The Best of Branson July 2016 Insider Highlights

Part of the excitement and action of Buckets N Boards.

Part of the excitement and action of Buckets N Boards.

“With so many families vacationing in Branson during July, the sound of people laughing and having fun together is just about at every turn, as they enjoy all that Branson has to offer,” said Preston Garrison, the Operations Manager Branson Tourism Center. “From the delightful sandy beach on Table Rock Lake, to the new 150-foot tall Branson Ferris Wheel, acrobats, amazing pets, tigers, and over 100 live shows and other attractions Branson has a ‘lot’ of something for everyone in your family to enjoy,” he added.

In addition to everything else Branson offers, here’s our highlight list, containing some of the best of the additional events going on in Branson during July, including our Featured Show, Limited Engagement, and Event of the Month:

Featured Show of the Month: Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies brings some of Ireland’s best to Branson!  This exciting production combines two great groups of performers; four beautiful ladies with angelic voices and five of the country’s finest tenors performing a unique blend of traditional folk ballads and classical and adult contemporary favorites.

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: Buckets N Boards delivers Branson entertainment that easily stands out in a long list of excellent shows!  Co-creators Matt and Gareth share their impeccable and slightly wacky skills that include precise percussion on a variety of surfaces, accompanied by delightfully silly songs, tap dancing, and lots of laughter!

 Featured Event of the Month: There just has to be two this month. Branson has a number of outstanding fireworks displays over the Fourth of July Weekend. Click here for more information. In addition, Santa Claus is coming to Branson in a big way as hundreds of Santa Clauses and Mrs. Santa Clauses come to Branson for the 10th Annual Discover Santa Convention July 6 through 10. Don’t miss the “Parade of Red Suits,” as they parade down the Branson Landing Promenade together starting at 8:00 AM on July 7. It is one of the largest gatherings of Santa’s anywhere and is something unique and wonderful for families to enjoy together.

LIMITED ENGAGEMENT PERFORMANCES (Sorted by starting date)

Jul 1: Crystal Gayle & TG Sheppard
Jul 1-Jul 16: Rockapella
Jul 1-29: Prince Ivan
Jul 1-Jul 31: Buckets N Boards
Jul 15: Tanya Tucker
Jul 23: Wynonna Judd

SPECIAL EVENT HIGHLIGHTS (Sorted by starting date.)

Jul 1 – Jul 24: Silver Dollar City Star Spangled Summer Festival
Jul 1 – Jul 31: 2016 World Exclusive Exhibit – Titanic Museum Attraction
Jul 2 – Jul 4: List of 4th of July Fire Works Displays and Celebrations
Jul 6 – Jul 10: Branson Star Power at Branson Convention Center
Jul 6 – Jul 10: Discover Santa 2016 Convention
Jul 7: Discover Santa 2016 – “The Parade of Red Suits”
Jul 9: Promenade Pop-Up Shop
Jul 16: Ozarks Teen Challenge – Home of Hope 5K
Jul 16: Jubilation Jazz Big Band Performance
Jul 17 – Jul 23: FASA’s Girls World Series 14U to 18U
Jul 19 – Jul 24: Showbiz National Talent Competition – 2016 National Finals
Jul 24 – Jul 30: FASA’s Girls World Series 7U to 12U
Jul 30 – Aug 5: Ball Parks of America Bring the Lumber Baseball Tournament

For additional information on these events, or any of Branson’s shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com, or calling 1-800-785-1550.

Grand Country is the place for grand shows, food and fun!

 

 

The quartet "New South," Luke Menard, left, David Ragan, Jon Drockelman; and Mark McCauley.

The quartet “New South,” Luke Menard, left, David Ragan, Jon Drockelman; and Mark McCauley.

“Regardless of the weather or the time of the year, if you’re looking for grand live entertainment, food, and fun in one place, the Grand Country Complex is hard to beat,” said Preston Garrison, the Operations Manager for the Branson Tourism Center. “With all it offers, Grand Country is virtually a ‘one stop’ vacation’ destination,” he continued.

Branson is noted for its shows and, from country and comedy to pets and gospel, the Grand Country complex’s “Grand Country Music Hall” offers a variety of shows sure to entertain just about every member of the family. A great way for families with children to start their day is by seeing Amazing Pets, a show that delights children and the young of heart. Along with many other magical surprises, a loveable troupe of cats and dogs, many which have been rescued from dog pounds and humane societies across the country, light up the faces of their audience with excitement, awe, and anticipation as they perform their amazing feats.

The award winning  Grand Jubilee performs the evening show in the Music Hall. Produced by Mike Patrick, and featuring one of Branson’s most rewarded quartets, “New South,” the vocals of Jackie Brown, along with the comedy and talents of Jamie Haage as “Jim Dandy,” this show is perennially listed on BTC’s Most Popular Shows List.

In a recent review of the Grand Jubilee I said, “It might seem like a cliché, but the Grand Jubilee is truly ‘grand’ entertainment. I laughed until I hurt, listened to some of the most talented musicians and vocalists I have ever heard, in Branson or anywhere else, and was thoroughly entertained by a fast moving production that held my interest throughout. It was over all too quickly.”

And that’s just two of the many shows that perform in the Music Hall. In addition, it is the home of Down Home Country, Comedy Jamboree, New South Gospel, Branson Country USA, Sunday Gospel Jubilee and Ozark Mountain Jubilee.

The Grand Country Inn.

The Grand Country Inn.

The “Grand Country Inn” offers a variety of clean, relaxing and spacious rooms with full amenities. “Splash Country Indoors,” Missouri’s first indoor water park, is connected to the Inn offering its guests 20,000 square feet of spraying, tumbling, and falling, watery fun, 365 days a year, regardless of what the weather is like outside.

Its “Grand Country Buffet” is one of Branson’s most popular buffets offering a bewildering selection of items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. “Pappa Grand’s Pizza” and “Glenn’s Frozen Custard” are also located within the complex and there are a number of restaurants within walking distance including, one of Branson’s most popular, “Billy Bob’s Dairyland.”

Grand Country also offers many other exciting things for families to enjoy. This includes a candy and fudge shop, huge gift shop, both indoor and outdoor miniature golf, and the “Fun Spot,” featuring a state of the art video arcade game facility that has the most popular video and arcade games of every style. From motocross racing to space exploring, it has all the latest arcade attractions including the “White River Black Light Mini-Golf Course” in 3D; Mini-Bowling with cool lights illuminating the bowling lanes along with rockin’ videos and music and much more

For additional information on the Grand Country Complex, its shows, lodging, or entertainment, please contact the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Don’t miss what happens when the incredible Shoji Tabuchi fiddles around

The incredible Shoji Tabuchi "fiddling around."

The incredible Shoji Tabuchi “fiddling around.”

The first time I saw Shoji Tabuchi perform in Branson he said, “The fiddle and violin are the same instrument, their difference is how you ‘fiddle around’ with them.” I walked out of that performance in awe of just how well he “fiddled around,” thinking to myself, “Wow, that was remarkable.” Thankfully, some things never change except for the better, and recently, over three decades later, as I walked out of the Shoji Tabuchi Show, I thought, “Wow, that was so awesome!”

Another word that comes to mind and is often used to describe what Shoji does with the violin/ fiddle is, “Incredible.” Call it what you will, but from his opening number, Live and Let Die, from the James Bond movie of the same title, to his last, How Great Thou Art, this master musician and consummate entertainer, provides a one of a kind performance without equal in Branson.

If you love fiddle and violin music, this is definitely the show for you. Although Branson is blessed with some fine fiddle and violin players, no other show features a fiddle/violin player of Shoji’s talent playing the variety of music he performs during the show. It makes no difference if it’s classical, Texas Swing, country, gospel, or rock; music from Broadway and movies, Elvis Presley, or Led Zeppelin, he plays them all with that unique Tabuchi style and energy.

Three of my favorite pieces, selected from many, show the diversity of the music he plays. The classical segment on the violin, with Humoresque, Brahms Lullaby ,and Little Night Music was a pure pleasure to hear and watch as he blends them together into a beautiful one of a kind arrangement and experience. His fiddle performance of the song Listen to the Mocking Bird, delighted the audience as did his magnificent and inspirational performance of, what I consider his signature piece, Through the Eyes of Love from the movie “Ice Castles.”

I admit that I am an unabashed Shoji Tabuchi fan and that I love great fiddle and violin playing, so this show is right up my alley from that perspective, but it is so much more. The artful way that is combined with his extremely talented band, dancers, and vocalists, along with some neat sets, and colorful costuming adds even more excitement and variety to this extremely entertaining show. The band consists of Duggie Duggan, Band Director and guitarist; Carl Hose, trombone; Louis Claussen, piano; William Green, percussion; Anthony Walter, drums; and Landon Rolf, bass. The dancer and vocalists are Norvin Breeck, Adam Henry, Jeremy Sterling, and Christina Lingo-Tabuchi, who is also the featured vocalist.

Christina does a number of vocals throughout the show. My personal favorite was her performance of Leanne Womack’s I Hope You Dance, which she dedicated to her daughter Bailey-Jae, and  was as inspirational as it was beautifully sung.

The the giant Japanese "Odaiko," drum.

The the giant Japanese “Odaiko,” drum.

From chickens to cows and trains to drums, the show is filled with wonderful surprises. One of my favorites, and an obvious crown pleaser, was the “Taiko Drums,” from Shoji’s native Japan. The drummers, play three different Japanese drums, including the giant “Odaiko,” in a unique one of a kind performance. Don’t miss the movements of the drummers on the smaller drums! The whole segment from the drums to the costuming, Shoji playing Sakura Sakura, and his “duet” of “Sukiyaki,” with his daughter, Christina, is a unique experience that will not soon be forgotten.

In a previous review of this show I said, “Simply put, Shoji Tabuchi is a master at his craft, loves what he does, relates to his audience not only on a musical, but personal level, surrounds himself with some of the best musicians, singers and dancers in Branson and stars in a unique, colorful and exciting one of kind entertainment production.” After seeing his 2016 show all I can say is, “Ditto!” For additional information or tickets for the Shoji Tabuchi Show 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.

From Oreos to cockatoos Branson’s magic is no illusion!

They add the magic to some of Branson’s most popular magic shows, Rick and Tara Thomas, Reza,and Dave and Denise Hamner.

They add the magic to some of Branson’s most popular magic shows, Rick and Tara Thomas, Reza,and Dave and Denise Hamner.

“Branson has a ‘magical’ variety of things for families to see and do together,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “That ‘magic’ becomes even more so, in a truly magical sense, when one considers the variety of magic shows available for Branson visitors to enjoy,” she added.

Here are three of Branson’s most popular magic shows, illustrating, not only that variety, but that “Branson’s spectacular magic is no illusion:”

Illusionist Rick Thomas: From the time the show starts until it ends with a “blast,” it is two hours of truly magical non-stop entertainment with a variety of illusions; close up magic; what I call “mind magic;” doves, dogs, color, brightness, dancing, music and action that will “knock your socks off.” New this year, in every show one lucky audience member will be chosen to come up on stage and sit in a helicopter, only to disappear, and reappear, along with the helicopter. The beauty, elegance, grace, and dancing artistry of his wife, Tara, adds a special and unique dimension to the show and many of its illusions.

Along with the magic, he demonstrates an amazing ability to interact with the kids in the audience, actually uses some of them in his illusions, and delivers his special inspiring message to them, “Nothing happens until you dream,” in a spectacular and fun filled way. In a review of this show I wrote, “The magic is illusionary, but the fun, excitement and enjoyment I experienced, and witnessed others enjoying was real.” In fact, it was so real it was actually magical.

Reza – Edge of Illusion: This young master illusionist, considered one of the hottest artists in the world of magic today, is out to change the world’s perception of the centuries-old art of magic with a show that’s captivating from beginning to end. Although there’s still a lot of appreciation for the old-style tricks; the disappearing birds, or the beautiful assistant being sawed in half, don’t expect the predictable from this fresh, cutting edge magician. His performance will “bewilder and befuddle your brain” with a variety of magic, including everything from big dazzling illusions to charming sleight-of-hand trickery, leaving you to scratch your head as you try to rationalize what your eyes have seen with what you know is humanly impossible! Even eating an Oreo becomes a magical experience that most will not soon forget.

Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show: Although, this show features a variety of entertainment, its magical centerpiece is the performance of master illusionists, Dave and Denise Hamner as these award winning illusionists perform magic that is “at once, awe-inspiring, dazzling, and touching.” Their spectacular signature illusion thrills and delights the audience, as gorgeous macaws and cockatoos appear out of nowhere and fly out into the theatre, over and around them. Another audience favorite is when a beautiful lady is turned into “Gakita the Gorilla” right in front of their eyes. And that’s just two of the many magical moments throughout the show which is capped off with their spectacular magical Veterans Tribute Finale.

For additional information or tickets for these, 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 awesome things families can enjoy for free in Branson

Dick's 5 & 10 in hisotirc downtown Branson provides one of the most unique shopping "adventures" available anywhere.

Dick’s 5 & 10 in historic downtown Branson provides one of the most unique family shopping “adventures” available anywhere.

“From live shows, to great attractions, and other activities, Branson is just filled with wonderful ways for families to have the best vacation ever,” said Preston Garrison, the Operations Manager for the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest providers of tourism services and information. “Although most of Branson’s great shows and exciting attractions involve a charge, there are many things that families can enjoy together that are free,” he added.

Here’s a list of five, from among many, free things available in Branson, that we have selected because they represent a broad variety of things that families can enjoy together, are multi-age inclusive, are fun, and are either of a short duration or permit the flexibility to easily fit in with other activities such as shows and attractions or the attention span of younger children. In addition, items 1 through 3 are within five minutes of each other as are items 4 and 5:

1. Feed the Lake Taneycomo Ducks and Geese: Located directly in front of Scotty’s Trout Dock & Marina, near the public boat loading ramp on the southeastern corner of the City of Branson’s Camp Ground, is the “unofficial” duck feeding area that most people coming to Branson never see. “Scotty,” Lamar Patton, the owner of Scotty’s, pointed out that depending on the season, there are about 50 to 200 Mallard ducks, Canada Geese and other water fowl swimming around between his dock and the shoreline waiting for an easy meal.

Scotty sells bags of corn to feed them, but he points out that they will also eat bread and crackers etc. The duck feeding area is located just feet from the parking area and provides, what in the old days was called “a Kodak moment;” a wonderful opportunity to get some great pictures of the family feeding the ducks.

The free downtown trolley is a great way for families to get an overview of Historic downtown Branson, Branson Landing, and Lake Taneycomo.

The free downtown trolley is a great way for families to get an overview of Historic downtown Branson, Branson Landing, and Lake Taneycomo.

2. Historic Downtown Branson’s “Discovery Trolley: The Trolley ride is a great way to get an overview and perspective of the historic downtown area, the Branson Convention Center and Branson Landing. Along the way, among other things, you will pass a number of Branson landmarks including the grave site of the man the city of Branson is named after, Ruben S. Branson; the Owens Theatre, Branson’s first theatre; the Branson Convention Center; Branson Landing; Lake Taneycomo and the spot where the “Baldknobbers” performed Branson’s first live music show over 53 years ago.

Stop #2 in historic downtown Branson, located on Commercial Street at the east end of the public parking lot at the southwest corner of Commercial and Atlantic Street, is an excellent place to board the trolley. You will have three hours free parking and the trolley will drop you right back where it picked you up after completing its 15 to 20 minute loop.

3. 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!”

4.  Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery: The “Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery,” is located less than about ten minutes from the famed Branson Strip at the foot of Table Rock Dam just off of State Highway 165. It is operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation and is part of a complex occupying 211 acres along with a “Conservation Center” consisting of trails, a wild life refuge, and a Visitor Center that is visited by a quarter of a million plus visitors annually.

The inside of the Visitor Center features an interesting nature display and a short video on the hatchery and the process involved with producing the trout that makes Lake Taneycomo one of the premier trout fisheries in the nation. It also has a huge aquarium with some “lunker” Brown and Rainbow Trout showing the size that some of the trout in Lake Taneycomo can reach.

Guided tours of the hatchery depart the Visitors Center from Memorial Day to Labor Day on weekdays at 10 and 11 a.m. and 1 and 2 p.m. Visitors are welcome to tour the “race ways,” “trout runs,” by themselves during normal business hours. They will see thousands of trout in the various stages of development from the smallest of trout to the large “brood stock” that is used to produce them. The Visitor Center opens at 9:00 a.m. every day except, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

A short, early morning walk along one of their extremely accessible lakeside trails, just five or ten minutes, can provide a unique sight that will not be soon forgotten. In the early morning, the fog rising off of lake Taneycomo, because of the difference in its cold temperature and the warm air, is a beautiful thing to see as it interacts with winds and the rising sun.

Table Rock Lake's Dewey Short Visitors Center on south end of Table Rock Dam.

Table Rock Lake’s Dewey Short Visitors Center on south end of Table Rock Dam.

5.  The Dewey Short Regional Visitors Center at Table Rock Dam: The new $7.9 million, 15,000 square foot U.S. Army Corps of Engineers visitor center has been called “the crown jewel of Table Rock Lake” and for good reason. It is one of only 11 Class A visitor centers in the U.S. and offers an unparalleled view of two of Branson’s lakes, Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo that can be seen from the floor to ceiling glass windows on the Table Rock Lake side of the building. Among other things, the Center features interactive activities, displays on area history, nature and the inner workings of Table Rock Dam, movies, a gift shop with unique merchandise and an interesting film on the construction of Table Rock Dam.

And that’s just five of the many free activities available. From grist mills, to scenic overlooks, a giant Bass kids can stand in, a $7.5 million synchronized fire, water and music show, nature and hiking trails, parks and more, Branson has a wide choice of free activities that families can enjoy together. For more information on these activities, Branson shows, attractions and lodging, please feel free to call the Branson Tourism Center toll free at 1-800-785-1550.

 

 

How can one unique Branson show take you from Ireland to Broadway?

Dublin's Irish Tenors and Celtic Ladies sharing fun and music in a Irish Publ setting.

Dublin’s Irish Tenors and Celtic Ladies sharing fun and music in a Irish Pub setting.

Simply put, with great performers, music, energy, and choreography. As I sat in the King’s Castle Theatre in Branson recently for a performance of Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies, I was amazed that one show could have so much vocal talent and cover such a wide variety of music. From its Irish-Celtic roots to opera, this show offers a variety of music that truly has something for every musical taste, but especially for those wanting to experience Irish and Celtic music.

The show is basically divided into two parts; the first half, primarily Irish and Celtic music and the second half, presenting a wide variety of “their” favorite music. As they explain, Irish music is really a form of Celtic music which includes the music of Ireland, Scotland and other countries from that region. For purposes of this piece I will refer to it as Irish music.

From the very first number to the very last number of the first half, the beautiful vocals of Celtic Ladies, Amber Casey, Sarah Hunter, Maggie Moore, and Heather Petersen and Dublin’s Irish Tenors, Ryan Walton, Ollie Barrow, Jay McManus, James Allen, and Rob Quibell, treat the audience to one Irish song after another. It is a wonderful, inspiring, and colorful musical journey to the Emerald Isle and the land of the Celts.

From the many Irish numbers performed, my two favorites were the opening number of the show, “Danny Boy,” sung beautifully by the Celtic Ladies and the Irish folk song “Maggie” so poignantly sung by James Allen and dedicated to all those serving in our country’s Armed Forces. The last set of the first half, from the “Drunken Sailor” to “Phil The Fluther’s Ball,” was so much fun to watch and hear.

Jay McManus during his Irish Dance performance.

Jay McManus during his Irish Dance performance.

It was highlighted by the marvelous Irish dancing of Jay McManus and was a perfect illustration of how the vocal talent and energy of its performers, colorful costuming, choreography, and energy is combined into every element of the show. What a tremendous way to end the first half!

During the second half of the show, the cast presents some of their favorite numbers which covers a variety of music from Broadway to opera all sung and performed to perfection and, along with a few surprises, will have a musical favorite for just about everyone. Two of my favorite numbers from this half of the show were “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” which is not only my favorite song, but the very first song that the Dublin’s Irish Tenors and the Celtic Ladies ever sang together. Maggie Moore’s performance of “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s opera Turandot was magnificent.

With every show a common question is, “Will children enjoy this show?” There are no animals, peer performances by other children or segments specifically designed for children, but when combined with its wide variety of music, sets, costuming, and dancing, children who have an appreciation of music or dancing should love this show.

From Ireland to Broadway, the shows unique blend of Celtic music mixed with just the right amount of current contemporary and classical favorites is a joy to experience and will be enjoyed by “music lovers of all ages.” For additional information or tickets for Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies or any of Branson’s shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Branson’s amazing shows are absolutely not just country!

The Million Dollar Quartet, Moses, and Acrobats of China illustrate the diversity of Branson's shows.Branson's many non-country music shows

The Million Dollar Quartet, Moses, and Acrobats of China illustrate the diversity of Branson’s shows.

“It’s amazing how many people still think that Branson’s live shows are predominantly country,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “The amazing truth is that, while Branson offers some of the finest country music shows available anywhere, the majority of Branson’s great shows are absolutely not country and offer a wide variety of entertainment covering about every musical genre and things as diversified as biblical spectaculars, magic, acrobatics, and so, much more,” she continued.

From dozens, here’s ten shows, mostly from our list of Branson’s Most Popular Shows, that illustrate the diversity and excitement of the live shows Branson offers every day:

Acrobats of China is a colorful fast moving “circus” type of show appealing to children because of its many different acts of strength, agility, coordination and daring, along with constant action, colorful costumes, beauty and pageantry. The same thing that makes it a great entertainment experience for children makes it a great show for adults too

Amazing Pets will hold children’s interest from the beginning to the end. It combines the antics of well-trained cats and dogs, many of whom were rescued from animal shelters, and beautiful exotic birds with costuming, and an execution that provides a great entertainment experience for children and adults alike. Without spoiling the surprise, one thing is for sure, whether it’s the most unusual marriage ceremony most people have ever seen or a duplication of the cat jumping from the wire in the movie “Big Fish,” the antics of these pets are truly “amazing.”

Dixie Stampede features exciting entertainment and a fantastic four-course feast eaten “Dixie Stampede Style.” “Dixie” boasts a variety of fun features that include lumberjack relay, racing pigs, buffalo, 32 beautiful horses, all presented amid constant excitement, color, and pageantry. Add in the excitement of a friendly competition and you have an adventure and entertainment experience that the whole family will be immersed in from beginning to end.

Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies: Some of Ireland’s best bring a bit of Ireland to Branson. This exciting production combines two great groups of performers; four beautiful ladies with angelic voices and five of the country’s finest tenors, performing a unique blend of traditional Irish folk ballads and classical and adult contemporary favorites.

The Haygoods: An amazing Branson experience! Excellent choreography, exquisite harmonies, state-of-the-art sound and special effects, a delightful sense of humor, and energy that never quits, you get it all in one show from one phenomenal family!

Illusionist Rick Thomas will have you wondering if it’s only an illusion…or truly magic? He uses his exceptional showmanship and incredible gracefulness, honed by years of ballroom dancing, to present a Branson show of stunning illusions and spectacular beauty! In doing so, he demonstrates an amazing ability to interact with the kids in the audience, actually uses some of them in his illusions, and has a special inspiring message for them.

Million Dollar Quartet: A singular moment, when four of the most extraordinary musical talents of our time, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins, came together for one unforgettable night, is captured in this amazing production based on an actual event! Even neater, is the fact that the music in this show, songs such as That’s All Right, I Walk the Line, Riders in the Sky, Hound Dog, Peace in the Valley, Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, Blue Suede Shoes, and many more, are songs many already know and grew up with, not songs specifically written for the show.

Moses: Sight and Sound’s new Branson spectacular brings the Bible tale of Moses to life on its giant 300-foot wrap around stage. This epic and powerful story of one man’s journey, from being a humble and broken man, to the leader used by God to deliver the children of Israel from enslavement, is presented by a phenomenal cast with astonishing sets, live animals, wonderful music, and stunning costumes.

Reza – Edge of Illusion: Reza, the young master illusionist is back in Branson and is ready to bewilder and befuddle your brain with everything from big dazzling illusions to charming sleight-of-hand trickery!  “Reza” always leaves you scratching your head; struggling to rationalize what your eyes have seen with what you know is humanly impossible!

SIX: Branson’s sensational sibling singing group that, quite simply, defines the art of performing music without instruments! It’s sensational harmonizing, polished professionalism, zany on-stage antics presented by six of the most talented guys you’ll ever meet!

Wood points out that these are just ten from literally dozens of non-country shows that Branson visitors can pick from on a daily basis. For more information on these, and all the other shows that Branson offers, please 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.

Branson blasts into 4th of July with amazing fireworks displays

A beautiful firework burst lighting up the Brasnon sky!

A beautiful firework burst lighting up the Branson sky!

“One of the most common questions we are asked at this time of year is, ‘Are there 4th of July Fireworks and where’s the best place to see them?'” said Preston Garrison, the Operations Manager for the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest providers of tourism services and information. “Which one is the ‘best’ is an individual choice, but one thing is for certain, starting with the College of the Ozarks’ “Honor America” on June 26, Branson visitors will have an unrivaled variety of quality displays to pick from,” he added.

Here is a list of some of Branson’s major “4th of July” fireworks displays along with contact and other information:

Name: 27th College of the Ozarks “Honor America”
Place: College of the Ozarks
Phone: 417-690-2212
Date/Time(s) /Comment(s): June 26 starting at 6:00 PM with entertainment by the cast from Red, Hot & Blue and The Petersen Family Band. A Patriotic Program begins at 8:30 PM followed by a spectacular fireworks display.

Name: 29th Annual Fireburst Fireworks Display
Place: Kimberling City
Phone: Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce – 417-739-2564
Date/Time/Comment(s): July 2 at dusk. Good Viewing Area: Right on Route 13 in downtown Kimberling City, near Kimberling City Shopping Mall, about 6 miles south of Branson West. It can also be viewed very well from Table Rock Lake near the north end of the bridge.

Name: Branson Landing 9th Annual “Liberty Light Up”
Place: Branson Landing Town Square by Fountains
Phone: Branson Landing – 417-239-3002
Date/Time(s) /Comment(s): July 3, The Liberty Light Up Concert featuring Resurrection – A Journey Tribute! at 8 PM. Following their performance, the skies over Lake Taneycomo will light up with an amazing choreographed fireworks display show produced by Gateway Fireworks Displays, from St. Louis, MO.

Name: Main Street Marina’s Lake Queen Branson Landing Fireworks Cruise
Place: Boarding at Main Street Marina, 9 South Boardwalk, Branson Landing Bass Pro Parking Lot starts at 8:00 PM with cruise departing promptly at 8:45 PM
Phone: Branson Tourism Center – 417-785-1550
Date/Time(s) /Comment(s): July 3. This is a unique and exciting way to see the Branson Landing fireworks display while cruising aboard the Lake Queen on Lake Taneycomo. On July 3rd the boat will be positioned to provide a spectacular and unique view of the Branson Landing fireworks display amid an armada of other boats.

Name: Fireworks at Chateau on the Lake
Place: Chateau on the Lake just north of Table Rock Dam on State Highway 165/265
Phone: Chateau on the Lake – 417-334-1161 or 888-333-5253
Date/Time/Comment(s): July 3 at dusk. Easily and conveniently viewed for free from Table Rock Lake via boat or park in loop just south of new overrun floodgates on Table Rock Dam or the Chateau’s public areas.

Although not advertised as such, the 8:00 PM dinner cruise of the Showboat Branson Belle has been known has been known to join the armada of boats on Table Rock Lake viewing the Chateau on the Lake fireworks display.

Name: Hollister’s 62nd Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration
Place: Historic Downing Street in Hollister
Phone: City of Hollister – 417-334-3262
Date/Time/Comment(s): July 4 at dusk. Good Viewing Area: Along Business Hwy 65 in Historic downtown Hollister. Area’s oldest fireworks display.

Branson Tourism Center’s Garrison reminds those planning to see one of the fireworks displays that they are very popular and suggests planning to arrive, at least an hour before dusk and to bring your own chairs etc. He also recommends making advance reservations for lodging, attractions and shows and offers the services of the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, in that regard. BTC may be contacted either through its toll free number, 1-800-785-1550, or its website www.BransonTourismCenter.Com.

 

The amazing skill of The Acrobats of China is simply mind-blowing entertainment!

Fun shot of the cast of The Acrobats of China Featuring The New Shanghai Circus

Fun shot of the cast of The Acrobats of China Featuring The New Shanghai Circus

Over the years, different adjectives, such as “incredible” and “amazing” have been used to describe the Acrobats of China Featuring The New Shanghai Circus Branson show. After seeing their 2016 performance yesterday [May 25, 2016] I would have to add one more, “unbelievable,” as one amazing act after another performed incredible acrobatic feats that, in many cases, seemed “magical,” even though I knew it was the skill, endurance, strength, and agility of some amazing performers actually performing what I was seeing.

I have seen this show many times during the 18 years it has been performing in Branson and am so entertained and amazed each time I see it, but one thing has been constant, the bar is raised each year even though the previous year’s show was top notch, and 2016 is no exception. From the use of a rider on a hover board, to changes in costuming, music, and choreography as well as the acts themselves, it was like I was seeing a brand new show and, what a show it was!

Except for intermission, from the time the curtain went up until they took their final bow, there is a fresh constant flow of exciting acts from strength acts, and the juggling of everything from drums, hats, and humans to pole climbing, high-flying Silks, amazing group cycle riding, and much more. Each act is like a separate show, in terms of colorful costuming, set design, lighting, choreography, music, and presentation yet they flow seamlessly from one to the other with no dead time providing about 2 hours of the most amazing, incredible, and unbelievable entertainment in Branson.

I had the opportunity to talk with a grandmother and her six-year-old granddaughter who were visiting Branson from Moberly Mo. Six-year-old Belle said that she really liked the show and thought that other kids her age would too. The grandmother said that she had brought her older granddaughter to see the show several years ago and liked it so much that she brought her two younger granddaughters back to see it this year. When I asked her if she liked it she said that it was great and that she was really enjoying it.

I also asked, “Do you think that this show can entertain kids and adults simultaneously?” With a big smile on her face she replied, “Definitely!” Particularly with Branson entering that part of its season where families, with kids of all ages, come for vacation that’s important. In terms of content, all the Branson shows that I have seen over the last 30 years are “kid friendly” but, in terms of things in a show that will hold their interest throughout the majority of the show there are very few. There are fewer yet that can entertain both kids and adults simultaneously throughout the majority of the show. The Acrobats of China Featuring The New Shanghai Circus, is absolutely one of those few shows!

Typically, when I review a show I pick three of my favorite things to emphasize. For this show that would be:

The Human Strength was a demonstration of strength, beauty, agility, and elegance.

The Human Strength set is a demonstration of strength, beauty, agility, and elegance.

Human Strength: A beautiful, graceful, and elegant demonstration of strength performed by a man and three girls. It was amazing and easily the most enjoyable strength act I have ever seen.

Cycling: It had all the beauty, color, excitement, and daring that I expected, based on what I have seen in the past, and “then some.” It’s almost amazing when one of the riders flips from one moving cycle to the other and how many they fit on one cycle. No, actually, it’s unbelievable, but I saw it with my own eyes!

Rope Skills: It has rope twirling, as you have never seen it before, performed by both individuals and groups as well as a jump rope set, unlike anything I have ever seen. Figuratively speaking, this unique hi energy act blew my socks off.

Hoop Diving: Folks this isn’t your grandmother’s hoop diving act. This high energy high flying act had more action going on than you could shake a stick at. Even though I had seen hoop diving in the show before, this segment was unbelievable as these guys take hoop diving to a new exciting level.

I know there are four, but I couldn’t help myself.

If you are looking for a Branson show filled with hi energy, color, daring, and excitement that will entertain kids and adults simultaneously as they sit on the edge of their seat waiting to see what’s coming next, the Acrobats of China Featuring The New Shanghai Circus is your show. For additional information or tickets please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

The Best of Branson June 2016 Insider Highlights

The "Amazing Pets Show" and "Silver Dollar City's Star Spangled Summer Festival," featuring the return of The Harlem Globetrotters, celebrating their 90th Anniversary, are two of the Branson Tourism Center's featured events for June.

The “Amazing Pets Show” and “Silver Dollar City’s Star Spangled Summer Festival,” featuring the return of The Harlem Globetrotters, celebrating their 90th Anniversary, are two of the Branson Tourism Center’s featured events for June.

“With school out and families coming to Branson for their vacations, there’s a special feeling in the air,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “From Silver Dollar City on the west, to the boats of Main Street Lake Cruises at Branson Landing on the east, it’s filled with happy smiling families enjoying each other as they share the fun, excitement and adventure of sharing Branson memories that could last for a lifetime,” she added

Along with our highlight list, containing some of the best of what’s going on in Branson during June, here’s our Featured Show, Limited Engagement, and Event of the Month:

Featured Show of the Month: The whole family, especially the kids will love the Amazing Pets show featuring “more than 30 happy, well-trained critters performing a wide array of tricks” that’s a touch of magic, a bit of mayhem, and a whole lot of furry frivolity and fun! “These are everyday house pets! Cats galore, cuddly canines, and even brilliantly colored exotic birds who put on a show that delight’s all ages. Well-respected animal trainer, Valery Tsoraev, has created a delightful line-up of animal acrobatics and tricks, and has performed with the famous Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars as well as being featured with one of his incredible cats in the movie, Big Fish. “He has cared for these beautiful creatures, including cats adopted from shelters and those that have simply wandered into his life, and taught them how to entertain and enjoy the affection and encouragement from their human co-stars and their adoring audiences.”

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: Rockapella, formed in the mid-80’s, is pretty much the group who wrote the book on making music without instruments. They expertly deliver original compositions, Motown classics, pop, and soul music, all without the aid of the usual guitar, bass, keyboard, and drums making all the sounds themselves. They have enjoyed a phenomenal career since their inception and introduction “to a broad audience on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, an incredibly popular PBS show in the 90’s.” Those loving a cappella music will not want to miss the opportunity to experience Rockapella while it’s in Branson for a 25 performance limited engagement, starting on June 13.

Featured Event of the Month: Silver Dollar City Star Spangled Summer Festival, starting June 11 will feature the return of The Harlem Globetrotters, celebrating their 90th Anniversary, The Magic of Peter Gossamer – Up Close & Personal, Championship Cloggers, Meet and Greets and Breakfasts with kid’s favorite cartoon characters, and much more. Of course, all this will be in addition to the other 40 rides, attractions, activities, and excitement one would expect from a world class theme park including “the world’s most daring wood coaster – Outlaw Run.”

LIMITED ENGAGEMENT PERFORMANCES (Sorted by starting date)

160524 RockapellaJune 10: Diamond Rio
June 13-June 30: Rockapella
June 15: Huey Lewis and The News
June 17: Sara Evans

SPECIAL EVENT HIGHLIGHTS (Sorted by starting date.)

June 2 – June 5: Branson Z Fest
Jun 4: Afternoon Tea – Keeter Center
Jun 11: Run for a Vet; 5K & Half Marathon
Jun 11: Promenade Pop-Up Shop
Jun 11: 32nd Annual Oinklawn Downs Pig Races – Charity Fundraiser
Jun 11 – Jun 18: Law Enforcement Recognition Week Celebration in Branson
Jun 11 – Jul 24: Silver Dollar City Star Spangled Summer Festival
Jun 12: Tanger Club Member Exclusive Event – Bring A Friend
Jun 16: Law Enforcement Recognition Week – Light Cruise Car Parade
Jun 18: 2nd Annual Art Walk – Downtown Branson & Hollister
Jun 18: Branson Landing Celebrates 10 Years Concerts & Fireworks
Jun 18 – Jun 24: Ball Parks of America Opening Week Baseball Tournament
Jun 19: Father’s Day
Jun 19: Father’s Day Brunch and Car Show at Keeter Center
Jun 19: Chateau on the Lake Father’s Day Champagne Brunch
Jun 19: The Taneycomo Festival Jazz Orchestra – Live in Concert
Jun 26: Honor America “4th of July” Celebration – College of the Ozarks

For additional information on these events, or any of Branson’s shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com, or calling 1-800-785-1550.