BRANSON, Mo., October 31, 2012 — In Branson, Missouri, last glimmer of Halloween and the Jack O Lantern is quickly replaced by the glow of millions of sparkling Christmas lights as it begins its celebration of Ozark Mountain Christmas. Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center said, “At this time of the year, one of the questions we are asked the most is, ‘Where are the best places to see Christmas lights?’”
Johnson points out that the entire Branson area is decorated for Christmas. However, in terms of Christmas lighting displays, by far the three areas that are the most extensively decorated and attract the most visitors to see their lights are Silver Dollar City with its Old Time Christmas, Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights and the Branson Area Festival of Lights.
Silver Dollar City, Branson’s oldest and most popular paid attraction is an 1880s-styled theme park that hosts a number of world class festivals each year. Its last festival each year is An Old Time Christmas, running from November 3 through December 30 this year. It has been recognized as one of the nation’s top theme park Christmas celebrations as it is transformed into a glowing Christmas spectacular with over four million sparkling lights throughout the park and a twice nightly 100,000 light Holiday Light Parade that winds through Silver Dollar City’s town square and by its five-story musical Special Effects Christmas Tree adorned with over one million colorful, sparkling and twinkling lights.
The Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights is a drive through light display located east of Silver Dollar City on Highway 76 between it and the famed “Branson Strip” on the 160 acre Shepherd of the Hills Homestead. The Trail of Lights is unlike any Christmas lighting display anywhere. Its two and a half miles has been integrated into the natural terrain of the “Trail that Nobody Knows How Old” made famous by Harold Bell Wright in his novel, “The Shepherd of the Hills,” offering a Christmas wonderland unlike anything else anywhere.
As would be expected, the drive through includes millions of colored Christmas lights. It also includes hundreds of beautiful displays, most in their own themed area including music; many animated scenes beautiful lighted displays and a trip to Inspiration Tower where you can ride glass elevators up 230′ for a unique view of the lights.
The “Branson Area Festival of Lights,” produced by North Pole Productions, is located a few blocks north of the Branson Strip on Expressway Lane with its entrance located at the northern intersection of the Shepherd of the Hills Expressway and Expressway Lane. The drive through display is “a one-mile drive along a path illuminated with more than 175 displays” that “will delight children of all ages.”