All Posts Tagged: Branson

Silver Dollar City

National Craft and Cowboy Festival

 

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.

Choose Branson Remembers the Events of September 11, 2001

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.

Best Free Branson Activities Vol. 2

By: Michael Ayo

It’s true what they say: the best things in life are free. However, rarely is anything free in this world anymore. That can be especially true when talking about a vacation destination such as Branson. While there are many great shows, attractions and activities in town that require a fee, there are some Branson activities that won’t cost you a dime. Last year we provided readers with five of the best free Branson activities; now we’re back to let everyone know about a new list of great things to do in town that will only cost you your time.

Choose Branson Lip Sync Clash

The Choose Branson Lip Sync Clash held its inaugural event last August, and was a massive success. Because of that, the event is back for a second time this summer. Taking place June 9 at 5 p.m. in front of the Branson Landing Fountain, Branson entertainers and representatives from businesses and attractions across town will clash in a lip syncing competition for the ages.

The Titanic Museum took home the trophy belt in 2016, and is back again this year to defend their title. Challenging them will be representatives from Branson Zipline and Stormy Point Village, along with entertainers Prince IvanBranson’s Famous Baldknobbers and George Dyer. Before they take the stage to perform their hilarious lip sync antics, however, there will be a pre-show performance by the Baldknobbers and an acoustic set by Prince Ivan titled “Prince Ivan: Unplugged.” Of course this event is absolutely free, and there may even be a few giveaways and free handouts throughout the event so if you’re in town, definitely stop by.

Concerts at the Branson Landing

The Branson Landing is known for hosting a large number of events throughout the year, such as the aforementioned Choose Branson Lip Sync Clash. In addition to that great event, there are several other incredible concerts being performed on stage in front of the fountain at various times during 2017. Their Summer Concert Series this year will feature entertainers such as Prince Ivan, the Dan Benton Band, the Mark Chapman Band and many others. Be sure to check out the Landing’s entertainment schedule for a full list of things happening.

Moonshine Tastings

“Free samples” is perhaps the most well-known term including the word “free,” and while wine tastings and samplings may be the most popular in Branson, there are some places that offer whiskey and moonshine samplings as well. Copper Run Distillery in Walnut Shade, MO offers free tours of their facilities throughout the day where you can sample some of the delicious moonshines and whiskeys made onsite. Smith Creek Moonshine at the Branson Landing is another place you can go for great tasting drinks made right here in the Ozarks. There is a restaurant inside and you can visit the bar area to sample the various flavors of moonshine such as salted caramel and strawberry shortcake.

Museums

Branson has several museums throughout town, headlined by ones such as the Titanic Museum and the Velvet Collection Celebrity Car Museum. However, unlike these, there are museums that charge no admission for you to enter and look around. Prehistoric Fossils in downtown Branson is fairly new to town, opening just this year. This attraction is free to visit but offers you the chance to purchase various prehistoric fossils, gems and educational items. Also downtown is the Branson Centennial Museum. The museum features intriguing artifacts related to Branson since the town’s incorporation in 1912. Displays rotate roughly every six to eight months, with exhibits often highlighting the roots of tourism and iconic Branson citizens such as the Herschends and Reishes.

Free Choose Branson Giveaways

One other way you can experience free activities in Branson is by entering the various contests put on by Choose Branson. Giveaways are always being promoted in the Choose Branson Monthly Newsletter and our social media pages. We currently have a White Water family four-pack giveaway happening on Facebook, and the Pack Your Bags to Branson Sweepstakes is on the website as well.

There is plenty to do in Branson, regardless of the price. If you want to pay the price of admission, the shows and attractions are well worth the fee. If you don’t, try any of the entertaining activities above and save some money in the process.

Article courtesy of ChooseBranson.com.

Drive, Float and Fly in Branson

By: Kerry Pearson

When vacationing to Branson, chances are you haven’t fully seen the beautiful landscape of the Ozarks or some of the local’s favorite spots in the area. After you have seen the shows, take some time to go exploring around the area in a fun, new way.

If you enjoy beautiful scenery and unique experiences, then taking a ride on the Branson Scenic Railway is a perfect addition to your Branson vacation. While onboard one of the many passenger cars, you will travel through the Ozark Mountains and witness some of the most incredible views the area has to offer. The 45-minute trip carries passengers from Branson down into northern Arkansas, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

One of the newest, yet more luxurious ways to see Branson is with VIP Tours of Branson. If you are interested in seeing something specific then you will be pleased with one of the four tour options offered with VIP Tours of Branson. From the “Discover Branson Tour” to “Branson Christmas Lights Tour,” you are sure to have a great experience onboard the Mercedes Sprinter Coach with the knowledgeable tour guide showing you around town. When meeting with your guide, be sure to tell him Choose Branson sent you!

If you want to see Branson from the air, book a tour with Chopper Charter Branson. Seeing your favorite vacation spot from high above is definitely a once in a lifetime experience for anyone. At Chopper Charter Branson you can enjoy a comfortable ride in the luxury of the six-seat Bell 206L jet powered helicopter. Depending on what you want to see, you are able to customize a tour or choose from one of the five tour packages offered. As with VIP Tours, be sure to tell Chopper Charters that Choose Branson sent you over!

Get the best of both land and water with a Ride the Ducks tour. This attraction is a popular one among visitors in Branson. During the 70-minute ride you will see the Ozarks like never before. From driving up a mountain to cruising around Table Rock Lake, this tour covers it all. Something that makes this tour unique is the captain of each duck. Not only will you be entertained by all you see during the tour, but the stories and interaction from the captain is something that is guaranteed to never be forgotten.

Another fun way to see Branson from the water is with a cruise on Lake Taneycomo. Main Street Lake Cruises offers sightseeing tours of downtown Branson. Choose between cruises onboard the historic Lake Queen Paddleboat or the Landing Princess, a 100-foot luxury yacht. Both cruises feature an informative guide to point out Branson’s historical facts and sights along the way.

A fun way to see historic Branson is by taking a ride on Sparky the Branson Trolley. There are 13 stops around the downtown Branson area. The total time for the trolley to make stops at all 13 locations is about 45-minutes. This is a fun way to see the historic part of Branson. If you want to take the trolley to specific locations in the downtown area, you can do that as well.

Try something new next time you visit Branson. There is so much to see and discover even for those who have visited year after year. Whichever sightseeing tour you choose to go with is sure to create memories to last a lifetime.

Valentine’s Day Activities in Branson

By: Michael Ayo

Just because you’re on vacation in Branson doesn’t mean Valentine’s Day has to be any less romantic or meaningful. While February may seem to be in the “offseason” of entertainment in Branson, there are still plenty of great Valentine’s activities to try out along with a few shows to see.

Spa Treatments

One of the most relaxing and romantic ways to spend Valentine’s Day is with a couples massage. Several places around Branson offer a number of different spa services and packages, depending on what you are looking for. Spa O2 on Highway 165 and Spa Chateau at Chateau on the Lake are two of the more popular places to visit, though others such as Body Works Day Spa on Green Mountain Drive and City Spatique Day Spa on Shepherd of the Hills are great too.

Shopping

Aside from the shows and attractions, Branson’s shopping is one of the biggest draws to the town. Whether you want designer clothing, outlet store prices or handcrafted works of art, there are stores to satisfy all your needs in Branson. While it may lack in romance, spending the day shopping is still an acceptable way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The Branson Landing has several great shops to browse through, and the same can be said for the Grand Village.

From Feb. 7 through Valentine’s Day, Tanger Outlets will be having their “Share the Love at Tanger Outlets” event where you could have a shot to win multiple prizes. Shopping during this week gives you a chance to win a $1,400 Yves Delorme luxury bedding set and a $500 Tanger shopping spree. There will also be a “Tanger Share the Love” team walking throughout the mall giving out random prizes to lucky recipients. The final way to win a great prize during this week is by visiting the Tanger Facebook page and sharing #TangerLove with your friends to enter you in daily prize giveaways. For more information on the “Share the Love at Tanger Outlets” event, visit tangeroutlet.com.

Shows

While a vast majority of theaters are still on vacation for the season, two shows will be hosting special Valentine’s Day performances. The Hughes Brothers Theatre will be hosting their “It Celebrates Valentine’s Day Show,” complete with a renewing of vows and a free memory portrait taken. When you buy your tickets, you have the option of adding a candlelight dinner at the theatre before the show with flowers, romantic music and a classic romance movie.

Another show happening on the weekend before Valentine’s Day is “Elvis Live!” at the God and Country Theatres. The first of the special shows will take place on Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. with the “Elvis Live! Aloha from Hawaii” show. Jerry Presley will be reenacting his cousin’s classic performance that was broadcasted via satellite on April 4, 1973. The second will be on Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. in the form of “Elvis Live! Madison Square Garden.” This reenactment will be of Elvis recording his live musical album at Madison Square Garden on June 18, 1972.

If neither of these shows interest you, you can never go wrong gifting tickets in advance to your significant other whenever their favorite show opens for the 2017 season.

Titanic Museum

Grand gestures are welcomed on Valentine’s Day, and if you are looking to make one this year then the Titanic Museum can help with that. February is Sweetheart Month at the Titanic and you can make reservations for a grand gesture on their Grand Staircase. Whether it is a proposal, engagement photos, a wedding or vow renewals, all can be performed at this attraction. There are also plenty of great gifts to pick up for your sweetheart inside the gift shop that include jewelry and perfumes.

Dining

When all else fails, you can never go wrong taking your Valentine out for a nice dinner. There are several fine dining restaurants in Branson to visit on Valentine’s Day, and you are almost guaranteed to find one that matches your taste. Dobyns Dining Room at the Keeter Center and Level 2 Steakhouse are having special Valentine’s Day menus, and others such as Saltgrass Steakhouse offer a fine, quaint atmosphere you are sure to love.

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, just about anything you decide to do will be appreciated by your significant other as long as you put some thought and effort into it. If you are falling short of ideas while in Branson on Feb. 14, try one of the above activities to make this Valentine’s Day one to remember.

Article courtesy of ChooseBranson.com.

Branson’s Christmas Openings

By: Michael Ayo

Christmas in Branson is one of the most anticipated times of the year. The world-renowned “An Old Time Christmas” festival is happening at Silver Dollar City, several theaters have their own holiday shows, and there is more than enough shopping to be had leading up to the holiday. If you find yourself on vacation in Branson this Christmas, it may be helpful to know what shows and attractions are open for the holiday.

Shows

The following is a list of shows performing their regular or holiday/Christmas shows on Dec. 25, 2016.

– Acrobats of China at Yakov Theatre
          ~ Show plays at 3 and 8 p.m.
 Amazing Pets at Grand Country Music Hall
Show plays at 3 and 7 p.m.
 Doo-Wop and the Drifters at the Branson Hot Hits Theatre
          ~ Show plays at 2 p.m.
 Motown Downtown at the Branson Hot Hits Theatre
          ~ Show plays at 7 p.m.

Attractions

The following is a list of attractions open on Dec. 25, 2016.

 Branson Zipline
          ~ Certain zip lines and tours available throughout the day from 11 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
 Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center
          ~ Opens at 10 a.m.
 Ozark Mountain Christmas Lights Drive-Thru will be open, but the Christmas Village will not.
~ Drive-Thru will open at 5:30 p.m.
 Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights
          ~ Opens at dusk (5:03 p.m. according to weather.com)

No matter what you decide to do, Christmas is always a wonderful holiday. That statement is especially true if you celebrate it in Branson. After all the presents have been unwrapped and the wonderful holiday meals have been consumed, make sure to go check out some of these great shows and attractions open on Christmas Day.

Branson’s Thanksgiving Openings

By: Michael Ayo

Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays of the year. Whether you get excited for the food, family, entertainment or the conclusion of the holiday in order to start decorating for Christmas, there is so much to anticipate on Nov. 24. If you find yourself vacationing to Branson during Thanksgiving this year, it may be helpful to know what shows, attractions and shops are open for the holiday.

Shows

The following is a list of shows performing their regular or holiday/Christmas shows on Nov. 24, 2016.

– Acrobats of China at Yakov Theatre
– Amazing Pets at Grand Country Music Hall
– Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center
– Carpenters Once More at the Historic Owen Theatre
– Christmas on the Trail at Shepherd of the Hills
– Crazy ‘Bout Patsy and Other Country Legends at the Branson Hot Hits Theatre
– Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede
– The Duttons at the Dutton Family Theater
– George Strait Country at the Little Opry Theatre
– Grand Jubilee at Grand Country Music Hall
– Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show at Hamners’ Variety Theater
– Hank Williams Revisited at the Historic Owen Theatre
– The Haygoods at the Clay Cooper Theatre
– Hughes Brothers We’re Thankful for You at the Hughes Brothers Theatre
– Hypnolarious at the Lodge of the Ozarks Crystal Theatre
– The Legend of Kungfu: Return of the Dragon at the White House Theatre
– Legends in Concert at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater
– The Lettermen at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center
– Maxine’s Christmas Carol at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center
– Million Dollar Quartet at the Welk Resort Theatre
– Motown Downtown at the Branson Hot Hits Theatre
– A Neil Diamond Tribute at the Historic Owen Theatre
– New Jersey Nights at King’s Castle Theatre
– Pierce Arrow at the Pierce Arrow Theatre
– Puttin’ on the Ritz at King’s Castle Theatre
– REZA: Edge of Illusion at the Starlite Theatre
– Sanders Family Christmas at the Little Opry Theatre
– Shoji Tabuchi at the Shoji Tabuchi Theatre
– Showboat Branson Belle
– A Tribute to John Denver at the Little Opry Theatre
– A Tribute to Marty Robbins at the Little Opry Theatre
– Twice Adopted at Hamners’ Variety Theater

Attractions

The following is a list of attractions open on Nov. 24, 2016.

– Adventure Ziplines of Branson
– Branson Dinosaur Museum
– Branson Promised Land Zoo
– Branson Zipline
– Branson’s Wild World
– Hollywood Wax Museum
– National Tiger Sanctuary
– Ripley’s Believe it or Not
– Silver Dollar City
– Talking Rocks Cavern
– Titanic Museum
– Velvet Collection Celebrity Car Museum
– Veterans Memorial Museum
– World’s Largest Toy Museum
– Xtreme Racing

Shopping

Branson’s most popular shopping centers will also have special hours for the evening of Thanksgiving leading into the early morning of Black Friday. The Branson Landing will be open from 6 p.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving Day and their Black Friday Blowout event will start at 7 a.m. the next day.

Tanger Outlets will also be having their Moonlight Madness sale beginning at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. This will last all through the night and into Black Friday, finally closing at a later time, 10 p.m., on Friday night.

Whether it’s a show, attraction or some shopping, there are plenty of places to check out this Thanksgiving. Be sure to take advantage of everything that’s open for the holiday this year.

Article courtesy of ChooseBranson.com.

5 of the Best Free Christmas Activities in Branson

By: Michael Ayo

Vacations can be tough on a bank account, especially if you are vacationing during the holiday season. While Branson is one of the most affordable vacation destinations in the country, your wallet can still take a hit while paying for lodging, food and activities. This Christmas, educate yourself on five of the best free activities in Branson during the holiday season so you can have an entertaining, yet affordable, vacation.

Kringles Christmas Shop

Sometimes window shopping is just as fun as going on a shopping spree, and there is no better place in town to check out everything Christmas related than Kringles Christmas Shop. Kringles is the largest Christmas store in the state of Missouri, and features an incredible collection of Christmas decorations including 125 designer-decorated themed trees. While it is plenty of fun checking out all the various ornaments and trees, it is pretty hard to leave the store without buying at least one thing.

See the Lights

The holiday season is a big deal in Branson. Practically every theater unveils some sort of Christmas show, which means their venue is maxed out with Christmas decorations. One great family-bonding activity to try out this season is cruising Highway 76 at night with the family to see the best and brightest Christmas lights the theaters have to offer. You can also visit popular shopping centers such as the Branson Landing and Grand Village Shops for views of colorful lights and decorated Christmas trees. If those aren’t enough, stop by Shepherd of the Hills for a photo op with their lights or drive through downtown Branson to see their festive tree and decorations.

Visit Branson’s Santas

One of the most enjoyable things about the Christmas season is seeing the look on a kid’s face when he or she gets to meet Santa. Santa Claus will be in various spots throughout the Ozarks during the holiday season, and it is always great fun taking the little ones to visit with him. The Branson Landing will have Santa visiting from Nov. 12 through Dec. 24 inside their “Christmas Treehouse.” Bass Pro Shops at the Landing will also have Santa visiting during those same dates along with holiday-themed games and crafts. Lastly, the aforementioned Kringles Christmas Shop will have Santa in store Wednesdays through Sundays during the holiday season and he will be accompanied by live Christmas music.

Holiday Parades

Another free activity you can take part in this holiday season is one of the two Christmas parades in Branson. The Most Wonderful Time of Year Parade is the first to take place, happening at the Branson landing on Nov. 19. It will start at 10 a.m. and begins at the north end of the Landing, near the Belk Department Store. The parade will travel the length of the outdoor mall, ending at Bass Pro Shops. It will feature Branson stars such as Clay Cooper, the Hughes BrothersOsmondsDuttons and many more. Mayor Karen Best will also be a part of the parade along with its grand marshal, Mel Tillis.

The 68th annual Adoration Parade will occur a few weeks later, on Dec. 4. This parade through downtown Branson will start at 6 p.m. with the lighting of the area’s largest nativity scene then follow with a number of beautifully decorated Christmas floats from Branson locals. There are not many activities more joyous and fun than the annual Adoration Parade.

Electrify Christmas Light Show

The Branson Ferris Wheel is one of the newest and most exciting attractions in town. Brought in from Chicago’s Navy Pier this summer by the Track Family Fun Parks, the wheel will be electrified by colorful lights to the tune of holiday music every night during the holiday season. The free show will take place at 9, 10 and 10:55 p.m. each night. If you want a great seat while enjoying a delicious holiday dessert, Andy’s Frozen Custard offers up-close views of the ferris wheel.

Holiday shows and Silver Dollar City are on most people’s to-do list when vacationing to Branson during the Christmas season. If you’re looking for something more economical, or just need to pass the time between other scheduled events, be sure to check out these five free activities this Christmas.

Article courtesy of ChooseBranson.com.

Top 10 Reasons to Visit Branson During the Holiday Season

By: Michael Ayo

Fall and winter are absolutely beautiful in Branson. Between the fall colors and the Christmas lights, your senses will be overwhelmed with beauty as you drive through town. Whether you are planning a vacation in November or December, there are a number of fantastic activities and festivities to experience. So much so that it is hard to narrow it down, but Choose Branson did its best.

10. Adoration Parade, Dec. 4

The 68th annual Adoration Parade will take place through downtown Branson on Sunday, Dec. 4. It starts with the annual lighting of the area’s largest nativity scene then the parade follows through town. On this night of celebration, no organization is highlighted and nothing is promoted, it’s just some good, old-fashioned Christmas festivities.

9. Lazy Magnolia Carriage Company

There is no shortage of Christmas lights throughout the city of Branson, and there is no better way to view them than from a horse-drawn carriage. The Lazy Magnolia Carriage Company operates out of downtown Branson and gives you a beautiful and elegant carriage ride through town, making it a great activity for the holiday season.

8. Branson Landing

The Branson Landing is absolutely stunning during the holiday season. Festive decorations line the boardwalk and a 50-foot Christmas tree stands tall in the Landing’s town square. When you make a trip to the Landing, you can take in the beauty of Lake Taneycomo, view the holiday decorations and visit Santa Claus at Bass Pro Shops.

7. Ozark Mountain Christmas Lights and Village

This festive village is located off Buena Vista Road in Branson, and features 200 displays and over 1 million Christmas lights. Paired with the light displays are holiday-themed crafts available for purchase along with homemade fudge, kettle corn, hot chocolate and s’mores. Once you have seen the lights and sampled the holiday snacks, view the life-size nativity scene and be sure to take the kids to go see Santa.

6. Holiday Shopping

Branson is a shopping haven, and it is made even better during the holiday season. Malls such as the Branson Landing and Tanger Outlets have impeccable deals during the holidays, or if you want something directly catered toward Christmas, check out Kringles Christmas Store at the Grand Village Shops. Kringles is the largest Christmas store in the state of Missouri, and features an incredible collection of Christmas decorations including 125 designer-decorated themed trees.

5. Shepherd of the Hills

The Shepherd of the Hills Homestead turns into a Christmas wonderland during the holiday season. Instead of the usual “Roundup on the Trail” show, the “Christmas on the Trail” show plays for eager visitors. While you listen to classic holiday music, you will enjoy a chuckwagon dinner like no other complete with maple-smoked turkey breast, a whole-flame roasted ear of corn, cornbread and Dutch-oven cobbler. Once you have seen the show, be sure to visit the Trail of Lights that features two and a half miles of animated displays, three-dimensional characters and multi-colored lights.

4. Polar Express

Throughout the months of November and December, the Branson Scenic Railway transforms into the Polar Express. This holiday-themed train ride takes you on a magical trip through the Ozarks while supplying you with hot cocoa and freshly baked cookies.

3. Veterans Homecoming Week

One holiday that may not be as important as Christmas to most is an incredibly big deal in Branson. Veterans Day is widely celebrated throughout the Ozarks and there is a whole week of events dedicated to it. Branson’s Veterans Homecoming Weekkicks off on Nov. 5 and lasts through Nov. 11. Events include special performances from “Baldknobbers Jamboree,” “Golden Sounds of the Platters” and more. There will also be special ceremonies and activities for veterans in attendance. The week will conclude with the 83rd annual Veterans Day Parade through downtown Branson.

2. Holiday Shows

There are several shows throughout November and December that put on special performances for the holidays. “It” at the Hughes Brothers Theatre puts on a special show for Thanksgiving along with a wonderful Christmas show. Other shows such as Shoji Tabuchi, “Haygoods” and “Dixie Stampede” provide a completely different performance during the holiday season.

1. An Old Time Christmas Festival at Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City’s “An Old Time Christmas” has been recognized by USA Today, CNN Travel, The Travel Channel, Good Morning America, AOL Travel, Yahoo! Travel and MSN.com as a top holiday celebration in America. This festival includes 5 million lights, 1,000 decorated trees and a five-story special effects Christmas tree. There are also wonderful Christmas shows inside the park such as “The Living Nativity,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Dickens’ Christmas Carol” and the Frisco Sing-Along Steam Train. Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade marches through the streets twice each evening as well.

Article courtesy of ChooseBranson.com.

Branson Fall Activities

By: Michael Ayo

Summer in Branson has officially ended and the colors and flavors of fall are starting to take over. Pumpkin-spiced everything has hit store shelves and cold fronts are starting to appear on weather forecasts. It’s always exciting when seasons change, and the best way to celebrate is to try a few activities that are different than what you have normally been doing. Get in the seasonal spirit by trying out some of the following festivities during fall in the Ozarks.

Hiking

Some of the best fall activities are the ones you couldn’t do in summer because it was too hot. One in particular would be taking a stroll on your favorite Branson hiking trail. There are plenty of places to go hiking around town, from small waterfall trails to large state parks with miles and miles of scenery. Dogwood Canyon is always a favorite among visitors to the Branson area. With its six and a half mile trail, combined with the beautiful wildlife and entertaining amenities, hiking here should be at the top of anyone’s fall to-do list. If you want to hike inside the Branson city limits, check out trails at the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area or the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area.

Sycamore Creek Family Ranch

If your fall vacation to Branson takes place during the month of October, be sure to take a trip out to the Sycamore Creek Family Ranch for their Fall Roundup at the Ranch. This festival takes place each Sunday during the month of October from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free and there will be plenty to see and do such as family games, a gunny sack slide, farm animals and a hay bale fort. For purchase, you can pick your own pumpkin, take a ride in a tethered hot air balloon and go on a hay ride. There will also be bonfires, s’mores, concessions and fall décor to shop through.

McKenna Family Farm

You wouldn’t fully be engulfed in the fall spirit if you didn’t visit the McKenna Family Farm to see a fall harvest up close and personal. However, there is so much more than just pumpkins, tomatoes and cucumbers to sift through here. For a small admission fee you can visit the McKenna Family Farm that is basically a fall-themed amusement park. There are pumpkin patches, hay mazes, bounce houses, baby farm animals, a tricycle race track, hay rides and so much more. If you’re not interested in the attractions, there is also produce, pumpkins, baked goods and fall decorations available for purchase.

Halloween Festivities

There is much to celebrate during the fall season, and that is especially the case for Halloween. There are plenty of things going on during this spooky time of year and it’s highly recommended to experience as much of it as possible. If you’re vacationing to Branson at the end of October, but still want to take the kids trick-or-treating, try making your way to either the Branson Landing or Tanger Outlets. The Landing will be hosting their 10th annual Safe Street Trick or Treat where kids 12 and under can safely stroll down the waterfront boardwalk in costume while interacting with businesses giving out candy. There will also be a Monster Mash Street Dance beginning at 6:30 p.m. that day.

Similar to the Landing’s event, Tanger Outlets will be hosting their Trick-or-Treat TangerStyle. Select Tanger stores will be passing out candy to children 12 and under dressed in costumes from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. For adults, TangerStyle coupons will be given out so they can shop after the Halloween festivities have concluded.

Zombie Hunt

Keeping with the Halloween spirit, one fascinating activity to try out this fall is the Paintball Zombie Hunt. Located at the Branson Cedars Resort in Ridgedale, this interactive and slightly spooky attraction allows you to hunt the undead with a paintball gun mounted on a customized zombie assault vehicle. No protection or eyewear is necessary, and you won’t be getting shot back at. All you do is sit down in the vehicle and shoot some zombies with their “flesh eating” paintballs. Branson Cedars Resort hosts this event each weekend in October from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and the cost is $22 for ages 13 and up and $18 for kids 12 and under.

Shows

One other fall activity you can’t try anywhere else but Branson is seeing all the fall-themed and customized shows. TheHughes Brothers Theatre and their “It Show” have shows that cater toward Halloween and Thanksgiving during the fall season. Taking place on Oct. 22 and 26 and Nov. 23 and 24, the Hughes brothers will give Branson visitors incredible shows customized to the holidays. Their “Howling Fun Show” will give attendees a $5 discount if they wear a costume to the show and prizes will be given out for the best costumes. Bags of treats will be given out as well. For the “We’re Thankful for You Show,” the cast will put on a special 10 a.m. show that combines a Thanksgiving theme with their popular Christmas show.

Veterans Day Festivities

Veterans Day is one of the most celebrated holidays in Branson. A great number of visitors come from all over the country to get together and honor those who have served in the armed forces. From Nov. 5 through 11, various events will be held to celebrate veterans and all their sacrifices made in the past. Those events include special shows from the “Baldknobbers Jamboree,” “Golden Sounds of the Platters” and so much more. The events will conclude at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 with the 83rd annual Veterans Day Parade through downtown Branson. If you are a military veteran or just someone wanting to show appreciation, the beginning of November is a great time to check out what’s happening around the Ozarks.

There is so much to do from September through November in Branson, and the beautiful fall foliage can be seen everywhere around the Ozarks. Those two reasons make fall the perfect time of year to take a Branson vacation. No matter what you decide to do, there is always plenty of fun to be had and memories to be made.

Article courtesy of ChooseBranson.com.