Thursday, December 26, 2019

Vintage Knott's Berry Farm Souvenir Book Pt. 1

A few years ago, I picked up this old Knott's Berry Farm souvenir book on eBay for cheap. Calling this a book is a stretch, as it is really more of a 30-page, oversized pamphlet. However, this book is a very nice throwback to the park's early days that I'm sure some of my readers will enjoy! Having never visited Knott's, there's only so much that I can say on these pictures, but I'm sure that there will be some people who will be happy to chime in with some of their personal thoughts. Of course, you can click on each image for a larger view.
The cover features this dusty street, complete with prospector and mule. The Ghost Town Railroad billows steam in the background.
The book opens with a word of thanks and welcome from Walter Knott himself and also reveals that the book was put together by a "Mr. Matt Gibson."
A lengthy essay on the Knott's origin story starts the large historical section of the book; I wish theme parks always paid tribute to their roots so completely in this way! The invention of the Boysenberry is briefly overviewed, as well.

 This "then and now" section provides a brief timeline of the farm's first 30 years or so as a roadside attraction, starting with as a simple berry stand, progressing through the famous chicken dinners...
Hooray for the farm's 900 employees!

...into the start of Ghost Town. Given that "today" comes right after 1946, this book is definitely from the 1950s. I wonder if it might even pre-date Disneyland?
It's obvious that Knott's was a business heavily focused on their roots and family origins at this time. What other park devotes a two-stage spread in their souvenir book to the family members of its owners? Certainly not Disney.
Of note is how the book breaks down which family member heads what division of operations. With such a large family, there has to still be some Knotts out there, I assume?!
The section on "Markets and Gift Shops" includes lots of large color photos. According to the Knott's website, a shop still carries the name of the Berry Market outside the park today.

Virginia's Gift Shop apparently survives today in some form too. I hope they still carry gag gifts!
Of course, the Knott's don't miss an opportunity to promote their gift baskets in the book. I love Santa with his cowboy hat and stagecoach full of gifts. 
 Here's a bonus: blog reader "TokyoMagic!" was kind enough to share some recent souvenirs that Knott's has put out with the "Santa and stagecoach" artwork.
This is a Christmas card with story of the art included. It's great that Knott's has souvenirs like this! Thanks again to TokyoMagic!

There will be two more parts of this Knott's souvenir book in the future! We haven't even gotten to the good stuff yet. I hope that you enjoyed my first go at scanning some old amusement park memorabilia and that you had a good Christmas.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Kennywood's Holiday Lights

Kennywood, my "home" amusement park in Pittsburgh, does a Christmas light display every year. I haven't visited since 2015, but I still have some nice pictures to share!

Titled "Holiday Lights" here, these displays have been popping up at parks all over the country in the past few years - they're a great way to extend the season by several weekends. Kennywood has been doing theirs since 2011.

 Kennywood doesn't run any of its roller coasters during the event, but there are some smaller flat rides, like the Paratrooper, Carousel, and Pirate, available.
This giant snowman is not an inflatable!
 This "tunnel" of lights is one of the first things you see when you enter the park, but I took this shot at the end of the night when everyone had left.
 There's a miniature train layout, of course with a miniature amusement park; it even features a model of Kennywood's own Thunderbolt as well as a working replica of the Turtle!
 Almost every lightbulb is changed in the park to Christmas colors, and lots of trees are wrapped in strings of lights. It must take quite an effort to transition between Halloween and this so quickly.
 The state's largest Christmas tree is a sight to behold - 90 feet tall!
Thanks for reading, have a great Christmas, and don't forget the reason for the season! I'm hoping to maybe visit Kings Dominion in Virginia's Winterfest by the end of December, so lookout for a possible post from that.