together at Knott’s Berry Farm, which is exactly what we did last weekend.

We really lucked out, as it was still Boysenberry Festival, so many of my friends were excited to try all of the unique boysenberry offerings, including the boysenberry cream soda, that is made by hand. We gave the gal working quite the work out when ten of us came in and each ordered one.

We also attended the various fun shows that are offered during Boysenberry Festival, like the new melodrama at the Bird Cage Theatre, Snoopy’s Boysenberry Jamboree, and of course my favorite, Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies.

One thing I had yet to do at Knott’s was their Pitcher Gallery (yes, “pitcher”) where guests can dress up like cowboys, cowgirls, proper ladies and gentlemen, and my favorite, saloon girls. So I convinced my gal pals to do a group saloon girl photo.

Patrick and I returned to Knott’s to spend Easter, and continued eating all of the wonderful Boysenberry Festival treats! So stay tuned for that post!

Outfit
Dress: Decades, Salt Lake City, Utah
Shoes: Re-Mix
Western Charm Bracelet: Built by me over the years
Rhinestone Horseshoe Ring: Disneyland
“Howdy!” Purse: Birthday gift

Day One of Boysenberry Festival

April 1st kicked off the first day of Boyseberry Festival at Knott’s Berry Farm, which celebrates the berry that helped put Knott’s Berry Farm on the map. And Knott’s puts together some wild and crazy things for guests to eat during the festival, including boysenberry pizza, which was new for this year! There is also loads of entertainment for guests to enjoy, such as Snoopy’s Boysenberry Jam-boree, and they finally brought back the melodramas at the Bird Cage! And the one happening during the festival is hilarious!

Now, I had decided I wanted to make a boysenberry parasol, but between Portland, and the Knott’s Berry Farm auction, I just didn’t find the time to finish it! But I’ll have it done before the festival is over and share with with you all then, because, seriously, you need at least two days to eat everything!

Knott’s offers a festival tasting card, so guests can opt to try six of the special items for $25, including the pizza, which was actually really good, and I’ll likely have it again. I also tried the boysenberry cheesecake dipped in chocolate, which was fabulous, although the chocolate may have overpowered it a bit too much. I may try it again, but sans chocolate. I also absolutely adored the boysenberry cream soda, pictured above. It was so subtle, but still sweet and refreshing.

I have a few more boysenberry inspired ensembles planned for future visits during the festival and hope to share them, along with the new parasol when we get back from our road trip to Idaho!

Outfit
Peasant top: Pinup Girl Clothing
Skirt: Retro Rejuvenation, Coburg, Oregon
Shoes: Olvera Street, Los Angeles, California
Holster earrings: I honestly don’t remember!
Cowboy Brooch: Found by my dad
Rings: Here and there…

Knott’s Auction

Late last week, Knott’s Berry Farm auctioned off a wide array of items that once dotted the famed amusement park. From paintings to coin-op amusements to animatronics to even a covered wagon, fans of Knott’s could view the items prior to the auction, then try their luck at bidding in the live auction.

We attended both the preview and the auction, because some of the items were incredible pieces of history, including items from attractions long since gone. But since I know most of you come here for my outfit posts, I’ll first share with y’all what I wore to the auction, followed by image of the items, and share with you what some of those amazing pieces went for!

I actually made this Knott’s Berry Farm themed parasol last summer, for those hot days during Ghost Town Alive, but it somehow manage to never get photographed!

Keep reading to see images from the auction!

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