Let freedom ring!
Haunt season is creeping closer each and every day, and right now in the off-season a lot of things are looking up for California’s Great America! If you caught our coverage of Patriot’s opening day, you read about the new investments from the park’s parent company Cedar Fair and the parks successful rezoning with the City of Santa Clara. Great news for Haunt, right>? But what about the other rest of the season? Well, one of the new ventures the park is embracing is the Bay Area’s budding love for craft beer and the craft beer community!
Welcome in the new, Red – White – and Brews festival!
According to the park’s website:
Red, White & Brews, a hometown celebration of Americana food and fun, takes place May 27-29 and June 3-4. Red, White & Brews will bring the Hometown Square area of the park to life with locally sourced food experiences, more than 25 regional craft brews, Northern California wines, Bay Area bands, outdoor games and kids’ entertainment. Plus, fireworks will light the sky at 9:15 pm on May 27-28 and June 3-4!
Sounds awesome right? Well, we couldn’t have been happier to cover this amazing event and when I say amazing, I mean it to the fullest extent of the definition. Now, when a park or venue boasts a new festival with big aspirations like this, we tend to give it’s first-time operations a little leeway as the task can be quite daunting. We are happy to report, that this was not the case here.
The festival’s first day went off without a hitch. Huge kudos go out to the operations team at California’s Great America. The food was tasty, the beers were cold, and the park was clean! No, seriously. With the number of people we saw partaking, Great America must have literally hired ninja’s to join their cleaning crews. We hardly saw or took notice of them, but the proof of their existence is in the work. They get the job done. Peanuts characters were also spread out across the event, playing cornhole with kids and dancing to the many live musical acts. Red, White, and Brews is for the whole family.
We didn’t see any haunt work from our trek around the park, except around the old Pictorium.
This might not actually be work, but left from last season. The area isn’t used during normal park hours, and it is closed to the public. We did catch a survey team working around White Water Falls.
The park already has a popular rapids ride, along with a thrilling log flume. Could this ride close and make way for something new and shiny? We hope so!
After our walk around the park, we took in the Red, White, and Brews festival food for a spin. The highlights for me were the Elotes. To be honest, anytime you can get Elotes at a theme park it’s a win.
The tombstone sliders were also a hit.
The jumbo smoked chicken drums were all but jumbo.
The flavor was great and the meat was tender/fall off the bone, but once we got through the line and received our tasting, we felt a tad let down by its name. What is this? A chicken wing for ants?!
We recommend buying tasting cards and trying all the tasty vittles. Music was also a big part of the festival. The main stage was decked out with a giant LED screen, show lights, and decent sound. We hope to see this utilized for future events.
The stage behind the famous double-decker carousel hosted choir singers, and various acts, while karaoke was available to those brave enough to entertain themselves and the crowd.
The beer selection was diverse. We loved seeing Firestone Walker, Green Flash, and Anchor pouring on such a beautiful day. With a little luck, the festival will continue and grow for future seasons. California’s Great America has a great layout and we would hope to see this festival expand booths to all sides of the park. Maybe seeing more local breweries like Hermitage, Hapa’s, or Alvadrado Street, and Fieldwork join in the fun. One can dream, right?
All in all, we continue to see great things from California’s Great America. For a park who was once thought of as the forgotten stepchild of the Cedar Fair family, we are happy to have the Red, White, and Brews festival added to what looks to be a promising future for the park. Well played!
The event is still going on too! June 3rd and 4th. So, if you have a hankering for music, food, and beer get yourself here!