Backyard Bands and BBQ at California’s Great America

Byron: We were invited by California’s Great America to come experience the all-new Backyard Bands and BBQ event this past weekend, and it was an absolute delight. From delicious food to live music,  the event provides a unique and relaxing atmosphere that we hope to see return in the future. Below we’ll detail what specifically we liked about it and how it fits into the new identity this park is creating for itself.

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My first impressions of the event when I entered the area were mixed. It is quite small, or at least it seems that way. There is one food location and one drinks location. This initially seemed underwhelming in contrast to the half a dozen or so found at the parks other food events. 

That being said, the way this event is set up is far different than Taste of Orleans or Red White and Brews. Rather than purchasing a tasting card which allows you items from various booths as they hole punch each item, Backyard Bands and BBQ utilizes a cash system just like any other food location around the park.

The one food booth has much more extensive offerings than one booth at, say, Taste of Orleans.  As you can see, the menu features some rather unique and exciting items compared to standard theme park food. 

The options are on the pricier side, but they justify their price in both quantity and quality. The Railblazer BBQ Pork Shank, for example, came with a vinegar based coleslaw and two large pork ribs. 

The LA Hotlink, however, was my personal favorite food item. I’m originally from Los Angeles and this certainly reminded me of the very same stuff roaming street vendors sell from their hot dog carts in downtown.  The meat was spicy and the peppers were fresh and crisp. I recommend the LA hotlink strongly. 

The food tastes great on the whole, and that’s for a reason. Everything is grilled up right in front of you, adding to its overall feel and authenticity. 

10 Barrel Brewing Co offered a wide variety of drinks. Coke products and bottled water were available for purchase. In addition, they had four beers on tap; Blue Moon, Modelo Lagunitas, and a local IPA by 21st Amendment Brewery in San Fransisco. 

Moving on from the BBQ to the bands, the park set up a temporary stage for the live music and had a few different bands providing entertainment throughout the day. 

The music generally was better than I expected it to be. It seems like the park went out of their way to get some interesting and unique sounds from Jazz to soul. 

In addition, there is a games section in which guests can enjoy playing giant classics such as checkers, connect four, and cornhole. 

I have to say, the overall atmosphere of this event was lively but relaxing, They hit the nail on the head with the family cookout vibes. Being able to sit in a big lawn chair and enjoy live music while drinking a local craft beer is not an experience a lot of parks offer. 

Events like this give the park a little more heart. It’s something memorable and fun for families to do and it gives all guests a reason to revisit the park other than a new ride. Between this, Taste of Orleans, and Red White and Brews, the parks line up of non-holiday special events has blossomed over the past few years. I hope to see even further expansion in years to come as they provide different guest experiences making California’s Great America more than a once a year stop for locals. 

Thanks so much for reading. Make sure to check out our most recent Six Flags Magic Mountain Update as well our Knott’s Berry Farm update from just last week. Look out for more of our content from Great America in the near future, but for now, let us know what you think about the seasonal events at the park in the comments below. Thanks again, catch you guys next time.

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