Historical Walking Tours: Tours of Ghost Town and Grand Avenue will be given by historian Phil Brigandi and Chris Jepsen of the Orange County Archives (that'd be me) throughout the day, beginning at 8:45am.
Book Signing: From 10am to noon, (in the oldest room of Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant,) Chris Merritt and J. Eric Lynxweiler will sign their still-warm-off-the-presses book about Knott's history, entitled, Knott's Preserved. I've seen a color proof and it is both beautiful and incredibly well-researched. Also on hand to sign will be the head of Imagineering for Disneyland, Tony Baxter, who wrote the book's introduction
Historical Presentation: Author Chris Merritt will discuss the history of Knott's in a special presentation inside the Bird Cage Theater. I saw Chris give a version of this talk a few years ago, and it was outstanding. He has lots of great images, and over 15 years of serious research to draw on.
Dinner at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant: A buffet dinner will be served at this 75-year-old, iconic restaurant. (And yes, "buffet" means you can help yourself to some extra cherry rhubarb if you want it, Phil.)
Evening Panel Discussion: After dinner, we'll return to the Birdcage Theater for a panel discussion featuring the following former Knott's designers and employees:
- Dean Davisson: head of Knott’s Public Relations from 1958 to 1976.
- John Waite: former Bud Hurlbut employee who did the earliest Halloween Haunt theming in the Calico Mine Ride and Log Ride.
- Eddie Sotto: Designer of the Wacky Soap Box Racers.
- Rolly and Chris Crump: Designers of Knott’s Bear-y Tales.
The morning book signing event is open to the public, but you'll need an event ticket to attend the rest of the day's events. You can download the pdf flyer/ticket order/book order form from Merritt's website, or read his blog for further details.
Merritt writes, "Apologies that you have to fax in your order - I really don’t have control over how Knott’s is processing the tickets. And please, if you do want to go, order the tickets soon. The Bird Cage Theatre only seats 230, so I feel confident that we will sell this small, but important event out quickly. If you have further questions, you can drop me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org."
Your $55 ticket will also get you into the park, so you'll be able to enjoy some classic rides and attractions between the day's special events.
Hope to see you there!
(For the record: No, I am not being paid by Knott's or Chris Merritt or Angel City Press. And I already bought my Knott's annual pass back in January. Also, I will be paying for my own dinner. For me, this is all about spending a great day sharing Knott's history with people. )