Blockheads high-fived Peppermint Patty, grooved to Schroeder’s piano and got down and dirty with Pig Pen as the Peanuts Celebration returned to Knott’s Berry Farm.
Knott’s Peanuts Celebration kicked off on Saturday, Jan. 22 and runs daily through March 6 at the Buena Park theme park.
Snoopy was waiting just inside the front gates on opening day of the Peanuts Celebration at a meet-and-greet station under the rumble of the Silver Bullet roller coaster. Four Peanuts comic strip walk-in photo op scenes flanked the famous beagle — offering visitors a chance to climb inside Woodstock’s nest or pull a football away from Charlie Brown at the last moment. The Knott’s main entrance pillars were dressed in massive gold ribbons with Charlie Brown’s signature black zig-zag stripe.
Themed Peanuts bunting adorned each land — including a gold bandana print in Ghost Town with Snoopy on a hobby horse and a baby blue design in the Boardwalk area festooned with a comic exclamation font proclaiming Rrripp!, Hahaha!, Crunch!, Pow!, Bonk! and Bam!
The new “It’s Your Life, Charlie Brown” musical took over the Calico Mine Stage during the day with the Peanuts star participating in the “It’s Your Life” 1950s-style game show. Host Dink Martin — in a nod to “Tic-Tac-Dough” game show host Wink Martindale — introduced a series of Peanuts pals that triggered song and dance numbers. The corny conceit even featured a canned laugh track authentic to the early TV era.
The Googie-inspired set filled with space age starbursts and dingbats came alive whenever the Martinettes took the stage. The song-and-dance sextet wore matching “blue wave” dresses and vests — with the women in beehive hairdos and the men in gold ties.
The stage filled up with Peanuts characters until the best comedic bit of the show, when the host announced that the kids’ heard-but-never-seen teacher Miss Othmar would not be able to make the proceedings. There was even a commercial break in the middle of the TV game show from sponsor Beagle Breath Be Gone. Their motto: “Make no bones about it, it’s doggone good.”
Even the Calico Railroad Train slowed to a crawl as it passed “It’s Your Life, Charlie Brown” at a snail’s pace so passengers could catch a glimpse of the show without the clanging bell or wailing whistle.
Woodstock’s Musical Festival took over the Calico Mine Stage at night with live rock bands joined by the occasional Peanuts characters sitting in for a song or two.
The “Music Goes ‘Round and Around” in the Camp Snoopy Theater took the audience inside a school classroom where the Peanuts kids were learning the history of music — from swing to bluegrass to rock n’ roll. Snoopy joined in on stand-up bass for a few numbers, Schroeder played piano in a wild Jerry Lee Lewis style and Sally sang “Hound Dog” to Snoopy in a show geared toward the preschool and grade school crowd.
Peppermint Patty — the newest character to join the Peanuts gang in Camp Snoopy — handed out hugs and high fives before posing for arm-in-arm photos with visitors in the meet-and-greet area next to Snoopy’s Flying Ace airplane ride. The up-close greetings stood in stark difference to the Mouse House down the 5 Freeway that still maintains 6 feet of social distance between characters and fans.
Camp Snoopy served as the heart of the Peanuts Celebration with comic strip speech bubbles on lampposts proclaiming famous catch phrases like “Good Grief” and “Curse You Red Baron.” A Child to Teacher Translator booth in Camp Snoopy hilariously allowed kids to turn their own words into the wah-wah-wah of the teachers heard in Peanuts television specials.
The Grand Sierra Railroad in Camp Snoopy got a Peanuts attraction overlay taking riders on a trip to Snoopy’s Beagle Bonanza. Pig Pen’s Mud Buggies was down for a seasonal rehab — but Woodstock’s Airmail, Linus Launcher and Charlie Brown’s Kite Flyer added to the Peanuts vibe in Camp Snoopy.
The Peanuts Sketch School in the Bird Cage Theatre offered 20-minute crash courses in drawing Charlie Brown, Sally, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty and Pig Pen.
There was only one rule for Sketch School: Have fun. And if you’re not having fun then you’re doing it wrong.
The truly interactive, audience involvement drawing sessions encouraged artists of all abilities to give cartooning a try — even if their illustrations were a little shaky and imperfect, matching Peanuts creator Charles Schulz’s signature style.
The “Take Care with Peanuts” gallery exhibit in the Calico Town Hall explored recurring themes Schulz championed during his 50 years of drawing the comic strip — from daily exercise and healthy eating to mental health and vaccination avocation.
Pig Pen sported a perpetual bed head, filthy clothes and a dirty face as he posed for photos with fans in the Ghost Town Livery Stables in front of a painted backdrop boasting a cloud of dust that enveloped a bewildered Snoopy and a stunned Woodstock.
The Peanuts Cowboy Jamboree offered up a host of games like Prickly Cactus Bowling, Steer Ropin’ 101, Pine Pony Horse Races, Prairie Egg Relay Race and Snake in My Boot — the latter a bean bag toss game akin to cornhole. The Peanuts themed games in Calico Town Square were set against a Sparky’s Ranch backdrop — paying tribute to Schulz’s nickname.
Music filled every corner of the Knott’s Peanuts Celebration.
Spike’s Silent Disco hosted by Snoopy’s beagle brother let visitors wear headphones while they boogied in Fiesta Village on a quiet dance floor to upbeat tunes only they could hear.
KNOT radio DJ’s spun Peanuts records and interviewed special guests along the Knott’s Boardwalk.
The James Street Trio paid tribute to Peanuts music created by the Vince Guaraldi Trio at the patio of the Boardwalk BBQ restaurant.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Knott’s festival without food. The Peanuts Celebration featured more than 40 themed dishes throughout the park. Among the most interesting items on the menu: Woodstock’s Mango Sushi Roll, Linus’ Blondies and Lucy’s Kit Kat Fingers Funnel Cake.
The off-season festival was also a chance for die-hard Knott’s fans to check out construction work happening on the Farm.
Knott’s crews have moved quickly on the new Prop Shop Pizzeria opening this summer in the Memory Lane area of the park. The former Hollywood Hits restaurant has been completely gutted and the old kitchen removed to make room for the new pizzeria.
The fresh paint on the Xcelerator coaster track looked tremendous with warm colors transitioning from red to orange to yellow in the upper reaches of the route before settling on industrial grays along ground level.
Montezooma’s Revenge was still running with a long queue as Knott’s diehards got their last rides in before the historic coaster prepared to close for a year to undergo a major renovation.
The 2021 Peanuts Celebration was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic closure of the park. Knott’s hosted a series of food festivals between July 2020 and May 2021 while theme park rides and attractions were shuttered by California COVID-19 restrictions.