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Knott's Offers Chance to Take Home a House

June 04, 1986|BRUCE HOROVITZ | Times Staff Writer

A Knott's Berry Farm visitor will soon go home with a $75,000 house--on the house.

Spurred by competition from rival Disneyland, which has given away a car a day for the last year, the Buena Park theme park has opted to up the ante by giving away a new home.

The three bedroom, pre-manufactured home--to be provided by Golden West Homes Inc., a Santa Ana housing manufacturer--will come fully furnished, along with a one-year land lease, said Stuart Zanville, Knott's director of public relations.

"Not only are we giving away a house," said Zanville, "but we're giving away everything in it--including the kitchen sink." Park officials have dubbed it "The Great American Giveaway."

Knott's is believed to be the nation's first theme park to give away a home. The winner will have the option of a $10,000 cash prize instead of the home, Zanville said.

Unlike the daily Disneyland giveaways, the Knott's drawing for a home will be a one-shot deal. Park visitors--or visitors to the Knott's Marketplace area--can enter the contest as often as they wish. "People can stop by every day on their way to work," Zanville said. "They don't even have to enter the park."

The Knott's giveaway house will be on display in the park from next week until it is given away at a drawing at the park Aug. 5. Park visitors will be encouraged to walk through the 1,420-square-foot home.

Prize giveaways have recently gained wider appeal among amusement parks because they help boost attendance at a moderate cost, industry consultants and executives say. It is far more economical to attract more visitors by giving away prizes than by constructing new, multimillion-dollar rides.

Knott's plans to begin pitching the prize home on a series of television commercials. Golden West is giving the house to Knott's free because of the massive exposure that the sweepstakes is expected to generate, said Gregg Brown, Golden West's director of sales. More than 1 million people are expected to tour the home over the next two months.

The other summer giveaway, at Disneyland, was recently extended through Sept. 6, according to park spokesman Joe Aguirre. The total value of Disneyland's prizes, at $25 million, far exceeds the Knott's sweepstakes value. Disneyland is giving away a Pontiac Firebird every day, along with RCA television sets, PSA airline tickets, video cassette recorders, and smaller prizes such as ice cream bars and bags of popcorn.

Disneyland customer surveys have shown that the giveaways have attracted new business to the park, Aguirre said. "When you give away prizes, they become attractions in themselves."

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