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Jon Cooke Steps Down from Knott’s Berry Farm, Launching Brand-New Horror Attraction

The interwebs are buzzing, and the word is quickly spreading like wildfire through Southern California’s haunt community. After 13 years at Knott’s Berry Farm, Jon Cooke has stepped down from his daily position there as a designer, and has been working quietly on a brand-new horror experience in a nondescript industrial building in Upland, California, which will open its doors to the curious public in the weeks ahead.

Recently, we paid a visit to Jon’s new venture and stepped into his world – a highly-immersive escape experience/haunted attraction he’s named MurderCo: An R-Rated Horror Experience. MurderCo is an ambitious haunt-escape room hybrid that is going to thrill the hell out of SoCal fans looking for the next big deal.

Before we look ahead at what Jon Cooke is about to unleash on the Southland, it’s important to acknowledge his departure from Knott’s, and what it means to events such as Scary Farm; it’s the elephant in the room that everyone is buzzing about, so we would be remiss not to discuss that a bit. The good news is, it’s not a bleak as some are assuming.

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Lunar New Year 2018 Delivers a Kung Fu Panda-Packed Festival at Universal Studios Hollywood

Seasonal events at theme parks everywhere are big business. Lunar New Year 2018 at Universal Studios Hollywood is no exception, and this year’s festival is by far, the finest we’ve ever seen USH produce.

Lunar New Year in general is short – a two-week celebration that is highly-concentrated and pretty much completely contained within the Universal Plaza area on the park’s Upper Lot, although the main entrance of Universal Studios Hollywood also features hanging red lanterns – a hallmark of Lunar New Year festivities around the world.

Visiting Universal’s event this year was extra interesting for me personally, as I spent last week in Beijing, China, where the real Lunar New Year 2018 festival is underway. Normally, you’d assume that theme park versions of these age-old festivals are in a way, cheesy and “plastic” Westernized overlays, geared toward making extra revenue for the parks. I’ve got to say, Universal Studios Hollywood’s Lunar New Year festival is as legit as anything I saw during my travels through Asia; I am really impressed.

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The Cauldron Casts a Spell on Buena Park

Southern California is dense with bars, gastropubs, speakeasies, lounges and taverns. However, no one has quite seen anything like The Cauldron Spirits & Brews, which has officially opened in Buena Park, directly across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm.

A long-time dream of owner Lara Hanneman, The Cauldron is unique in that it’s an upscale bar setting wrapped up in an environment one would expect to find in a haunted house maze at Knott’s Scary Farm. That’s no surprise, as Lara worked at Knott’s for over two decades, ultimately becoming the park’s Creative Director, overseeing all aspects of Halloween Haunt and the property in general throughout the years. For Haunt fans, it is a familiar environment – like stepping inside the event’s now-famous Trick or Treat maze for the evening to enjoy cocktails and food. For guests not familiar with Lara’s past or Knott’s Scary Farm, it’s a walk on the slightly spooky side – without any gore or anyone jumping out of the shadows; it’s a moody, dimly-lit immersive experience that speaks to all ages.

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Universal Studios Hollywood Announces First-Ever EVE Celebration to Ring in the New Year

One of the biggest nights of the year – New Year’s Eve – just got bigger in Los Angeles! Universal Studios Hollywood has just announced its brand-new EVE celebration, the perfect way to count down the last hours of 2017, and ring in the first of 2018 throughout the theme park.

Guests enjoying Universal Studios Hollywood have the entire day and evening to experience its world-class attractions and shows, including Grinchmas as well as Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which features the brand-new Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle show every 20 minutes or so after dark. At 9pm, EVE begins, radiating throughout the park from three unique entertainment hubs as DJs and live entertainment mark the final hours of 2017.

EVE’s three uniquely-themed party zones will be found throughout the theme park – at Universal Plaza, just steps away from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter; Simpsons Plaza, in front of The Simpsons Ride; and an area adjacent to Jurassic Park: The Ride down in the Lower Lot. As the final moments of 2017 slip through the hourglass, and the clock strikes 2018, the festivities culminate with a spectacular fireworks display.

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Knott’s Scary Farm 2017 – A Spectacle 45 Years in the Making

The screams and thrills of Halloween may have faded into the fog, but the memories of Knott’s Scary Farm 2017 linger here, as we continue to reflect on the amazing experiences we had this past season. Our videos from Haunt 2017 have been up on our YouTube channel for weeks – but we definitely have photos and thoughts to share, as fellow fans.

I’ll start by saying what everyone already knows and what we’ve been saying since September – Knott’s Scary Farm 2017 was absolutely stunning on all fronts. This “review” is going to be a love letter to the Haunt and the folks behind it, past and present.

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