Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Walter and Cordelia Knott Would Not Be Happy

By Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

One of my favorite and scariest rides at my favorite childhood amusement park, Knott's Berry Farm, was the Ghost Town Train ride.

It was a steam engine that ran a circuit from the middle of the Knott's Ghost Town to the outside of the park.  That was the fun part.

The scary part was they had train robbers dressed in black come on and do a faux train robbery.

When you see it happen for the first time as a child and you see these big burly guys with one weeks growth of stubble on their face dressed all in black with guns start robbing the train...well, it is a little frightening.

But the fact is, after the first time, and it didn't matter how many times I saw it happen, I still was a little bit scared when I would anticipate those bad guys showing up.  Even though I knew that they were going to lose.

This is how I feel this week about another part of Knotts Berry Farm that we lost.

I guess, like the Train Ride Robbery, I saw it coming but still I can't help being a little upset.

When Walter and Cordelia Knott started Knott's Berry Farm in the 1920's it really was a Berry Farm.  It  was Walter that would grow Berries, developing the Boysenberry, and it was Cordelia who would make jams and preserves and pies and sell them to travelers on the side of the road.

Then Walter and Cordelia opened up the Chicken Dining Room and Cordelia and her staff would serve the most delicious Down Home feasts you can imagine.  It was a wonderful stop for the weary traveler going through the Southern California area.

Walter next opened up his amusement part starting with a replica of an old Ghost Town and the rest, as they say is history.

But I remember family friends coming from all over the country and the first thing they would always do is head over to Knott's Berry Farm for a Dinner at the Chicken Dining Room and to buy some of the  Knott's Berry Farm Jams and Preserves to take back home with them.

Those jams and preserves with the iconic Knott's logo on them were famous.

Like I said, I saw it coming.

First a company from the Midwest took over majority ownership.  They started marketing the park as a destination for Roller Coaster riders.

Then they spun off the Knott's Food Services Division which made the preserves and jams, among other thing and sold it to Con-Agra who then sold it to Smuckers...you know "With a name like Smuckers...it's gotta be good" people?

Except Smuckers this week was not that good and decided to drop the name Knott's from all of the jams and replace it with the Smuckers Brand.

Like the Twinkie, pretty soon you won't be able to buy any Knott's Berry Farm jams and preserves anywhere. Not even at the Knott's Berry Farm Amusement Park.  And that my friends is not a good thing.  A piece of a lot of people's child hood has been quietly taken away.

I keep hoping this is a big marketing ploy from the Smuckers people.  Like remember when Coke came out with "New Coke" and  there was so much of an uproar they had to bring the Classic Coke back?

Maybe if enough of us complain they will bring Knott's Berry Farm Pure Boysenberry Preserves back.

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