Knott’s Berry Farm’s new show, “Calico Christmas Carol,” at the Bird Cage Theater in Buena Park on Friday, November 17, 2023. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)
A reimagining of the Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” with a Wild West twist, the cautionary bah-humbug tale becomes a crazy dramedy where Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future provide plenty of laughs.
The new “A Calico Christmas Carol” premiered Friday, November 17th at the Bird Cage Theater at Knott’s Berry Farm.
Knott’s Merry Farm launched Friday and runs through Jan. 7 at the Buena Park theme park with a variety of holiday shows, entertainment, food, merchandise and decorations.
The new adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” takes Scrooge to the ghost town of Calico, where he learns the true meaning of Christmas through a magical night of discovery.
As always, the “Bird Cage” sets were kept simple – which is why the shows are all about the performances. The story takes place in the ghost town of Calico and contains numerous references to Boysenberry Pie, the Ghost Town Grill and the Calico Saloon.
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Scrooge skillfully oscillated between a fearsome tyrant tormenting Bob Cratchit and a mean-spirited joker who knew exactly where to make the crowd laugh. The Spirits of Christmas walked an equally fine line between adding just enough “Yee Haw Partner” chatter to establish the Wild West theme and delving into the emotional pain of Tiny Tim’s death.
I love the Bird Cage Theater in part because the old melodramas are so rare to find in a theme park. The 30-minute stage shows are the perfect way to introduce kids to theater and provide a fun break from all the funnel cake, roller coasters and holiday shopping.
SEE ALSO: Halloween and Christmas are the new summer in theme parks
Knott’s Merry Farm also had numerous Christmas shows and entertainment this year.
The new “A Calico Christmas Carol” alternates with the returning “Gift of the Magi, 1885” at the Bird Cage Theater.
Longtime favorite “Snoopy’s Night Before Christmas” brings the ice skating spectacle back to the Walter Knott Theater, where the holiday poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” is retold in Peanuts style.
The stage show “Home for the Holidays,” which debuted in 2019, returns to the Calico Mine Stage. The stage musical feels like watching “Andy Williams Christmas Special,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade all rolled into one holiday spectacle.
SEE ALSO: After two years on the disabled list, the Xcelerator roller coaster returns to Knott’s Berry Farm
A park-wide holiday illumination shortly after sunset always leaves visitors in awe and wonder.
The popular “Snow & Glow” light show with “Snoap”, which falls on the ghost town of Calico several times in the evening, serves as a nightcap and goodnight kiss.
Seasonal entertainment includes Krazy Kirk & the Hillbillies with a festive twist at Wagon Camp, Knott’s Calico Carolers on the streets of Ghost Town and a cappella group Sleigh Bells on the Calico Park Stage.
Throughout the event, shoppers can browse the Christmas Crafts Village and snap holiday photos in Santa’s Christmas Cabin.
Holiday food and treats were available at more than two dozen locations throughout the park. Highlights included the Turkey Ball on a bed of mashed potatoes and gravy, Cinnamon Roll Cookiewich and Yellow Snow Funnel Cake.
I tried the Tamale Fries at Papa’s Mexicana in Fiesta Village and found that the deeper I reached into the bowl, the better the dish tasted. The corn and potato mixture made a great base for the red and green tamale filling stacked on top. For the best experience, I recommend splitting the tamales and mixing the whole thing together.
Would I get the tamale fries again? Perhaps. There are many new and returning menu items to try at the holiday feast.
Would I recommend the Tamale Fries to others? Definitely. Especially if you like trying out unorthodox food preparations.
All I know is that I ate all of the tamale fries until I scraped the bottom of the bowl clean. For me this is the best will ever.