Would you attend a sold-out food festival at a theme park right now?

Illustration for article titled Would you attend a sold-out food festival at a theme park right now?
Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images (Getty Images)

One of the great challenges of the pandemic has been how to gauge safety in the absence of guidance and enforcement from people in positions of authority. A good portion of us seem to be doing the best we can with balancing a life stuck at home against the risks of going out to eat, shop, and exercise. But then there’s a whole other group of people who thought, hey, we live in one of the states with the greatest proportion of COVID cases, so let’s go to a theme park for a sold-out food festival, because what could possibly go wrong?

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The event in question is the “Taste of Knott’s craft beer and food event,” which the Orange County Register (OCR) reports is being held at the Knott’s Berry Farm Amusement Park and Theme Park in Buena Park, California. For those not familiar, Knott’s Berry Farm is a 57-acre amusement park complex complete with a replica ghost town, water slides, hotel, and a chicken-dinner-themed restaurant. While the park’s attractions and rides are closed it would seem that the park itself is not.

This isn’t the first time this summer that Knott’s Berry Farm is holding a food festival either. According to the OCR and the amusement park’s own website, Knott’s is holding an ongoing event of a similar nature called the “Taste of Calico,” which it describes as an “all-new, limited-time outdoor dining and retail experience” set in the manufactured ghost town.

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While Knott’s Berry Farm does have a section of its website dedicated to COVID safety, the Taste of Knott’s event page doesn’t specify how many tickets are being sold, or what the current total capacity of the park is. Really, though, regardless of how many people are allowed in, this seems like an event with ample opportunity for things to go wrong, and it’s sort of shocking that Knott’s was given the permits to allow these events to occur when so many other food festivals nationwide have been canceled (either because local restrictions demanded it or because the organizers made the call independently). Would you attend a sold-out food festival in a theme park at the new height of the pandemic?

Jacob Dean is a food and travel writer and psychologist based in New York. He likes beer, less traveled airports, and is allergic to grasshoppers (the insect, not the mixed drink.)

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DISCUSSION

No I would not. Those craft beer festivals are always full of the worst smug snobs, and my frayed patience and temper makes me in no mood for putting up with them for a few subpar, badly seasoned, and wrongly marinated, bits of chicken.

Also the raging pandemic, but mainly due to the clientele.