Back in the days of the Old West, a man named David “the wild man” Elliott, roamed the pleasant streets of Calico.  With his trusty steed Oreo, The Wild Man strode about the town of Calico looking for work.  It was the 1870s and he knew that if he was going to make his way across the country that he would need to find a way to pay for his passage.  At first, he went to the barber, looking for some way to make some money.  Maybe he could shave a few beards so that he could afford the entire trip.  But the barber from Calico was a shady man.  He carried around with himself a bottle of some crazy elixir.  The main ingredient?  It contained a wild berry that was neither Blackberry, Raspberry or Loganberry.  They called it “The Boysenberry.”  This elixir had magical powers.  It created snow from something they called “the atmosphere.”

David wasn’t sure whether he believed in anything called the atmosphere or especially in some supposed elements like Oxygen and Hydrogen.  He knew crazy talk when he heard it.  Besides, David wasn’t ready to believe in any new fangled beliefs like that.  They had just recently proved that the earth was round, and he wasn’t sure whether he could take another shock to the system like that.

From there, David would make his way over to the post office.  If there was any respectable job to be had, he was sure he would see something posted there.  Instead, he ran into some crazy man named Tiny Mayfield.  Tiny was just what you would expect from someone who had that name.  Tiny.  Bearded and befuddled, he tried to hit David up for a job at the Bank.  Evidently, he didn’t know any better as David had just strode into town himself.

Upon asking the bank for a job for both Tiny and himself, David was rebuffed by the bank manager and his wife.  They said they were fresh out of jobs for the moment.  And did I now Tiny well enough to be vouching for him.  I had to reply that I didn’t, which seemed to bring some strange relief to them.  They were strange fellows.  But the misses added that she had heard that the Sherrif was always in search of new blood.  Evidently, there was some sort of posse forming.  Not that David knew what a posse was, or even how he would begin forming one.  But it sounded cool.

Upon arriving at the Sherriff’s office there sat man behind a table playing cards.  There were three of them actually, but only one could have been the Sherriff.  One could see his gray beard peeking out from behind his cards.  Aside from that David knew that he best not be getting in the Sherriff’s way when he was playing poker.  It was an intense game.

When the game was over, David inquired with the Sherriff if he had any work.  While he did not, he did mention a few particulars.  One, there might be work to be had with the pony express or the newspaper office.  While the newspaper man looked shifty, the fact that only 50 percent of the pony express riders survived did convince “the wild man,” that writing words was a more honorable profession, even from someone as shifty as a man who called himself, “the editor.”  (Who calls themselves “the editor” anyway?  “The wild man” makes sense.  It has a certain ring to it.  But “the editor’?!?!  Whose leg was he trying to pull anyway?)

Of course, the editor seemed to believe in “the law” and” the rules.”  So that meant that David would first need to become a citizen of Calico.  But David wondered allowed how long that would take.  “The editor” informed David that it could be done in a couple of minutes by swearing with your right hand raised and writing your name in a book.  Evidently, the law took care of things quickly there.  Either that or right hands had a lot of power in Calico.  David was going to have to think about that for a while and ponder.

Don’t forget the great meal plans they have at Knott’s!

And ponder he did, with his trusty sidekick B and their good horse Oreo.  They pondered.  Then they pondered.  And they pondered some more.  And then they ate barbecued chicken and a steak sandwich.  Because no one can do that much ponderin’ on an empty stomach.  It ain’t right.  It ain’t decent.  But soon after that, they were on the trail to get more work but they first had to stop off to see the Mayor of Calico for that Book signing ceremony.  And then they called you something like citizen and such.  David wasn’t sure whether he liked the word.  He would have to try it on a spell before he could take to being such a person.

But the town seemed to be in a tizzy.  Evidently, some relative of Tiny’s named Ox was coming into town.  They had arrested him for robbing a train.  Or holding up a train.  Or maybe just for being a stranger on a train.  David wasn’t sure.  But Ox sounded downright crazy.  So David “the wild man” Elliott knew that he was in good company.  And so David became a Mayfield and the Mayfields escaped and they lived happily ever after.  The end.

What do you mean wait?  It’s my story.  Don’t I have a right to stick to it?  I don’t?  That’s not the truth as you see it?  Well, what do you see as the truth?  You mean living behind bars and having to wear iron cuffs on your wrists wasn’t living happily ever after?  Darnit!  Dagnabit! Gee wilikers! (That’s cussing in Old Western.)  You say that isn’t how you see things at all.  And that you would one day dance on the grave of Ox Mayfield and Gang.  After you discovered who this Raven fellow was first, of course.  Well, let’s just agree to disagree until the next time we meet at Ghost Town Alive at Knott’s Berry Farm.

It’s Ghost Town Alive At Knott’s Berry Farm

Welcome guiders to another crazy edition of the Guide.  It’s here where we discuss the facts as they are.  Or how we see them.  Or maybe how we would dream them up to be.  And today we will be discussing the newest or sort of newest thing to come along at Knott’s Berry Farm.

History of Knott’s Berry Farm

Actually, it’s really the second year of the event.  Knott’s seems to be trying to make more of an effort to be interactive with its guests and give their guests more than just a cheap thrill.  While they will never be Disney, they do have one thing that Disney will be able to beat them at.  History!  Knott’s is the oldest theme park in North America.  Created by Walter Knott to help deal with the tourist traffic at his Berry Farm, this place has grown up around the farm since the 1940s.  Starting with an Old Ghost Town and proceeding from there, Knott’s has been a historical landmark from the get go.

Many were reticent when Walter passed on and the family decided to sell the property to other interests.  They feared that the corporation would gut the section of the park that was such an essential part of their growing up experience.  Walter Knott was all about history they shouted.  And they feared that selling to a corporation would be the eradication of it.

Cedar Fair Carries On The Tradition

Thankfully, with the advent of this new annual event, the corporation who purchased Knott’s has proved that they are as much vested in the History of the great park as the next person.  With major events like the Boysenberry Festival and Knott’s Scary Farm, Knott’s has added Ghost Town Alive to its yearly experiences that make Knott’s such a unique Southern California Treasure.

There are so many great things to see and do here it would be hard to list them all.  So I am going to list our top five experiences from Knott’s Ghost Town Alive!

Top Five Ghost Town Alive Experiences –

5) Interaction With All Of The Different Characters –

You get to be part of the day and get involved with all of the different characters. And they never break character all day long.  I was very impressed with that.

4) The End Of The Day Hoedown –

All of the townspeople get together and they put on a hoedown.  The cool thing is that they teach you how to do all of the dances.  My daughter has a blast.

3) The Great Bank Robbery –

Given the condition of the Bank, I was never quite sure that anyone’s money would be safe at the Bank of Calico.  And you can be there as the Mayfield’s prepare to take down the bank.  From casing the joint earlier in the day to the actual robbery, it’s fun to be caught up in it all, including a gunfight at the end.

2) The Interactive Events-

They have all kinds of events going on at Calico throughout the day.  This means Pony Express Races, poker tournaments, shooting competitions, etc.  As you get involved with the characters throughout the day, they will be sure to let you know about when the various different events will be held.  And the crazy thing is, they really do run a tight ship.  Everything pretty much runs exactly on time.  So find out the days events at the beginning of the day and be there to participate.



1) The Choose Your Own Adventure Nature Of The Day –

The greatest thing about the day is that you can move in and out of the things you want to participate in.  Whether it’s delivering packages, making sure to get your mustache trimmed at the barber shop, helping out the Sherriff with his duties, capturing the latest stories for the newspaper, voting for the town Sherriff or Mayor, riding the Pony Express, and much more, the opportunities are endless.  You can get to involve yourself as much or as little as you want in each of the adventures.  The more you participate, the more giveaways you can get.  My daughter was pinned, Deputy.  And it’s no small pin.  It’s probably sturdier than anything Knott’s sells in its gift shops.  That was her adventure for the day.

Continue The Conversation

So what things are you looking forward to in Ghost Town Alive?  What is your favorite part of the Old West when you have studied it?  And if you could go back to any place in time, where would it be?  I don’t know that I would go back to the Old West, but it would be quite amazing.  There is more than a little irony that we would be in the Old West with my daughter who is actually related to the real outlaw Jesse James.  Maybe her becoming Deputy is making up for past family misdeeds. W ho knows?  It’s all in good fun and definitely worth the adventure.

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Until next time, Yee! Haw!

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life