The Bird Cage Theatre: Spirit of the Season

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The Old Trails Hotel was Walter Knotts first Ghost Town building. Built in 1868, it was decaying in an actual ghost town near Prescott, Arizona, when Knott discovered it, trucked it to Buena Park and made it the venue for his first attraction: a 50-foot-long, 20-foot-high cyclorama re-enacting the covered-wagon journey his mother and her family took to get to California. The Silver Dollar Saloon, one of the other spots in Ghost Town that features live performances, isnt authentic; it was built for the park in 1940. But it serves real beer, which makes it a site of profound importance.

For over a half-century, the Bird Cage Theatre has staged annual holiday productions at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park. Sure, it might not be a glitzy, polished Disneyland production, or even what any average theme park would ever feature--but that's the beauty in it. Read the accompanying story byJoel Beers here. All photos by Sean Teegarden.