Branson Up-Close-and-Personal with Grand Jubilee star Jackie Brown

Jackie Brown performing "When I Think About Angels" in Grand Jubilee.

Jackie Brown during recent Grand Jubilee performance of “When I Think About Angels.”

Jackie Brown during recent Grand Jubilee performance of “When I Think About Angels.”

Grand Country’s Grand Jubilee is one of Branson’s most popular shows, combining the vocals of New South, the comedy of “Jim Dandy,” the MC mastery of Mike Patrick, and the award-winning vocals of Jackie Brown into two hours of fantastic entertainment! Recently, Jackie took time from her busy schedule as an entertainer and mom to share a bit of herself, and her career, with us in an interview for “Branson – Up Close and Personal.”

“Branson – Up Close and Personal” is a service of Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, and is intended to provide readers with an up-close-and-personal look at a Branson star or personality. The interview with Jackie Brown (JB) uses a “Question and Answer” format, and was conducted for Branson Tourism Center (BTC) by Gary Groman, a 30 year resident of the Branson area, and a local columnist and freelance writer.

BTC: Where were you born?
JB: Phoenix, AZ

BTC: When?
JB: January 23, 1974

BTC: When did you first start singing?
JB: When I was four.

BTC: When did you first sing publicly?
JB: I was four and sang in church for a Mother’s Day Pageant with my mom.

BTC: Do you remember the name of the song?
JB: “Jesus Loves Me” and “You Light Up My Life.”

BTC: Do you have any formal vocal training?
JB: No. My mom was an elementary school music teacher. I just followed her lead, learned from her choir practices, and taught myself from some of the things that she taught me.

BTC: What is your favorite genre of music?
JB: I have no one favorite because I like so many different styles.

BTC: What is your favorite song to listen to?
JB: I love to listen to Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, but outside of Christmas and “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” I don’t have a favorite

BTC: What is your favorite song to sing?
JB: I’ve always liked singing “I Will Always Love You,” which I sing in the show this year in a duet with Luke [Menard], or as a solo if he isn’t here.

 BTC: When did you realize that you wanted to sing professionally?
JB: When my mom and I visited Opryland in Nashville when I was about sixteen or seventeen years old; we went and saw the show “Country Music USA.” I told my mom, “I want to do that. That’s what I want to do for a living.” We went back to Opryland when I was about 20, I auditioned, was hired, and the rest is history.

BTC: When did you first start performing professionally?
JB: Although we had a local band in Phoenix, I consider Opryland as the start of my professional career.

BTC: Do you remember the first number you performed professionally?
JB: I do, it was “Independence Day,” by Martina McBride.

BTC: Where else did you perform prior to coming to Branson?
JB: Dollywood, Disney Cruise Lines, and Country Tonite in Pigeon Forge.

BTC: While there, did you get to meet and perform with some country music legends?
JB: Actually we did; at Opryland I got to perform with some of the Grand Ole Opry stars such as Porter Wagoner, Jeannie Seely, Margo Smith, and others.

BTC: Did you ever get the chance to meet Dolly Parton?
JB: At Dollywood, she was the producer of the show, which was the story of her life. She worked with us and when she was in town she would sometimes surprise us, and come sing on stage with us.

BTC: Do you have a little-known fact about yourself that you think our readers would be interested in?
JB: While at Opryland, they picked me to be “Country Rose Barbie.” It’s the only Grand Ole Opry Barbie Doll that Mattel ever had. They hired two of us who looked alike, one to be the interviewer spokesperson, and me to sing. We were each dressed like the doll and I was the singer who introduced her on national TV, on the Grand Old Opry Show singing the Loretta Lynn song, “You’re Looking At Country.” It was a lot of fun!

BTC: While in Pigeon Forge, did you meet anyone else who was to be a large part of your life?
JB: Yes, I met my future husband, guitar player Matt Hanshaw, while we were working there.

BTC: What brought you to Branson?
JB: Matt had come to Branson while I was still working at Country Tonite in Pigeon Forge. It was a sudden move. He got the call in Pigeon Forge that the job was available on a Saturday, and he was in Branson on Monday. With our schedules, I didn’t get to see him for three months when we each drove part of the way and met in Paducah, Kentucky. I finished out my contract with Country Tonite and moved to Branson in January of 2004. Matt and I were married on August 23, 2004.

BTC: How long have you been performing in Branson?
JB: I started performing at Country Tonite in Branson in March of 2004.

BTC: What was your first impression of Branson?
JB: How compact the strip and its entertainment is compared to Pigeon Forge, and the “non-prideful” proudness it emanated.

BTC: What is your favorite thing to do in Branson when you are not performing?
JB: Watch movies at home after the show.

BTC: What do you like best about performing in Branson?
JB: The loyalty and family atmosphere of the entertainment community.

BTC: Prior to becoming the featured female vocalist in Grand Jubilee, what other Branson shows have you performed in, if any?
JB: Country Tonite, Legends in Concert, and The Entertainers at the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre.

BTC: If you could perform or meet with any one entertainer/person (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
JB: Amy Grant. She’s the I one grew up listening to, and I have always loved her style and voice. I would give anything to be able to sing in a duet with her someday.

BTC: Do you have a favorite Amy Grant song?
JB: “If These Walls Could Speak.”

BTC: In your career, of all the performances you have been in, no matter how big or small, which one personally meant the most to you and why?
JB: Singing as “Country Rose Barbie” on the Grand Old Opry Show.

BTC: Do you have a favorite hobby or activity, and what is it?
JB: I love do-it-yourself projects and yard sales.

BTC: Do you have a “little known” fact about yourself that you think our readers would enjoy?
JB: I love to cook when I have time. People just love my “Baked Chicken Nachos.”

BTC: What is the funniest thing that has happened to you in front of an audience?
JB: There’s a lot to pick from, but one that stands out is the day I forgot to zip my skirt while performing in the Country Tonite Show here in Branson. I had hooked it, but forgot to zip it for a bluegrass number that required a lot of movement and, every time I turned or pivoted around, unbeknownst to me, the audience got a view of my derriere and thong. Clay Cooper, who was performing in the number with me, whispered, “Your skirt’s unzipped.” I was horrified and immediately reached behind and zipped it. Adding to my embarrassment was the fact that the mike was still in my hand when I reached behind to do it, and caught the sound of the zipper going up. An embarrassing situation became more so, and I was as red as the red skirt I was wearing.

BTC: How long have you been performing with Grand Jubilee?
JB: I started with the Grand Jubilee in 2008. For many of those years, I also performed in the Comedy Jamboree, but have not been doing that for the past couple of years so that I can spend more time with our son.

BTC: What part of this year’s do you personally enjoy performing the most?
JB: Performing “Let It Go,” from Disney’s “Frozen.”

BTC: Why?
JB: It’s a little different number than we normally do in the show and challenging because of the costume change with all its accessories, but I really like it because of the audience reaction; especially the kids, they love it.

BTC: Why should someone coming to Branson plan to see the Grand Jubilee?
JB: Because it’s one of Branson’s best kept entertainment secrets. Although not a secret to us, when people see the show for the first time, a typical reaction we hear a lot is, “Wow, we were blown away, we didn’t know it was going to be this good!”

For additional information or tickets for the Grand Jubilee, or any of Branson’s shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550, or by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Why you’ll love Branson’s new stage spectacular “Moses”

150907 Moses NOP

“While maintaining its inspirational biblical perspective, Moses is the most spectacular, technologically advanced, show that Sight & Sound Theaters has ever put on stage,” said Mike Pitman, the Business Development Manager for the theatres. He said that people expect the inspirational and spectacular from Sight & Sound, but Moses takes it to an entirely new level.

“Wow, that’s saying a lot when you consider the spectacular productions, such as Noah – the Musical, Miracle of Christmas, Joseph, and Jonah, that Sight & Sound has become legendary for,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. She points out that the legend will continue with the Branson premier of Moses on March 2, 2016.

This powerful and epic biblical story follows Moses on his quest for personal identity; what that meant as he decided to follow his God and, unbeknownst to him at the time, change the course of human history. Journey back to that time with your family and witness some of the greatest moments in biblical history; experience the exhilaration and celebration of the Israelites as they brush past you on their path to freedom; feel God’s awe-inspiring power as you sit in the midst of the parted Red Sea, and the moment God first speaks to Moses at the burning bush, all presented as only Sight and Sound can depict.

When asked what his favorite scene in the show was, Pitman, who has seen the show in Lancaster, PA, said that it would be difficult to pick just one because of the scope of what the show covers, the incredible cast, and the spectacular special effects. Would it be the awe-inspiring feeling he got sitting there when all of a sudden he felt a gush of air as he found himself in the midst of the parting of the Red Sea; the impactful and powerful scene at the top of the mountain when God first speaks to Moses at the “burning bush;” or one of the show’s many other inspirational and exciting scenes?

Parting of the Red Sea.

Parting of the Red Sea.

“The show has incredible special effects throughout that leave people asking, ‘How did they do that?'” Pitman said. Another of his favorite scenes illustrating that point is where the staff of Moses turns into a snake, crawls down a stair banister, and turns back into a staff again. He loves the way that this enables the audience to feel like they are literally with Moses, surrounded by the mountains, at the “burning bush,” and in the Red Sea when it parts around the Israelites as they escape Pharaoh’s wrath.

He points out that another interesting aspect of the production is the way it shows how the Israelites were treated as slaves, and their celebration at being freed as they rush right through the audience on their path to freedom. You realize the true exhilaration they had because God answered their prayers. “It’s pretty powerful,” he said.

Pitman points out that there are cast members and live animals transitioning to and from the stage, in and around the audience, periodically, throughout the show, and that people are not permitted to enter the auditorium for seating while that’s happening. In order to ensure that you’ll not miss part of the show, he strongly suggests that audience members be in their seats before the show starts and by the end of intermission.

Branson Tourism Center’s Wood said that Moses will run through December 31, 2016, and that tickets for Moses are currently available through the Branson Tourism Center. She recommends getting them early to ensure not only availability on desired dates, but the best available seats. For additional information or tickets for Moses, or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services; call 1-800-785-1550 or visit www.BransonTourismCenter.com .

 

Five great local non-national chain restaurants to try on your next Branson trip

Billy Gail's Cafe is one of Branson's most unique and popular restaurants.

Billy Gail’s Cafe is one of Branson’s most unique and popular restaurants.

“Many Branson visitors like to do the same thing that people from Branson do when they travel; eat at locally owned, non-national chain, restaurants,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “In that regard, the answers to the question, ‘What is your favorite locally owned and operated, non-national chain, restaurant?’ asked of over 24,000 people who have ‘Liked’ the Branson Tourism Center Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/bransontourismcenter, covered a wide range of local, Branson owned restaurants, along with some insightful comments.

The first three on the following list will be no surprise to frequent Branson visitors or locals, and were easily mentioned the most often. We also listed two of our favorite local Branson restaurants from those responses:

Billy Bob’s Dairyland: Noted for its delicious hamburgers, usually served basket-style with a heaping order of fries, and its unique, bright, and homey 50’s style decor. The burgers, a staple for both locals and visitors alike for over 30 years, are very generously sized, juicy, and oh so delicious! If you like hot dogs, their grilled butterflied Coney Dogs and Foot Longs might just be the ticket. Billy Bob’s is open during lunch and dinner hours, and offers the same menu for each. Make sure you have cash; they don’t accept credit cards.
Hours: Seven days a week from 10:30 AM-9:00 PM *
Phone: 417-337-9291

Billy Gail’s Cafe: Billy Gail’s is noted for its hearty breakfasts, served amid an atmosphere reminiscent of the early 1900’s Ozarks. Whether it’s their huge signature pancakes, their four egg omelet, their Belly Buster Breakfast, or one of their other menu items, you can’t make a bad breakfast decision here! Although famous for its breakfasts, Billy Gail’s is also noted for its chicken fried steak and pork tenderloin sandwiches. It’s another cash-only restaurant – they don’t accept credit cards.
Hours: Seven days a week from 7 AM to 2 PM.*
Phone: 417-338-8883.

Danna’s Bar B Que & Burger Shop: In addition to being noted for the quality of its burgers, Danna’s hamburger menu offers some interesting variations, such as the Danna Burger, a 6oz. patty served on a toasted bun with cheese and topped with Danna’s famous BBQ chopped pork, lettuce, tomato, and pickle. Another highlight is their barbecue ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, and chicken that, in terms of both quality and popularity, are on a par with their hamburgers.
Hours: Monday through Saturday from 11:00 AM-8:00 PM. Closed Sunday.*
Phone: 417-337-5527

La Piazza: La Piazza is a locally owned restaurant bringing fine Italian dining to Branson! Its authentic dishes prepared with the freshest ingredients are sure to please the taste buds of even the most discerning Italian cuisine fanatic. Traditional carne, pollo, and pastas made with steak, lamb, chicken, and a variety of delicious vegetables, spices, and sauces will satisfy your cravings and your budget! You’ll also enjoy the fully stocked bar and sophisticated decor. La Piazza is located in the Hughes Brothers Celebrity Theatre building and is an excellent place to dine prior to seeing either it Starring the Hughes Brothers and their Families or Ayo Starring the Voices of Glory.
Hours: Sun – Thur: 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM and Fri – Sat: 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM.*
Phone: 417-334-2562.

McFarlain’s Family Restaurant: McFarlain’s Family Restaurant is famous for its legendary cuisine and delightfully named menu items! Where else can you find a Vigilante Taco, Pioneer Pot Roast, an Outlaw Biscuit Sandwich, and Pa’s Morning Favorite? They feature hearty, cooked-to-order breakfast, the kind you remember from Grandma’s house on the farm. Imagine sinking your teeth into their famous honey cornbread, fried green tomatoes, or their homemade Branson Traffic Jam pie, made with cherries, strawberries, rhubarb, and cranberries! And you’ll have fun just looking around; “McFarlain’s” is decorated in hundreds of antiques, original works of art, and photographs. It’s a great place to grab a bite to eat either before or after seeing one of the great live shows performing in  IMAX’s Little Opry Theatre.
Hours: Mon-Thur: 11:00AM to 8:30 PM and Fri-Sun: 8 AM to 9 PM.*
Phone: 417-336-4680

For additional information on these and other Branson restaurants, as well as all that Branson has to offer, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, and talk with one of their Branson-based Travel Planners who will be delighted to assist you. BTC can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM seven days a week, or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

* These are normal operating hours during the “season” – typically April through mid-December. Off season hours may vary.

Best Branson Insider Highlights for February 2016

Grand Jubilee's award wining quartet, "New South."

Grand Jubilee’s award wining quartet, “New South.”

“The four-day combined Valentine’s Day/President’s Day weekend in the middle of the month highlights both the romance of Branson and its signature live shows,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. Romance is in the air as Branson celebrates Valentine’s day; a time when many of our most popular shows are opening for their 2016 Season,” she added.

Wouldn’t your sweetheart absolutely love an awesome Valentine’s Day in Branson? From the Titanic Museum Attraction’s celebration of Romance Month, to the Keeter Center’s Valentine’s Day Dinner and Dancing, to special Valentine’s Day menus at restaurants, the answer to that rhetorical question just has to be, “Yes!” In addition, many of Branson’s Most Popular Shows are welcoming the 2016 season that weekend.

Here’s our Featured Show and Event of the Month, along with a list of the major events you can enjoy in Branson during February, 2016:

Featured Show of the Month is Grand Jubilee, which has been performing its 2016 show since premiering on New Year’s Eve. Remarkably, this talented cast of producers, vocalists, musicians, and technicians develop and rehearse the next year’s show, at the same time they are performing their Christmas Show, so that it can be presented on New Year’s Eve. Branson’s “Grand Jubilee” boasts tight harmonies and a variety of musical styles; a show custom-made for all ages! Enjoy the dynamic performance of the quartet New South, female vocalist Jackie Brown, and the sound of the Grand Band as they perform it all, from country and gospel, to rock & roll favorites! Jamie Haage, aka “Jim Dandy,” and emcee extraordinaire, Mike Patrick, will keep you in stitches!

Event of the Month: The four-day combined Valentine’s/Day President’s Day weekend presents an ideal time for a winter getaway to Branson, where the feeling of romance will be in the air along with everything else Branson is noted for, including live shows, attractions, shopping and much more.

SPECIAL EVENT HIGHLIGHTS (Sorted by starting date.)

Feb 1                           Hot Winter Fun Big Show
Feb 1 – Feb 29            Sweetheart Month at Titanic Museum Attraction
Feb 8 – Feb 21            Tanger Outlets Share the LOVE Event
Feb 12 – Feb 14          The 20th Annual Branson Tri-Lakes Building & Home Show
Feb 12 – Feb 14          Valentines at Chateau Grille
Feb 12 – Feb 15          Presidents Day Weekend Sale – Tanger Outlets
Feb 12 – Feb 15         Valentine’s Weekend in Branson
Feb 14                         Valentine’s Day Dinner & Dancing – Keeter Center
Feb 26 – Feb 28          25th Ann.VisionCon – Gaming, Science Fiction…Convention
Feb 27                         Vince Elfrink Memorial Tournament – Lilleys’ Landing

Due to the possibility of winter weather, seasonal show and attraction schedules, and the fact that some Branson lodging facilities are just opening for their 2016 season, Branson Tourism Center’s Wood suggests that that an easy way to avoid problems; save time and, in many cases, money, as well as making sure you have the most current information, is by simply calling the Branson Tourism Center toll-free at 1-800-785-1550 and talking with one of its Branson-based vacation planning specialists. They’ll be delighted to answer any questions and assist you with show or lodging reservations. There is absolutely no charge for this service.

What is the best winter thing to do in Branson?

Winter or summer, there's always lots of fun things to do in Branson.

Winter or summer, there’s always lots of fun things to do in Branson.

“Having lots of fun in Branson is neither seasonal nor weather dependent; spring, summer, fall, or winter; rain or shine; 17 degrees or 90 degrees, there’s always a wide choice of attractions, shopping, entertainment, and other things to do in Branson that provides visitors with an exciting, fun-filled experience,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “The ‘best thing’ to do in Branson, winter or any other time of the year, is whatever gives you and your family the most enjoyment,” she continued.

Even though many of Branson’s shows, as well as Silver Dollar City, are closed for the season, there are always shows open. The vast majority of Branson’s shopping opportunities, attractions, and other activities are not weather-dependent; they remain open year round. On a day-to-day basis, the weather – even in January and February – is comparatively mild, permitting the enjoyment of an exciting range of outdoor activities that are typically weather-dependent, such as golf, hiking, biking, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

Here’s a list of five very different and specific things, selected from among many other fun things, for you and your family to do in Branson during the winter months:

  1. Indoor Water Parks: Although many of Branson’s lodging facilities have indoor pools, if your family loves water activities, it’s hard to beat staying at a facility that has its own indoor water park. Branson has three to pick from: The Welk Resort with its fantastic 10,000 square foot Splash-A-Torium, featuring a 100 foot water slide, a kid’s splash-zone, and an indoor/outdoor pool, and hot tub; Grand Country Inn’s Splash Country, an elaborate water-soaked wonderland including a lazy river, toddler pool, a three-level tree house, and an indoor basketball play pool, the Eureka Mine waterslide, and the Froggie Bog jumping water play area; and Castle Rock Resort & Waterpark’s expansive water park that measures an impressive 40,000 square feet with numerous features, like large tipping buckets, kiddie pools, waterfalls, an indoor lap pool, and thrill slides.
  1. Titanic Museum Attraction: Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Titanic Museum Attraction is a Branson favorite; it’s so much more than simply a museum! It’s a fun-filled, exciting, and interactive attraction that honors and shares the stories of those who were onboard for its fateful, tragic, and famous maiden voyage that has fascinated the world for more than a century.
  1. See A Show at the Grand Country Music Hall: With shows such as Amazing Pets, Comedy Jamboree, and its signature Grand Jubilee, starring the award-winning New South Quartet and female vocalist of the year, the amazing Jackie Brown, the phenomenal comedy of Jamie Haage, aka Jim Dandy, and the sound of the Grand Band, this is a show with something for every member of the family!
  1. Dicks Oldtime 5 & 10 and Historic Downtown Branson: Historic Downtown Branson is an authentic downtown that’s a Branson attraction of the best kind, with fine art, flea markets, antiques, clothing and jewelry boutiques, cafes, music shows, and more. No visitor to Branson should miss downtown’s retail centerpiece, Dick’s Oldtime 5 & 10! You’ll be launched back to your childhood of visiting the local variety store, complete with green and white tiled floors, everyday household goods, and fun Branson souvenirs. Locals will tell you “if you don’t find it at Dick’s, it just can’t be found!”
  1. Butterflies, Lemurs, and Tigers: From the thousands of butterflies, mirror maze, and much more at the Butterfly Palace and Rain Forest Adventure, to the zebras, lemurs, and other cuddly and not so cuddly creatures of Branson’s Promised Land Zoo, and the lions and tigers of the National Tiger Sanctuary, Branson has a wonderful and exciting variety of animal experiences to delight every member of the family.

“And we haven’t even touched on shopping, indoor mini-golf, go-karts, arcades, and the dozens of other fun things there are to do in Branson,” Wood said. She suggests that, for additional information on these or any of the things there are to do in Branson, you contact BTC and talk with one of their Branson-based Travel Planners. They’ll be delighted to assist you! BTC can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM seven days a week, or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Did you know this about the 2016 version of Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show?

Dave and Denise Hamner with some of their winged friends during their astonishing bird illusion.

Dave and Denise Hamner with some of their winged friends during their astonishing bird illusion.

Branson has a number of fabulous magic shows, but only one offers a variety of high quality entertainment along with world class illusions, sleight-of-hand, and a Veterans salute that is truly as monumental as it is magical, Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. Dave Hamner who, along with his lovely wife Denise, not only produces the show, but stars in it, said, “The show is magically reminiscent of the format of the current NBC prime time hit show, America’s Got Talent, and also of one of the greatest variety shows to ever appear on TV, The Ed Sullivan Show. From magic to great vocals, to comedy, and more, the constantly changing mixture of different types of entertainment, color, and action provides a magical and exciting experience that will have our audience sitting on the edge of their seats anticipating what’s coming next.”

Hamner is really excited about the changes in the show this year, saying that both the award-winning vocalist, Tamera Tinoco, and impressionist Jeff Brandt, are working on some great new material for the show. “We might even see a little Journey,” he chuckled.

Everyone’s favorite, the loveable Gakita the gorilla, will be returning, as will dancers AJ Heard, Ken Brown, and Mariya Serykh. The father-daughter team of Vadim & Mariya will again amaze audiences with their strength, balancing adagio, and high-flying silk act. New this year will be the comedy of Ken Brown, featured in various ways throughout the show.

The magic and illusions of Dave and Denise Hamner will be the focal point of the show. Their signature, one-of-a-kind bird act, with flaming swords, coins, and beautiful Macaws and Cockatoos appearing and flying out over the audience; seeing the transformation of a beautiful woman into “Gakita” the gorilla, and their award-winning Veterans Finale, are just a part of the “magic” that these two masters of illusion perform throughout the show.

Although he wouldn’t reveal what it was, Hamner said that he can’t wait to perform the new comedic illusion they are preparing for this season in cooperation with Don Wayne, a brilliant designer of magic illusions, who has worked with David Copperfield. And that’s just one of the new illusions being added to the show including the resurrection of a favorite from the past, Stargate.

Hamner said that from little kids, to grandma and grandpa, this is a show that the whole family will enjoy, one where they’ll have a great time together. Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show premiers its 2016 Branson season on March 8. For more information, or tickets please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM seven days a week, or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Wouldn’t your sweetheart absolutely love an awesome Valentine’s Day in Branson?

The full scale replica of the Titanic's Grand Stair Case has been the site of many romantic moments.

The full scale replica of the Titanic’s Grand Staircase has been the site of many romantic moments.

Thomas Hood said, “Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine?” What better place than Branson to show that precious someone that they “Art every day my Valentine!”

With Valentine’s Day, February 14, falling on Sunday this year, it affords a special opportunity to share a romantic getaway for Valentine’s Weekend in Branson with your Valentine. Branson, with its shows, attractions, restaurants, shopping, wide choice of lodging, and other activities provides the perfect canvas upon which to create the perfect Valentine for your sweetheart.

For many, the celebration of Valentine’s Day involves a special meal. Whether it’s the romance and elegance of dinner at a table for two, overlooking Table Rock Lake in the Chateau Grille at the Chateau on the Lake Resort, an evening of fine dining and dancing with live music amid a rose petal and candlelight setting at the College of the Ozarks’ Keeter Center, the simple Ozark’s fare of McFarlain’s Family Restaurant, or any of the many other fine Branson restaurants, Branson is sure to have the perfect Valentine’s meal for you to share with your sweetheart.

Many of Branson’s Most Popular Shows will be open providing a wide variety of live entertainment to share with your special Valentine, including:

And that’s just a partial list of the shows that will be open Valentine’s Weekend. For a full list of open shows, please go to Branson Shows and select the date(s) that interest you.

Branson’s Titanic Museum Attraction and the romance of Valentine’s Day are a perfect fit as the museum celebrates Sweetheart Month. The Titanic’s elegant, full-sized replica of the “Titanic’s Grand Staircase” is a unique and beautiful spot for a wedding or to renew Wedding Vows on Valentine’s Day or any other special day.

If shopping is in your Valentine’s plans, Branson is the perfect place to do it. With more than 250 different boutiques, national chain stores, flea markets, craft malls, famous-name outlet stores, and specialty shops all over Branson, the historic downtown Branson shopping district, the entertainment-style shopping at Branson Landing, and much more, Branson offers a unique world-class shopping experience for your Valentine.

“In addition to everything else Branson offers to make Valentine’s Day special, you can save money by combining your lodging, shows, and other activities together in one a package,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center (BTC). She points out that for Valentine’s Weekend, BTC is offering a number of packages, such as the Titanic Valentine’s Special and Cupid’s Romantic Getaway Package, that include lodging, show tickets, and more at considerable savings over purchasing them separately.

Why not give the gift of Branson to your special Valentine? Branson Tourism Center’s Wood suggests that for additional information on Branson, or help with planning the perfect Branson Valentine for your sweetheart, please contact BTC and talk with one of their Branson-based Travel Planners who will be delighted to assist you. BTC can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM seven days a week, or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Bigfoot reaches iconic heights with its gigantic 200-foot adventure attraction

Artist's conception of Bigfoot, its iconic 200 foot tower, and its rides.

Artist’s conception of Bigfoot’s 200 foot tower.

The skyline of the famed Branson Strip will soon include “Bigfoot,” featuring what’s sure to become an iconic sight…a 200-foot high tower containing three electrifying high-flying rides, as part of the new Bigfoot Attraction. The attraction, approved by the Branson Board of Alderman at its January 12 meeting, will be located about .8 miles west of the Titanic Museum Attraction on Highway 76 on the site currently occupied by the $1 Shop, and diagonally across Highway 76 from Track Family Fun Parks #5 and its exciting, three-story LumberJack high-rise go-kart track.

Bigfoot’s centerpiece will be a multi-ride adventure tower, approximately 25 feet by 25 feet and rising about 200 feet above the Branson Strip. It will have three different action rides – two thrill rides, and a more sedate scenic ride – with all three having one thing in common; riders will have an exciting experience high above the Branson Strip! They’ll see the Strip and the beauty of the surrounding Ozark Mountains from a unique and constantly changing perspective.

Bigfoot’s three rides are:

Drop Ride: Passengers are strapped into seats outside the tower and travel up its side to the top; there they’ll have a breathtaking view of the Branson Strip and the surrounding scenic wonder of the Ozarks before being released for a thrilling “free fall” back down the side of the tower.

Saddle Sling Ride: Passengers are launched from the ground into the air, accelerating upward until they reach a max vertical height of about 150 feet; where they begin an exciting descent back to earth.

Aerial View Ride: Riders are seated in an enclosed gondola that gently rotates and rises to the top of the tower. At the top, it slowly rotates giving passengers that amazing view mentioned above, one that’s both unique and constantly changing, before being slowly lowered back to its starting point.

For the first time ever, outside of certain special-permitted events, Branson is permitting the operation of food trucks as part of Bigfoot’s Food Court which will have a variety of high quality food trucks near a covered patio area with tables. Diners can sit in comfort and enjoy their food while watching the Branson Strip and people enjoying the various rides of Bigfoot.

The building housing the $1 Shop will be remodeled and contain shops, a public restroom, and other facilities. A spokesperson for the project said that they are shooting for an opening in June, but that is dependent on weather and the manufacturing of the tower and its rides.

“Bigfoot is yet another thrilling and unique adventure that Branson visitors are able to choose from and, pun intended, it certainly is taking the attractions on the Branson Strip to ‘new heights,’” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center.

 

 

A Baker’s Dozen list of the top reasons people chose Branson for their vacations

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The three top reasons people gave for visiting Branson.

“Branson, Missouri, nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, has become a premier vacation destination because of its unique combination of live entertainment, attractions, pristine lakes, world class shopping, natural beauty, and other activities,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “The2014 Branson Visitor Profile, compiled by the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB, based on a survey of 2014 Branson visitors, provides an interesting insight into which of those activities were the primary reasons they chose to visit Branson,” she added.

Here is a Baker’s Dozen list of the top activities sorted in the order of the highest percentages for each:

  1. Live Shows (Branson shows) 59.70%
  2. Silver Dollar City 20.60%
  3. Shopping 18.00%
  4. Excursions (Ride the Ducks, Branson Railways, Down Town Trolley, etc.)18.00%
  5. Go to Branson Landing 13.10%
  6. Downtown Branson/Main Street 11.90%
  7. Unique Local Restaurants 6.60%
  8. Museum attractions 6.50%
  9. Rural Sightseeing 4.30%
  10. Wine Tasting/Winery Tours 3.00%
  11. Outdoor activities 2.60%
  12. Fishing 2.60%
  13. Special Events/Festivals 2.30%

Let’s explore the top three in a little more detail. With the reputation for the number, breadth, and quality of Branson’s shows, it’s no surprise that it would be Number 1 on the list. When Branson’s lineup of its resident shows, that includes a variety such as Presleys’ Country Jubilee, SIX, The Million Dollar Quartet, Grand Jubilee, Shoji Tabuchi, Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express, The Haygoods, Legends in Concert, Dixie Stampede, Billy Dean in Concert with Jarrett, and dozens more, is combined with an outstanding lineup of national touring artists such as The Oak Ridge Boys, The Texas Tenors, The Osmond Brothers, LeAnn Rimes, Ray Stevens, Daniel O’Donnell, Jennifer Nettles, and dozens more, it’s hard to imagine a travel destination offering a more amazing array of live entertainment options.

Number 2 on the list is Branson’s oldest and most popular paid attraction, the international award-winning, Silver Dollar City. This 1880’s style theme park is Branson’s oldest continually operated attraction, and easily its most popular. It features dozens of rides, including the record setting wood coaster, Outlaw Run, and the Wildfire coaster; practicing craftsmen; live shows; six world-class festivals that include An Old Time Christmas; and everything else one would expect from a popular, high quality theme park. And it’s just one from a long list of exciting and fun-filled Branson attractions that includes the Titanic Museum Attraction, celebrating its tenth anniversary in Branson during 2016, and many other exciting activities like go karts, ziplines, indoor and outdoor water parks, zoos, and so much more.

Shopping was the Number 3 reason on the list of why people chose to come to Branson, and for good reason. You’ll find more than 250 different boutiques, national chain stores, flea markets, craft malls, famous-name outlet stores, and specialty shops all over Branson, making it easy to find that long sought after item, unique gift, or big bargain! Whether you stroll along the streets of historic downtown Branson, cruise along the Strip, hop around to the craft malls, or seek entertainment-style shopping at Branson Landing; Branson offers a thrilling shopping experience unrivaled by any national travel destination anywhere near its size.

That’s just the first three items on the list! There are pristine lakes, the natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains, and so much more that makes Branson the ideal place for a short getaway, a great family vacation, or a reunion of any kind. For additional information on all that Branson has to offer, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, and talk with one of their Branson-based Travel Planners who will be delighted to assist you. BTC can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM seven days a week, or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Three fascinating ways you’ll conquer the winter blues in Branson!

Branson's Hilton Convention Center Hotel is just one of the many ways you can pamper yourself and escape the Winter Blues in Branson.

Branson’s Hilton Convention Center Hotel is just one of the many ways you can pamper yourself and escape the Winter Blues in Branson.

“Call it what you will, post-Christmas blues, holiday blues, or one of the many other names for feeling melancholy this time of year, but many suffer a bout with the blues soon after the Christmas holiday season,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “An article entitled Got The Post-Holiday Blues? Here’s How To Beat ‘Em by Catherine Pearson, published in the Huffington Post on January 3, 2016, suggests that one thing people can do to help beat the blues is to ‘Get their pamper on’ by giving themselves a break,” she added. What better way to pamper yourself and take a break than an enjoyable getaway to Branson, Missouri? Let’s take a look at three ways Branson can help you relax, have fun, and ease those winter blues:

1. Relaxing Accommodations: From the quiet and soothing comfort of the Welk Resort, with its award-winning landscaped grounds, and its separate 10,000-square-foot Splash-A-Torium, to the luxury of the Branson’s Hilton Convention Center Hotel overlooking Branson Landing and Lake Taneycomo, to the dozens of other hotels, motels, cabins, and condos, Branson offers a wide choice and variety of accommodations in which to relax and pamper yourself to your heart’s delight.

2.Shopping: How about easing those winter blues with a little shopping therapy? With hundreds of places to shop, Branson is a shopper’s paradise just about any time of year, but even more so during the slower-paced winter season. It’s hard to beat the reduced prices on clothing, housewares, designer shoes, gifts, luggage, and other unique merchandise at Tanger Outlets or The Shoppes at Branson Meadows. Add a unique assortment of flea markets, craft shops, boutiques, art galleries, local eateries, and other specialty shops, including the famous Dick’s 5 & 10, and Branson Landing’s department stores, galleries, and shops, along with lakefront dining establishments, and it’s hard to imagine a better shopping experience than that available in Branson!

3. Fun, Adventure, and Entertainment: Whether in the chill of winter or the heat of summer, Branson offers an unrivaled choice of activities and entertainment, like shows, attractions, museums, scenic walking trails, and so much more. An evening at Grand Jubilee, with the vocals of Jackie Brown, the harmonies of the New South Quartet, the sound of the Grand Band, and comedy courtesy of the multi-talented Jamie Haage, aka Jim Dandy, or an exciting “voyage” aboard the Titanic Museum Attraction as it celebrates its tenth year in Branson, are just a couple of the many fun, adventurous, and entertaining ways to escape the winter blues in Branson.

All it takes to plan your Branson escape is one toll-free phone call to the Branson Tourism Center, and talking with one of their Branson-based Travel Planners who will be delighted to assist you in planning the perfect Branson getaway. BTC can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM seven days a week, or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.