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No More Halloween Glitches, Knott's Promises

Events: Spokesman says steps will prevent turning away of patrons from fright-themed promotion.

October 13, 2000|From a Times Staff Writer

Knott's Berry Farm, forced to turn away dozens of patrons who had purchased advance tickets to its jam-packed Halloween Haunt, said Thursday that it has taken steps to avoid future glitches.

When the event appears headed for a sellout, the park will cut off ticket sales to walk-up patrons so that those who purchased advance tickets can get in, a spokesman said. Knott's also will put up "sold out" signs along the streets.

Because the park was packed to capacity, latecomers to the fright-themed event Saturday night were denied admission, including some who had purchased tickets in advance to be picked up at the will-call windows. Those advance-ticket buyers, who numbered fewer than 100, were given refunds or tickets for another night, park spokesman Bob Ochsner said.

Knott's also will work more closely with companies that sell Halloween Haunt tickets to employees to ensure the firms comply when Knott's asks them to cut off sales.

Ticket sales by dozens of companies, as well as cheaper tickets for the first weekend of the event, may have contributed to the situation Saturday night, Ochsner said.

"We underestimated the number of tickets already sold out there," Ochsner said. "We will make sure it doesn't happen again."

More than 100 Southern California companies sell Knott's tickets to their workers in a promotional program with the Buena Park amusement park.

This is the 28th year that Knott's has held Halloween-themed nights, special events that have been emulated by parks across the nation, including Los Angeles-area competitors like Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain.

What began as a single night has become a more than three-week spree featuring scary mazes, shows and rides decked out Halloween-style.

For the first weekend, Knott's offered cheaper tickets than the rest of the month--$26 for an advance ticket instead of $35, and $28 for a walk-up ticket versus $40.

Ochsner also pointed out that competing parks have yet to begin their Halloween events.

"In the past, demand for first-weekend tickets hasn't been that great," he said.

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