Holidays in Branson are a very special time of the year. There are Christmas shows of a wide variety that everyone will enjoy.
Our live entertainment shows help to carry the season’s traditions to you and your family. Make sure to check out some of the great holiday performances happening around town!
What’s better than a show featuring the world’s largest performing family? Celebrating Christmas with them as well! Filled with love, music, laughter and a surprise visit from Santa, there is a reason that this show has been awarded the “Best Christmas Show” seven times.
During November and December at the Sight & Sound Theatre you can witness the event that is at the heart of the Christmas season. Performed on a panoramic stage that includes live animals, amazing special effects, gifted songwriting and spectacular acting, the “Miracle of Christmas” comes alive. It is one Christmas performance you will not want to miss.
Do you want a show that will leave lasting memories? Look no further than the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center and celebrate Christmas with the stars! Join special guests The Osmonds, Lennons and 5th Dimension as they pay tribute to “Mr. Christmas” himself, Andy Williams.
Returning for its 13th season, Christmas on the Trail Chuckwagon Dinner Show has become one of the most beloved holiday experiences in Branson. Cozy up with your family around the campfire and enjoy a hearty Christmas dinner at the Pavilion Theatre. No holiday complete without music, poems and stories and you will find plenty of them when you spend Christmas on the Trail.
The King’s Castle Theatre is host to one of the largest holiday productions in all of Branson. This show rings in the Christmas season with high-energy dancing, elaborate costumes, beautiful scenery and the highest kicking chorus girls this side of the North Pole. It is an unforgettable journey filled with all of your favorite holiday classics.
The Little Opry Theater presents a nostalgic musical comedy filled with faith, family and old fashioned fun. It is a heart-wrenching story that will fill your soul with laughter as well. Join in the sentimental journey that is truly something you do not want to miss.
By: Eric Boston @EricBoston3
Summer Winds Resorts and Chick-fil-A will be partnering up this holiday season to add the 1st Annual Branson Festival of Trees to the growing list of holiday festivities throughout the region. This new event, which will be taking place November 4 – December 10, will be hosted at the Branson Landing.
Not only will visitors be able to stroll the boardwalk of the Branson Landing and tour an impressive collection of elaborately decorated Christmas trees and wreaths, but those very items will be for sale! There is one very good reason to consider purchasing your tree from the Festival of Trees this year…proceeds from this sale of trees and wreaths will benefit Christian Action Ministries, a food pantry and mobile food outreach that helps those in need throughout Taney County.
Since 1984, CAM has been assisting the Branson area to face the issue of food insecurity. Just last year, more than 38,000 people received assistance from the Branson and Forsyth Pantries as well as the Mobile Distribution headquartered in eastern Taney County.
The Christmas spirit is about much more than presents and lights – it is also a time to care for those who may be going through a season of struggle, experiencing difficulties to make ends meet. Through the Festival of Trees, you can join Summer Winds Resorts and Chick-Fil-A in supporting Christian Action Ministries and the thousands of people who will be impacted this year.
The Festival of Trees will include other activities as well – enjoy milk & cookies with Santa, listen to and perhaps sing along with Christmas carolers, and even participate in special appearances by the Chick-fil-A cow!
The Branson Festival of Trees will begin on November 4 continuing through December 10.
Schedules and updates are available at the official Festival of Trees website here.
Admission to this inaugural event is completely free! So bring your friends and family along to get into the spirit of the holidays with Branson Landing, Chick-fil-A and Summer Winds Resorts.
If you, or your organization, would like to participate or become a sponsor of the Branson Festival of Trees, select from several different levels of sponsorship by following this link: Click for Sponsership
Branson is home to America’s largest annual celebration honoring America’s veterans and active military servicemen and women of all service branches.
Every year, thousands of veterans and active military personnel unite in Branson where the entire community participates in giving back to those who serve. With the core value of patriotism supporting the foundation of the municipal Community Plan 2030, visitors find a variety of exhibits throughout the city demonstrating our commitment to honor those who serve and protect our homeland.
The annual Veterans Week celebration in Branson draws thousands of veterans where they participate in a multitude of events, reunions, parades and special recognition ceremonies across the Ozarks. From the Veteran’s Memorial Gardens where the City of Branson in partnership with Silver Dollar City and memorial founder Ben Kimmel placed a 12-man military statue to demonstrate our gratitude to those who fought for our freedom in Vietnam, to the newly completed ‘Liberty Plaza’ city park in Historic Downtown Branson that pays tribute to all military branches throughout its landscape; the Missouri Veterans Memorial located on the campus of College of the Ozarks to the Veterans Memorial Museum that proudly displays more than 2,000 artifacts dating back to WW1 along with its newest exhibit – the very Huey UH-1C Huey Gunship (endearingly named ‘The Bandit’ by its pilot) that was flown with the 118th Thunderbirds during Vietnam – and displays more than 2,000 artifacts and combat icons dating back to World War 1; or the demonstration of American pride wherein Veterans are openly recognized and saluted by entertainers and audiences throughout the entertainment district and at special flag-raising ceremonies at Silver Dollar City Attractions, to the gathering of thousands of spectators and participants during the Veterans Day Parade held every November 11 at 11:00AM.
According to Tom Newman, Chief Operating Officer of Summer Winds Resorts, LLC, “It is the mutual duty, honor and privilege of our city to maintain awareness of the courage and bravery of America’s defenders – our stewards of freedom. We are committed to continuing to recognize those who gave all, and those who place their lives on the line to protect the rights we enjoy as American citizens.” Beginning November 5 and running through November 11, our Veterans and active military personnel will once again have the opportunity to participate in a multitude of events designed especially to honor the work of these heroes. Ballparks of America is the new home of the annual Veterans Village where our military guests will enjoy the outpouring of Ozark Mountain hospitality including food, shopping, reunions and special ceremonies in their honor where Branson residents and businesses serve those who currently serve or have served our great country. Literally everywhere you go in Branson, you will find that citizens of Branson are dedicated to encourage and foster patriotism and provide recognition to all Veterans for their courage and willingness to serve.
We’ve compiled a schedule of events taking place across the community and invite all visitors to participate. Stormy Point Village and Choose Branson continue to also do their part to honor our Veterans with special discounts and events which can be found on Facebook at Facebook.com/StormyPointVillage and Facebook.com/Choose.Branson. Check back often as new events and stories covering Veterans Week 2017 will be updated regularly!
VETERANS WEEK 2017 (see entire schedule of events here)
Fourth Annual Trout Tournament (October 28)
Located at Scotty’s Trout Dock & Marina http://www.scottystroutdock.com/, grab a buddy and get your lines in the water. The tournament, which is sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of America, will have cash prizes for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams.
Vets for Vets Celebration (November 5)
This free event is at the Mansion Theatre located at 189 Expressway Lane. It is a special 2 pm show where no ticket it required. Donations are appreciated.
Opening Ceremony of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall (November 6)
This ceremony, which begins at 10 am, will make a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial available to the public. The wall will be located at the Welk Resort during the Homecoming Celebration and will include more than 58,000 names.
Vietnam Era Reunion (November 6)
The Clay Cooper Theater will host this special reunion event. Tickets for the 10 am Hot Rods and High Heels Show will reserve a spot for lunch and an afternoon show as well.
Flag Raising and Wreath Laying Ceremony (November 10)
The College of the Ozarks will host a special Flag Raising and Wreath Laying Ceremony near the Williams Memorial Chapel at sunrise.
Veterans Day Parade (November 11)
The parade through the heart of downtown Branson will begin at 11 am. Make sure to show up early and find a good spot. Organizations are welcome to participate in the event, please contact the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 913 to get set up.
We hope to see you in Branson during Veterans Week. While you are here make sure to say thank you and shake the hand of those who served to protect this great country.
By: Eric Boston @EricBoston3
This Sunday – October 15, 2017 – show your support for the Branson area law enforcement agencies.
Teams from Branson West, Branson, along with Taney and Stone County will meet at the Ballparks of America for the Benefit the Badge “Hitting for Heroes Fall Classic” softball tournament. The first game is at 1:00 PM on the Chicago field with Branson West facing Branson. At 2:30 PM the Taney and Stone County teams will square off, also on the Chicago field.
The series’ championship game will be at 4:00 PM on the St. Louis field. Have the entire family with you to help support this great event. There will be inflatables set up for kids (there is a small charge for inflatables), as well as food from Big BBQ Boyz.
Benefit the Badge’s goal is to “ensure local law enforcement agencies have the tools they need” and “serves as an example of how to honor law enforcement.” If you would like more information you can check out Benefit the Badge on their official website here and on Facebook here.
SportsEvents Magazine polled their readers and Facebook followers to vote for the top “American Ballparks Every Planner Must See”. A list of 28 baseball and softball fields and facilities was narrowed down to nine top complexes across the country.
“These nine ballparks are shining stars that make players and their families feel like they’ve been sent up to the big leagues.”
Branson’s “Ballparks of America” came in number four on SportsEvents Magazine’s list. The top three spots went to Elizabethtown Sports Park in Elizabethtown, KY (1), Choccolocca Park in Oxford, AL (2) and Youngsville Sports Complex in Youngsville, LA (3). At number four it shows you the impression the Ballparks of America has made in a short time.
The complex has been open for just over a year, hosting its inaugural game on July 7, 2016. It offers players and parents an experience unlike any other. With 2/3 scale replicas of iconic ballparks from Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York and St. Louis it definitely delivers the big league atmosphere. The complex is equipped with big league suites that house teams during their tournament weeks.
Since its opening Ballparks of America has received glowing reveiws, like this one on the official Facebook page:
“We brought our U12 FirstStrike Baseball team from Orlando, FL and they had a blast. We
were able to play eight games, hit up the water park, Silver Dollar City and some go-carts on the
strip. We had a couple of kids that have been to Cooperstown (home of the Major League
Baseball Hall of Fame) and they said they enjoyed this just as much if not more.”
With its growing reputation not only is Ballparks of America sure to climb to the top of lists such as the SportsEvents Magazine’s “American Ballparks Every Planner Must See”, but it is yet another reason why Branson continues to be one of America’s top family destinations.
Do you ever feel the need to just get out and drive? I’m talking about rolling down the windows, putting on some good music, and taking off with no real place to go. Autumn in Branson is a great time to cruise.
Taking in the Ozarks scenery during the fall season is a great way to spend a part of any day. If you are considering taking a tour through Ozark Mountain country, then allow us to suggest a route that is sure to please.
· Begin at Stormy Point Village
· At the corner of Stormy Point Road and Hwy 265 take a right on Hwy 265
· Just after Chateau on the Lake, take a right and stay on 265 until it connects with the 265/165 intersection. Take a right to stay on 265 until you reach Hwy 65
· Turn right onto Hwy 65 South, exit right to Hwy 86 near Top of the Rock
· Follow 86 until it connects with Hwy 13 in Blue Eye, take a right onto 13
· Continue on 13, you witll go over the Kimberling City bridge and finally into Branson West
· Turn right at the Hwy 76 Junction. Stay on 76 until you reach Ozark Mountain Highroad/465 and take a left at the traffic light
· Stay on 465 until you reach the Hwy 248 exit and take a right. Stay on 248 until you reach the junction for Shepherd of the Hills Expy and make a right
· Stay on this road until you reach Hwy 265, take a right at the light and then an immediate left to return to Stormy Point Village.
Finding its beginning in the Texas Panhandle, the popularity of the chuck wagon spread across the Old West like a wild fire as it became known as a means to fellowship over the food cooked over an open fire.
Cowboy cooking is an American tradition that has slowly dwindled into our past as America has advanced into new technological horizons. However, Kent Rollins and wife Shannon work to preserve the tradition one cooking demonstration at a time.
Featured on many top-performing Food Network shows like “Throwdown! with Bobby Flay”, “Chopped Grill Masters”, “Chopped Redemption” and “Cutthroat Kitchen”, Rollins maintains an undefeated record on NBC’s “Food Fighters”. Visitors to Ozark Mountain Country can now enjoy the culinary mastery of Rollins up close and personal at the Silver Dollar City National Crafts & Cowboy Festival where the couple will be whipping up many of their favorite dishes through the end of October.
Throughout the demonstration of the chuckwagon, Kent Rollins shares the history of each meal as he prepares it. His stories reflect the historical past of ranchers and cowpokes when they roamed the range. It is no wonder that Rollins has earned the “Best Cowboy Humorist” and “Storyteller of the Year” awards by the Academy of Western Artists.
The team at Choose Branson recently visited Rollins as he performed a demonstration in which he prepared his famous bread pudding and shared the story of the dish that inspired its creation which can be seen in our video here.
You don’t want to miss the classic opportunity to enjoy some great down home cooking while reliving America’s past in Branson this month. So get out your hats, boots and denims and visit ChooseBranson.com to purchase tickets to the National Crafts & Cowboy Festival. While there, you may also book your lodging, and find special deals throughout the season to make your trip a “YEEHAW” blast!
Silver Dollar City’s favorite festival is back and better than ever in 2017.
The National Crafts & Cowboy Festival is now taking place through October 28. Choose Branson was able to check out what is new this season and what makes this festival one of the favorites for guests and SDC employees alike.
When you first enter the park you will notice an unique piece of Silver Dollar City history. An original stagecoach that was purchased in 1960 has made its return to the property. It has undergone a detailed restoration process. The story behind the coach is displayed and visitors have the chance to learn about its past only during the National Crafts & Cowboy Festival.
Just beyond the stagecoach is the Silver Dollar City town square. Here you will find the “Best of Missouri Hands” proudly on display. Throughout the year SDC is home to 100 different craftsmen regularly. During the National Crafts & Cowboy Festival that number more than doubles. Vendors display their goods and demonstrate their skills on-site. You will find a wide array of products in the square, but there are plenty more throughout the entire park.
Like the Cowboy Emporium at the Frisco Freight Company. The art included in this exhibit is completely western inspired. From horseshoe art, antler baskets and photos of iconic figures of the American West this is the place for any Old West enthusiast to visit. You will also find Native American art at the Cowboy Emporium as well.
Get your tickets for the National Crafts & Cowboy Festival at ChooseBranson.com and see for yourself why fall in the Ozarks is the perfect time to visit Silver Dollar City.
While September 11, 2001 grows deeper into history over time, our attachment to that day grows stronger as we seek to never forget the events that strengthened the bonds to further unite America’s people. To some, the War on Terror is very personal as they recall media coverage, personal experiences or perhaps even lost a loved one on that day. Today’s younger generations, on the other hand may only be familiar through conversation that takes place at the dinner table among their parents and grandparents. At the age of 19 on September 11, 2001, however, my personal recollection of that day reflects the routine of a college student but has transitioned to a personal mission to exhibit my commitment to patriotism.
I can vividly remember walking into the dorm’s lounge and seeing the images of buildings in New York with smoke rolling out of them. I remember trying to get filled in as quickly as possible as to what was happening. As a 19 year old kid, while I knew this event was a big deal, I’m not sure that I fully understood the importance of what was happening at that moment, and routinely went about my day…I still went to classes and my campus job; my day did not stand still.
Time has allowed the emotion to sink in, however, and having friends who now serve as one of Branson’s hometown defenders, their pledge to serve and protect the community in which I am now raising my own children.
Matt Eaves, my friend and former classmate at College of the Ozarks, is now a Branson Fire & Rescue engineer. Matt and I initially met at the College of the Ozarks firehouse where he was studying to become a firefighter some day. He remembers going to class that morning to find everyone huddled around a computer to watch the events unfolded over national television.
“It was kind of weird. I hadn’t been in the fire service that long; I didn’t have a huge connection to it yet. So the actual events on that particular day were not as big of a deal as it has become to me now.”
“Being around the fire service as long as I have, it (9/11) really becomes emotional… what we say in the fire service world is to ‘not forget’ says Eaves. The Branson Fire Department goes the extra mile to ensure its service men and women never forget. On Thursday, they added a name of one of their fellow firefighters from 9-11 onto their riding board to carry with them throughout the day. “We carry their memories with us, especially this month. “
“For me, the experience of 9/11 has changed from the time it happened – especially after being a part of the fire service for 16 years since then.”
One person who was already well entrenched in the fire service during the events of September 11, 2001 was Branson Fire Chief Ted Martin. Martin said in an interview, “On September 11, we were staffed here at the fire station and saw the first impact on television. As we were watching that news story develop it was obvious that the country was under attack. We were a thousand miles away and loaded with firefighters who were ready to go, but we still had a community to serve.”
“We could hear the personal safety devices that were worn by firefighters in the background [of the news report] going off. We knew there were a lot of injured firefighters. That was hard to listen to here, locally. It was one big challenge to be sitting this far away and not be able to do anything about it, but to simply focus on our brothers and sisters in the fire service and emergency service,” added Chief Martin.
Taking the time to focus on those who were directly impacted by this national tragedy is something that Branson takes very seriously. College of the Ozarks is home to the September 11 “Lest We Forget Memorial” which includes one of the last remaining remnants of the World Trade Center, which is part of their memorial. Marci Linson who is the Deans of Admissions at the college is also the Vice President of Patriotic Activities and shared her memories of that day: “I was working in the admissions office and one of my colleagues on campus called and said ‘have you seen the news?’ It all unfolded from there. I remember being very, very frightened because we didn’t know what was going on.”
While Matt and myself where students at College of the Ozarks at that time, students enrolled there today ranged in age of two to four years old. They know about what happened, but its impact may not be the same. It is the goal of Linson and the college to make sure that they understand the emotion involved.
“As I oversee Patriotic Activities that include special events and ceremonies, we make sure that we remember 9/11 every year. Of course the college has made it a priority to honor 9/11 heroes every year; we are blessed with the opportunity to handle it. We have children from daycare all the way up through college. It’s not just about remembering – it’s about making sure the younger generations know. We want them to know, even the hard things.”
These efforts not only reach the residents and visitors of Branson, but the local service men and women take notice as well. For those like Matt Eaves it is not taken for granted.
“With all of the different events and the media coverage, the general feeling of Branson residents and visitors is that you’re always getting a ‘thanks for your service’ and ‘Thank You’. We had a lady come up to us the other day, very emotional, saying thank you about a call we ran – not even our crew but one of the crews in Branson – that basically saved her life. “
“It’s not even just about the firefighters or the emergency responders; it is about all of the people that passed away that day. I think Branson does a good job at remembering and honoring their memories. I appreciate the different events and lengths the different businesses and organizations go to, it is done very tastefully. It’s not a ‘Hey look at us’, it’s providing a venue to remember.”
Chief Martin seconds Eaves’ belief. “It [Branson] turned into a community that is really resilient in serving and working with other communities that were affected…and by remembering.”
This year Branson is proud to continue its tradition of honoring America’s heroes and hometown defenders. Throughout the month of September, all Fire & Rescue, EMT, law enforcement, active military personnel and veterans will receive free admission to Silver Dollar City, and half-price admission for their spouse. For the rest of us, I encourage all to join me in my challenge to take time to reflect and never forget.
By: Eric Boston @EricBoston3
Spending a day in Branson includes several items on the average to-do list. Making time to visit shows, shopping, and countless outdoor activities are all options. One thing that everyone has to do while in town is eat. One of the best options around now resides in the former Andy Williams’ Moon River Grill.
Shorty Small’s has been serving up great Southern dishes and top notch BBQ in Branson for years. Sitting in the heart of the 76 strip, it makes for easy access to grab a meal that is sure to give you the fuel you need as you tour Branson. Be warned, Shorty’s makes sure to fill you up. Their portions are, should we say, “shareable”. As the staff says, “Everybody walks out full!”
Don’t worry if you stop in and there is a line (remember a wait at a restaurant is a good sign), Shorty’s has plenty to keep you entertained while your table is prepared for you. Make sure to get your free digital selfie at their photo booth. The crew here at ChooseBranson had a blast picking out props and getting our picture taken. Not only can you get a digital copy sent to your phone via text, but the staff can print out top quality photographs on the spot. They also offer a package that includes photos, t-shirts, and a bounce-back coupon at an excellent value.
Once seated the best place to start any meal is with an appetizer. Shorty’s Famous Onion Loaf is made up of sliced onions that have been breaded and deep-fried. The onion loaf comes in two different sizes and includes Chipotle Ranch dip on the side.
The Macho Nachos are “bunches and bunches” of tortilla chips covered with meaty chili, charro beans, Jack and Cheddar cheeses, diced tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, lettuce and sour cream. The half-order hits the spot, but if you are feeling adventurous then give the full-order a run.
Who doesn’t love a good Mozzarella stick? At Shorty Small’s they take fried cheese to another level. How about a Mozzarella stick the size of a Twinkie? Once you get a grip on this bad boy, make sure you dunk it in Sadie’s special marina sauce.
A refreshing cocktail is always a way to wash down any appetizer or meal. Try Shorty’s version of a hurricane, the “Sadie’s Breath”. It is a mixture of light and dark rum, orange juice, pineapple juice and grenadine. Topped off with an orange wedge and cherry, it really hits the spot.
When it comes to choosing a main course Shorty Small’s has a wide variety to choose from. Whether it’s homestyle burgers, salads, sandwiches, soup, BBQ, or steaks no matter the choice it is sure to please your appetite. Let us suggest some of Shorty’s classic menu items.
Check out the House Favorites and see why Shorty Small’s is a hit with locals and visitors alike. The World Famous Catfish platter includes farm-raised strips of “fried-just-right” catfish and includes a pile of french fries, as well as homemade coleslaw, on the side.
The Roasted Chicken feels just like something that grandma would make on a Sunday afternoon. An oven-roasted half chicken that has been lightly-seasoned and comes with helpings of mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans. It is a picture perfect plate that you may feel shouldn’t be disturbed. Except that it tastes amazing so there is no chance of that!
If you are someone who enjoys a good challenge then get ready. Shorty Small’s is the home of the World’s Largest Chicken Fried Steak. This hand-breaded steak is topped with country gravy and is so big the platter can barely contain it. Add-in seasoned fries and coleslaw for the ultimate filler-upper. But let me tell you it is worth taking on. It may very well be the best thing on the menu. Perhaps you should find that out for yourself!
You cannot be in the Ozarks and not enjoy some great BBQ. Shorty Small’s “Jumpin’-Off-The-Bone” Ribs will rival the best around. Marinated loin-back ribs, that have been basted with their house sauce, will have you lickin’ your fingers and coming back for more. They are simply THAT GOOD!
After catching Illusionist Rick Thomas at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center & Theatre why not come across the street and finish your night off with a something a little sweet. Ask for a table in the Andy room and check out the wall of portraits of the legendary performer with other musical acts you are sure to recognize. Nibbling on a fantastic desert is the “icing on the cake”.
The Cookie Monster is a chocolate chip, brownie sundae. Topped with vanilla ice cream, caramel, chocolate, whipped cream, nuts, and of course a cherry. Everyone in the family will want to grab a spoon and dive into this delicious treat.
If you prefer a desert with a bit more warmth to it, then don’t pass up the Sizzlin’ Apple Pie. Brought to your table on a sizzlin’ skillet this pie has been baked to perfection. Filled with handpicked apples and topped with vanilla ice cream, the kicker is when your server pours Shorty’s brandy butter sauce over the giant slice right at your table. Not only will the steam rise, but so will your anticipation.
This Fall will be a great time to stop by and relax on Shorty Small’s outdoor patio. Complete with fire pit, it is the perfect place to spend an evening with friends, hear some live music, and maybe even sight Shorty’s unofficial mascots (two groundhogs and a large bullfrog). Grab a drink from the bar off of their Fall drink specials.
The Fall lineup will include the Top Shelf Margarita, Branson Mule, and BBQ Bacon Bloody Mary which includes strips of bacon and Shorty’s house BBQ sauce.
So whether you are grabbing lunch before heading back out on the Branson trail, or looking for a night filled with good food and entertainment, Shorty Small’s needs to be at the top of your list. With a great menu and awesome atmosphere it is truly one of Branson’s gems!