Oh K! Iconic Knott's Berry Farm Neon to Glow on in Glendale

The giant "K," formerly seen atop the Buena Park theme park's Sky Tower, will soon be on view at the Museum of Neon Art.

Knott's Berry Farm/MONA

What to Know

  • The Museum of Neon Art in Glendale has acquired the giant K that was displayed atop Knott's Berry Farm's famous Sky Tower from 1976-2020
  • The 20-foot-tall letter was installed in 1976; it was recently replaced by a new "K-shaped LED screen" in honor of the theme park's centennial
  • The 5,000-pound neon letter, easily seen from both the 91 and 5 Freeways, became a beloved symbol of the historical theme park

While neon can exert a powerful shine, and detecting a distant motel or diner sign from a dark highway is a time-honored road-tripping tradition, it just isn't possible to spot neon's distinctive illumination from 30 miles away.

But a certain celebrated neon artwork will now glow on some 30 or so miles from where it famously held high-in-the-sky sway over several decades, adding a bright bridge, of sorts, between Buena Park and Glendale.

It's a single-letter'd sign we're paying tribute to, the "K" that topped the 200-foot-tall Sky Tower and Sky Jump parachute ride at Knott's Berry Farm for 44 years.

The year when the switch first flipped on this luminous installation? It was 1976. Bicentennial celebrations were in the air, as was the giant K, which was unveiled when the Roaring 20's airfield opened at Knott's Berry Farm.

The 20-foot-tall yellow K could long be seen from both the 91 and 5 Freeways, making it one of the first exciting sights for people traveling to the Buena Park destination for a day filled with rides, shows, and boysenberry treats.

But a new "K-shaped LED screen" was recently lifted to the top of the tower, in honor of the historical theme park's 100th anniversary. Meaning a new chapter was about to be written for the neon K, the one that had become a thrilling beacon to generations of Southern Californian families.

That new future will glimmer brightly in Glendale, home to the Museum of Neon Art. The museum announced on Oct. 13 that it acquired the colossal K, and that it is "the tallest neon sign to enter MONA's collection to date."

The neon K also weighs in at an impressive 5,000 pounds.

An official unveiling date is still to come, as are details about how and where the museum will display this vintage slice of Orange County neon nostalgia.

"My earliest memories of neon signs can be traced to the shops and attractions of Knott's Roaring 20's-themed landscape," shared Eric Lynxwiler, neon and Knott's Berry Farm historian.

"I only recognized in my adulthood that my interest in neon and the history of Knott's Berry Farm combined in that one glowing era of my youth when a trip to Knott's Berry Farm not only meant great food and roller coasters, but also magnificent neon signs."

"I can name almost every neon sign in the colorful Roaring 20's, but today we only have this one enormous survivor, the neon K from atop the Sky Tower. Massive cannot describe it! And I'm overjoyed that the Museum of Neon Art can be a caretaker for this icon of Buena Park and Southern California's beloved theme park."

To see the new LED screen, the one shaped like a K, rising to the top of the Sky Tower, check out the video below.

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