I'm considering going to Taste of Knott's this weekend but I'm still on the fence about it. For those who have gone or heard much about it, would you guys say it's worth the price to go?
I went last weekend and I'd say the experience was mixed. I'll list out the pros and cons, then recap it below.
-Most of the park is open for the event. You cannot enter Camp Snoopy, but can freely wander the rest of the park.
-There are 27 available food locations scattered throughout the park offering a wide variety of items. All of the food is good quality, and I didn't find anything that I disliked. Portion sizes are also pretty good...you will get full after five tastes.
-Live entertainers are present in the park, though placed up on stages or platforms where they are not directly interacting with guests.
-The park does an outstanding job of enforcing Covid protocols. They have extra staff present to clean tables as soon as guests leave, are constantly roaming the park to wipe down surfaces guests are likely to touch, and on the couple occasions a guest wasn't wearing their mask properly they were intercepted by the next staff member they passed.
-Despite the crowds, lines for food items were only 5-10 minutes and were well marked and monitored for distancing.
The Not So Good:
-Obviously, all of the rides are closed. This means you're basically paying $30 for a multi-course meal at the park, which isn't terrible, but isn't cheap either.
-Because rides are closed, guest density is quite high on the pathways and doesn't feel too different from a typical summer day. Knott's had the highest crowd density of any park I've visited since the pandemic began, and I did hear a guest comment they would feel safer with the rides open as it would spread people out more.
-You cannot remove your mask unless you are seated at a table or in the mask relief zone, with no exceptions. Even just pulling it down briefly to take a sip of water while walking is against the rules, and you may be called out on it. As a result, I noticed many guests occupying tables for far longer than it took to consume their items to avoid putting their masks back on, and while it was usually possible to find a table it was sometimes quite a distance from where you got the food.
-The food items, while of a good quality, weren't particularly unique or creative. They do try to give it a bit of a Knott's twist by infusing boysenberry in some of the items, but you'll get stuff like a chicken tender with boysenberry breading or deep fried boysenberry pie rather than the more innovative offerings seen at the Boysenberry Festival.
Overall, I'd say that if you're going solely for the food, it's probably not worth the money. Also, while I didn't feel concerned about safety, I would highly recommend avoiding the park if you're at all concerned about crowded spaces, because you'll constantly be passing other (masked) groups on walkways at distances that may not always be six feet apart. However, if you're going to get out in the park while spending a couple hours snacking around, it may be worthwhile, and you're much better off wandering a controlled environment like this than an outdoor shopping mall where mask and distancing rules are more like guidelines. I'm glad I went to check it out, and if you've got the right expectations it's a good way to get out of the house, but I wouldn't really be interested in going back again until the park is fully open.
Thank you AJ for the info!
I'd like to give an alternate perspective. I think the more apt comparison to make would be to attending a day at the Boysenberry Festival at Knott's, but without the rides, shows, and other events. The cost of the tasting card is comparable to buying a tasting card at the Boysenberry Festival-- if you are not a passholder, you would have to buy a separate ticket to enter the park (about $45 with the best discount, $84 full price).
Unfortunately, you would need to buy a new tasting card for each different day you attend Taste of Knott's, whereas you could use the same card over multiple days at the Boysenberry Festival if you have a season pass (but Knott's needs to control entry into the park and limit the total number of people inside on any given day).
Is it worth $30 plus tax and fees to attend a food and drink festival with the ambiance of Knott's (streets of Ghost Town, water running in the Log Ride and Mine Train ride, light entertainment including a few interactive physically-distanced characters, some live DJs and recorded music, vendors selling items, shops open)? You get five pretty generous tastings, and most people on social media reported being full and taking some items home.
If you just want some Knott's food, the Chicken Dinner restaurant is open everyday outside the park gates with outdoor seating, as well as the bakery, berry market, and chicken-to-go, along with most of the shops in the outdoor Marketplace area.
I had some initial reservations about safety when Knott's first announced these events. My family and I attended the earlier Taste of Calico event that was limited to Ghost Town on a Sunday, and didn't find it especially crowded or hard to socially distance in the middle of the day. I then attended the Taste of Knott's event two weeks later during the day on a Friday, and it wasn't crowded at all. I have heard that in the evening it gets more crowded, especially with the hot weather.
Knott's employees were saying that park capacity during Taste of Knott's is limited to 25% of normal capacity. Because the park dead-ends at Fiesta Village and because more of the food locations are in Ghost Town, the crowds tend to be more heavy in Ghost Town and in the fountain area in Boardwalk.
They do a good job at creating signage for where to wait in line, stay 6 feet away from other parties, and where the line begins. Everyone seemed to be wearing a mask except when sitting and eating. Employees are wiping down and sanitizing tables as soon as a party leaves. The one concern I had was that they were no longer enforcing the number of people inside the stores like the General Store or Gold Trails Hotel by keeping a head count and limiting entry at Taste of Knott's when I was there. A couple of weeks earlier at Taste of Calico, they were very strict about limiting entry and not letting people inside until someone left.
I'd say that both of you guys are correct about the experience. I went on Saturday, which was probably one of the worst days to go to the event because of labor day and the massive heat, but oh well. I was worried that the five portions wouldn't be enough with how hungry I was but it filled me up. Although I dont really think that the capacity was at 25% of a normal park day. I know that Camp Snoopy was closed off and the attractions were closed so people couldn't utilize that space, but it seemed extremely crowded. Yes there were covid guideline announcements playing every five minutes and social distancing markers everywhere but it felt more crowded than a day during the summer. However I went in the evening so I'm going to make the assumption that everyone else did also, so it probably felt more crowded because almost all of the guests came at a similar time instead of it being spaced out during the day. Overall I think the $30 is a bit pricey to just eat food and walk around Knotts but it was just nice to be inside a park again.
We went on Labor Day, arriving at the opening time and planning to leave by 5:00. That, for us was perfect, there was plenty of open space, tables to sit at and room in the stores to wander. As the day went on more people arrived and the staff started monitoring the number of people in the stores about 4:00. As we walked out at 5:00 there was a study flow of people coming in. The safety protocols were being enforced, we did see kids sucking down their Unicorn slushies while walking and staff would remind the adults that the kids' masks need to be in place. Otherwise people were using the sanitizer, mostly wearing their masks properly (it really bugs me to see people with their masks hanging below their noses) and throwing their own trash away. In all a pleasant day and we only had one "tasting" we thought was miss.
Now open, or date announced:
Still waiting on these: