Category Archives: Branson Events

Violin played while Titanic sank to be displayed at Titanic Museum Attractions

The iconic violin played by bandmaster Wallace Hartley as the Titanic sank.

BRANSON, MO, May 20, 2013 — “The Titanic Museum Attraction has always been noted for the excitement and freshness of the experience it provides its guests,” said Lianne Milton, one of the owners of the Branson Tourism Center, “but this is out of the box. Imagine, the very violin that played ‘Nearer My God To Thee’ as the greatest maritime tragedy of all time was unfolding, over 101 years ago, will have its first and only American displays at the Titanic Museum Attractions in Pigeon Forge and Branson; how special is that?” Milton’s comments followed the press release by Titanic Museum Attractions earlier this morning that the long lost violin of the Titanic’s bandmaster, Wallace Hartley, commonly referred to as the “Titanic Violin” will be displayed in America exclusively and for a limited time only at the Titanic Museum Attractions, first in Pigeon Forge, TN from May 23 to July 27 and in Branson, MO from August 1 to September 7.

The band and their courageous act of continuing to play “Nearer My God To Thee” in the midst of the frantic and hectic activity taking place all around them as the doomed ship gradually sank into her frigid watery grave was described by one newspaper at the time as an act that “Will rank among the noblest in the annals of heroism at sea and has played a pivotal role in the memory of that horrific night in books, movies and other depictions of the event. News accounts indicate that Hartley’s body was found floating 10 days after the sinking with his violin in his leather valise, with some jewelry, strapped to his chest above his life vest.

There is general agreement that it was returned to Maria Robinson, who was Hartley’s fiancée and had given it to him in 1910 when they became engaged. Reports indicate that after her death in 1939 the violin was given to “a Major Renwick of the Bridlington Salvation Army” who then gave it to a violin teacher who gave it to the mother of the current owner, in whose family it has been in for the last 70 years, many of them in an attic, until it was discovered by her son in 2006 when he found it in a leather case with the initials “WHH” engraved on it.

He, while remaining anonymous, turned it over to the auction house of Henry Aldridge and Son of Wiltshire, England, because of their expertise in dealing with Titanic artifacts and memorabilia, for authenticity. That process has taken a number of years and involved both extensive forensic testing of the violin and its silver engraved plate reading “For Wallace on the occasion of our engagement from Maria” as well as the examination of a trail of documentary evidence.

The results have led experts to much the same conclusion as that expressed by Craig Sopin, owner of one of the largest private Titanic collections of artifacts and memorabilia. He said, “To say that I was skeptical at first would be an understatement. But after I conducted an exhaustively detailed investigation into the history and forensics of the instrument, I became convinced beyond a doubt that this violin belonged to Wallace Hartley and that is was with him on the Titanic.”

John Joslyn, the owner of Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, TN and Branson, MO said, “After careful review of all the facts, we agree with the experts that this violin belonged to Wallace Hartley, bandleader on RMS Titanic. We’re honored our museums are the only two in the United States to display this important artifact and share the Wallace Hartley story.”

After the violin’s final American display at the Branson Titanic Museum Attraction from August 1 through September 7 it is scheduled to travel back to England for auction by Henry Aldridge and Son on Saturday, Oct. 19. Due to this historical exhibit, for the first time the museum will host a special VIP preview at 8:30 a.m. everyday starting, in Branson, on August 1 which will be limited to 25 people per day. Regular admission tickets will begin daily at 9 a.m. Reservations are required for all tickets and may be purchased through the Branson Tourism Center by calling 800 785-1550or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Sound of Bluegrass & aroma of BBQ permeate Silver Dollar City

Rhonda Vincent, described by the Wall Street Journal as "the Queen of Bluegrass," and her band "The Rage" will be performing at the festival.

BRANSON, Mo., May 9, 2013 — The smell of Ozark style cooking and the sound of people having fun are a routine part of a day at Silver Dollar City (SDC), but when those smells take on a BBQ aroma and the music has a distinctly bluegrass sound it can only mean one thing, it’s time for Silver Dollar City’s Bluegrass & BBQ Festival which will run through Memorial Day, May 27 and has been recognized by the “International Bluegrass Music Association” having received its “Bluegrass Event of the Year” award.

“What a combination of fun, excitement, music and food,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. She said that the festival activities are in addition to everything one expects from the 1880s styled award winning theme park such as 30 rides and attractions, including its new world breaking wooden coaster “Outlaw Run,” with its initial 162 foot 81 degree drop; dozens of demonstrating craftsmen; unique shopping and great live shows and entertainment. “When coupled with hundreds of performances by some of the best Bluegrass groups and artists in the country and the opportunity to taste just some of the finest BBQ and sauces around there’s simply no other experience like it anywhere,” she added.

The Bluegrass portion of the festival will include “more than 40 bands and hundreds of performances, from international award-winning musicians to the hottest new bands in bluegrass today.” These include Rhonda Vincent and her band “The Rage, ” as well as “the Grammy-nominated Grascals; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, 6-time IBMA Vocal Group of the Year winners; Blue Highway, the IBMA Vocal Group of the Year; the Boxcars, featuring 9-time IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year and 5-time Grammy winner Adam Steffey; and the Gibson Brothers, winner of the 2012 IBMA Entertainer of the Year and up-and-coming bands in bluegrass, such as The Bankesters, the Snyder Family Band, the Hillbenders, Monroeville and more.” In addition there will be two national Bluegrass competitions, The Youth In Bluegrass Band Competition on May 25 featuring “amateur bluegrass musicians 21 years of age or younger” and the 7th Annual National Single Mic Championship” on May 18 which “highlights the performance skills” of each band as they perform “around a single microphone and balances their sound by moving toward or away from the microphone.”

The “BBQ” part of the festival includes the cooking and serving of thousands of  pounds of mouth watering BBQ prepared on “large outdoor charcoal grills and a custom-made 9-foot smoker.” In addition to Silver Dollar City’s famous flavor feast with “St. Louis ribs and smoked chicken to Texas brisket and sweet roasted corn on the cob” to the “all you-can-eat BBQ rib feast each afternoon” the flavors of two award winning BBQs, “Hawgwild BBQ” out of Aurora, Missouri and “Dickey’s Barbecue Pit” from Texas will also be featured. Guests will be able to sample over 100 different BBQ sauces including Silver Dollar City’s new Outlaw Run Zesty Honey sauce with a kick. The festivals BBQ offerings are in addition to the excellent food service normally available throughout the park.

Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson also points out that those purchasing their Silver Dollar City tickets through the Branson Tourism Center will receive a two day pass for the price of a one day pass. For additional information or tickets for Silver Dollar City, any of its festivals or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Material Connection

International entertainment, exciting adventure in Branson at Silver Dollar City’s World-Fest

World champion fire-knife dancer from the "Island Fire" show.

BRANSON, MO, April 15, 2013 — “A wonderful part about Spring in the Ozarks is the blending of the Spring beauty of the Ozarks with the cultures, adventure, color, fun and entertainment of America’s largest international festival, Silver Dollar City’s ‘World-Fest,'” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “The recent opening of Silver Dollar City’s new record setting wood coaster ‘Outlaw Run’ adds even more excitement to an already spectacular event,” she added.

World-Fest, is the first of Silver Dollar City’s six world class festivals held throughout the year and will run Wednesday through Sunday from April 17 – May 5 at the award winning 1880’s styled theme park. Information received from Silver Dollar City indicates that this year’s international celebration will include “new shows with drummers and aerialists from Argentina, fire-knife dancers from Samoa and a Russian folk trio, plus the Italian show Spettacolo Musicale and the return of Viva Italia, an entire plaza filled with Italian entertainment. Guests can travel the world and see groups from Switzerland, Peru, Ireland and more throughout the festival.

The Los Pampas Gauchos Drummers and dancers from the "Amamos Argentina "show.

“The new show Amamos Argentina presents the Los Pampas Gauchos drummers and dancers, featuring Argentinian National Folk Dancing Champion Andres Sosa, plus aerial dancers from Buenos Aires who soar above the stage. Also new, Island Fire presents the rhythms, music and dances from Samoa, Fiji and the South Sea Islands, and features world-champion fire-knife dancers twirling flaming ceremonial knives. ‘The popular Viva Italia showcase of Italian entertainment returns, presenting Spettacolo Musicale, with tenor Aaron Caruso and Sicilian soprano Cristina Corollo accompanied by the 7-piece live band, The Gondoliers. Viva Italia, a “Little Italy” plaza, comes alive with Italian theatrical entertainment, including “living florals” and statues, stilt walkers, interactive musical comedy, live “music box” performers and colorful costumed characters. Returning groups also include Streichmusic Alder, alphorn players and yodelers from the Swiss Alps, Ireland’s premier harpist Dearbhail Finnegan and English musician Robin Slater, Austrian yodeler Kerry Christensen, plus the melodic pan flute music of Ecuador Manta.

World-Fest’s Taste of the World Menu, served in addition to the great selection of food normally available throughout the park, will be served in the “Tastes of the World Food Pavilion.” This will include a wide variety of food from around the world such as English Isles Scottish Eggs and Fish and Chips, Naples Nachos, Mexican Fajitas, French Crepes and Italian Calzone plus desserts such as French Eclairs, German Apfel Dumplings served with Cinnamon Ice Cream and much more.

Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson shares that all the activities of World-Fest are in addition to the 30 rides and attractions, including its brand new “Outlaw Run,” a world class record setting multi-looping wood roller coaster that reaches speeds in excess of 66 miles per hour; some of the best entertainment and live shows available in Branson; dozens of demonstrating craftsmen and much more that Silver Dollar City routinely offers on a day to day basis. “Especially unique and adding to the overall experience of a visit to Silver Dollar City is the way the park is seamlessly integrated into the natural wonder of the Ozarks hills surrounding it,” she adds.

She also reminds those planning to go to World-Fest that when they buy their Silver Dollar City tickets from the Branson Tourism Center they get a “2 Day Pass for the price of one day.” For further information on World-Fest, Silver Dollar City or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions please contact the Branson Tourism Center by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

7th Annual Branson Elvis Festival

BRANSON, MO, March 12, 2013 — “Branson is blessed in that Elvis Presley fans can pick from a variety of quality Elvis Tribute artists performing in Branson on any given day, but the Annual Elvis® Festival is something special for Elvis fans,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. ” Legends in Concert announced that “the 7th Annual Branson Elvis® Festival will take place April 12-14, 2013. The highlight of the festival, the Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist Contest™ is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 13 at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater. This contest is one of a select few tribute competitions sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

“The winner of the Branson contest will receive $1,000 and the opportunity to compete in the 2013 Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist Contest™ finals presented by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.  The finals will be held in Memphis, Tennessee during Elvis Week.  The winner of the Branson contest will also be offered the opportunity to perform in the Legends in Concert show at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater on Sunday, April 14 at 8 p.m.

“Branson Elvis® Festival highlights, in addition to the contest, include an Elvis Vendor Village at Dick Clarks American Bandstand Theater, The Hound Dog Competition at Branson Landing’s Town Square, and Elvis Karaoke Nights at Shorty Smalls.”

From a show perspective, Johnson suggests that those attending the Festival might also enjoy the following shows while in Branson because of their “Elvis” connection, Joseph Hall’s Elvis Rock N Remember Tribute, the Rankin Brothers and Tony Roi’s Elvis and More or one of the many other quality Branson Shows that will be open during the the time the Festival is running. She also points out that the majority of Branson’s attractions, including Silver Dollar City, will be open for Festival attendees to enjoy and the splendor of an Ozarks Spring should be at its height during the Festival.

For additional information or tickets for Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist Contest,™ or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please feel free to 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.

Branson a perfect Valentine

The Titanic Museum Attractions spectacular "Grand Staircase" is a precise replica of the original.

BRANSON, Mo., January 13, 2013 — What better place than in Branson to express the meaning to your Valentine of what Thomas Hood meant when he said, “Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine?” Branson is filled with ways to show that special someone just how special they are and that they “Art every day my Valentine!”

Whether your Valentine’s Day is a one day celebration on Thursday, February 14 or runs into the weekend, Branson, with its shows, attractions, restaurants, shopping and other activities is a special Valentine to share with that special someone. A number of Branson’s shows will be offering a wide variety of live entertainment to share with your Valentine includin

Absolutely Patsy

Amazing Pets

Branson Country USA

Comedy Jamboree

Dixie Stampede

Grand Jubilee

Hamner Barber Variety Show

Haygoods

it at the Hughes Brothers Theatre

Legends in Concert

Ozark Mountain Jubilee

Ozark Murder Mysteries

Pierce Arrow

Sunday Gospel Jubilee

New Jersey Nights

Twelve Irish Tenors

For that special Valentine’s Day meal Branson has a variety of choices ranging from the simple down home cooking of “Clocker’s Café” in historic downtown Branson to the elegant cuisine of the Level 2 Steak House, Table 22, Cosmopolitan Bistro, Chateau on the Lake and others. For a truly special Valentine’s Day memory how about a romantic champagne cruise and dinner aboard Main Street Lake Cruises 100 foot luxury yacht the Landing Princess as it cruises beautiful Lake Taneycomo from its berth in Branson Landing.

The romance of Valentine’s Day is a perfect fit for the Titanic Museum‘s “Sweetheart Month” as they remember the honeymoon couples and brides-to-be who sailed on the ships fateful maiden voyage. 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 Valentines Day or any time.

For those coming for the Valentine’s weekend, the Branson Tourism Center offers a Valentine’s packages combining lodging, shows, attractions, cruises and more that offers not only a romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but to save money. One example is its Valentine’s Day Package offering 3 days and 2 nights lodging at the Hilton Promenade, choice of show tickets, two tickets to the Titanic Museum Attraction, a special “romance basket” and more.

Why not plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day, with your special Valentine, in Branson? For additional information on celebrating Valentine’s Day in Branson or tickets for Branson’s shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements 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 their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

There is nothing like New Years Eve in Branson

The Haygoods are just one of the shows having special New Year's Eve celebrations.

BRANSON, Mo., December 17, 2012 — “What a great place to celebrate New Years Eve and bring in the new year,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “There is always so much for families and individuals to see and experience in Branson. From Zip lines, butterflies, museums, shopping  and scenic cruises to an amazing choice of live shows and New Years Eve celebrations. There is a multitude of choice of exciting and entertaining ways to build memories and have fun as 2012 fades away and 2013 starts,” she added.

The vast majority of Branson’s attractions will be open New Years Eve day offering a full range of fun things to do. What better way to spend the last day of 2012 with your family than sharing an historic last chance to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic at the Titanic Museum Attraction, seeing the unique and spectacular “White Flight” at the Butterfly Place & Rainforest Adventure, taking an exciting cruise on Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen with the chance of seeing Bald Eagles or some of the other exciting attractions and activities that Branson offers. The following list, sorted alphabetically, is a list of some of Branson’s most popular attractions and includes a link to more information on each, including pictures, videos, schedules and pricing:

ATTRACTIONS

Adventure Ziplines of Branson

Amazing Waltzing Waters

Branson Limousine Christmas Light Tour

Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure

Castle of Chaos

Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors

Hollywood Wax Museum

IMAX Adventure Films

Inspiration Tower

Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen

Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum

Shoot for the Stars Mini Golf

The Track Family Fun Parks

Titanic Museum Attraction

Trail of Lights

Vigilante Ziprider

SHOWS

Branson will offer a variety of exciting quality live shows and entertainment with something for everyone. From the Amazing Pets show at 10 AM until the curtain falls on the last show as 2013 begins, Branson’s famed shows will provide a breadth and quality of live entertainment that is as spectacular as it is amazing. Many of Branson’s shows will also be offering special New Years Eve shows and “parties” to celebrate the New Year. The following is a list of the shows, sorted alphabetically by time, that will be open on December 31 with a link to more information on each, including pictures, videos, schedules and pricing. In addition, if a show has indicated they are doing something special to celebrate New Year’s Eve the words “New Year’s Eve Show” follows the shows name

10:00 am

Amazing Pets

2:00 pm

Doo Wop and Chico Vega Drifters

Todd Oliver & Friends

3:00 pm

Acrobats of China featuring New Shanghai Circus

Comedy Jamboree

4:00 pm

Showboat Branson Belle

5:15 pm

Christmas on the Trail

5:30 pm

Dixie Stampede

6:00 pm

Comedy Hypnosis Dinner Show

7:30 pm

Grand Jubilee

8:00 pm

Acrobats of China featuring New Shanghai Circus

Hank Williams Revisited

Paul Harris & The Cleverly’s

Showboat Branson Belle

8:30 pm

Branson Limousine Christmas Light Tour

9:00 pm

Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express New Year’s Eve Show

Doug Gabriel’s #1 Hits Tribute Show New Year’s Eve Show

Hamner Barber Variety Show  New Year’s Eve Show

Haygoods New Year’s Eve Show

Hughes Brothers Christmas Show

Jim Stafford New Year’s Eve Show

Kirby VanBurch New Year’s Eve Show

Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen New Year’s Eve party cruise

Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess New Years Eve party cruise

Pierce Arrow New Year’s Eve Show

9:30 pm

Legends in Concert New Year’s Eve Show

“From attractions’ and shows to great shopping, golf, fishing, cruises and so much more, its hard to imagine a better place than Branson for families to celebrate New Year’s together,” said Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson. She also points out that, particularly at this time of the year, schedules and activities could be impacted by weather. She offers the services of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, the Branson Tourism Center in answering any questions anyone might have or assisting with tickets or lodging arrangements. BTC can be reached by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550.

 

Fun and excitement brightens Branson throughout Christmas season

Pierce Arrow, Luke Menard, left, Gary Korebia, Scott Fraker and Tim Storms, one of Branson's hottest shows will be open during Christmas Season.

BRANSON, Mo., December 9, 2012 —  “From lions and tigers, shopping, fishing and golf to acrobats, comedians, music of every genre, dinner shows with horses or on a boat and so much more, in terms of adventure, excitement and fun, Branson is like a Christmas Tree decorated with lots of each,”  said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “Whether it’s seeing Christmas Lighting displays, having fun at one of Branson’s shows or attractions or simply relaxing with those you love, there is something special about Christmas in Branson,” she continued.

Even with a number of the Branson shows ending their 2012 schedules by the weekend of Dec. 15, some of Branson’s finest shows will remain open through Christmas until the end of the year,” These include:

Acrobats of China featuring New Shanghai Circus

Absolutely Patsy

Amazing Pets

Christmas on the Trail

Comedy Jamboree

Dixie Stampede

Grand Jubilee

Haygoods

Kirby VanBurch

Jim Stafford

Joseph

Legends in Concert

Ozark Murder Mysteries

Paul Harris & The Cleverly’s

Pierce Arrow

Showboat Branson Belle

The Price is Right, Live

The Titanic Museum Attraction is just one of the many Branson attractions that will be open.

Johnson points out that the majority of Branson’s most popular attractions are open all year round and will also be open throughout the Christmas Season. Some of the most popular include:

Adventure Ziplines of Branson

Amazing Waltzing Waters

Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure

Castle of Chaos

Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors

Hollywood Wax Museum

IMAX Adventure Films

Inspiration Tower

Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen

Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess

National Tiger Sanctuary

Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum

Shoot for the Stars Mini Golf

Silver Dollar City (Old Time Christmas – Closes for season Dec. 30)

The Track Family Fun Parks

Titanic Museum Attraction

Vigilante Ziprider

Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson also points out that Branson’s nationally acclaimed Christmas Lighting displays will also be available during the Christmas season. These include Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas, The Branson Area Festival of Lights and the Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights.

Whether its golf, shopping, fishing or any of a myriad of other activities, there is always something that is fun and exciting to do in Branson and the Christmas season is no exception. Johnson does advise however that a lot of the shows and attractions, especially on the 24th and 25th of December, will be operating on Christmas schedules through the end of the year. Additional information on each show and attraction is available through the link provided. Johnson also offered the assistance of the knowledgeable locally based Travel Planners of the Branson Tourism Center to assist in answering any questions about the excitement of the Christmas Season in Branson. That service is available by calling their toll free number, 1-800-785-1550.

Yahoo lists Branson Christmas lighting displays among America’s best

Silver Dollar City lights up for its "An Old Time Christmas" celebration.

BRANSON, Mo., December 4, 2012 —  “Wow, Branson listed along with destinations like New York City’s Rockefeller Center; Orlando’s Disney World, and Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival as one of America’s best places for Christmas lights,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “What a testimony as to the quality of the Christmas lighting displays people will experience in Branson as part of Ozark Mountain Christmas,” she continued.

Johnson was referring to a recent on line article appearing on Yahoo Travel entitled America’s best places for holiday lights published on Nov. 30. The article listed Branson along with nine other places as “the best places to see holiday lights this year” and specifically referred to its three major Christmas lighting displays, Silver Dollar City’s “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 is transformed into a glowing Christmas spectacular with over four million sparkling lights throughout the park for its Old Time Christmas Festival. Its twice nightly 100,000 light Holiday Light Parade winds through a town square and by a five-story musical Special Effects Christmas Tree adorned with over one million sparkling lights.

The Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights is a drive through light display located on the 160 acre Shepherd of the Hills Homestead. The unique 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,” and offers a Christmas wonderland unlike anything else anywhere in the world.

The “Branson Area Festival of Lights,” is a one-mile drive display “illuminated with more than 175 displays” that “will delight children of all ages.” It is produced by North Pole Productions and is conveniently located just a few blocks from the heart of the Branson Strip.

“And that’s just the major outdoor lighting displays and doesn’t consider the elaborate Christmas decorations at places such as ‘Branson Landing,’ ‘Big Cedar,’ ‘Chateau on the Lake’ and others as well as in theatres such as the ‘Andy Williams Moon River Theatre’ or the ‘Shoji Tabuchi Theatre,'” Johnson said. She also points out that that Christmas lights are not the only thing sparkling in Branson and that its live shows, attractions and shopping “sparkle,” day in and day out, with entertainment and excitement. For information on Branson’s lighting displays, shows, attractions, shopping or lodging call the Branson Tourism Center through their toll free number 1-800-785-1550.

Mrs. Claus hosts first Branson Candy Cane Cruise

Mrs. Claus ready to welcome children and their adult guests on board for the "Candy Cane Cruise."

BRANSON, Mo., December 4, 2012 — When Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess left her moorings at Noon on Dec. 1st she had some very special passengers on board. About 100 children, parents, grandparents and escorts joined two of Santa’s Elves and Mrs. Claus for a special Christmas experience on Branson’s very first “Candy Cane Cruise.”

Mrs. Claus personally greeted each family as they boarded the Princess and went into the main cabin of the 100 foot luxury yacht. As the Princess pulled away from the dock, Mrs. Claus came in and explained that although Santa was unable to be there for the cruise he had said that he would do all that he could to be at the Branson Landing Fountain when the boat passed by and wave. As the boat started its less than ten minute trip to the Fountain, she answered questions about the North Pole, Santa, the reindeer and other questions that the excited children asked.

Less than ten minutes after leaving the dock, as the Princess approached the Fountain, amid the excitement and hope that Santa would be there, every eye was looking for him to appear. And, sure enough, to everyone’s delight, just a few seconds after arriving at the Fountain, Santa did appear at the top of the stairway to the Fountain and waved.

Santa himself took time from his work to come and greet as the Candy Cane Cruise as it passed.

As the Princess turned to start her downstream leg of the cruise, Mrs. Claus continued answering questions and sharing her personal stories about how Santa does what he does and what goes on at the North Pole. Then everyone joined in with Mrs. Claus and the Elves in singing Christmas songs before she quieted everyone down and read them the story “The Night Before Christmas.” The rapt attention of her young audience as she read was a joy to behold.

After the story, she asked the children to write Santa Claus a letter telling him what they wanted for Christmas and told them that she would see that Santa Claus got them. As the children concentrated on writing their letters, one could almost feel the excitement in the air. It was a very special time, perhaps best summed up by Larry Milton, one of the principle owners of Main Street Lake Cruises as he said, with a big grin on his face, “This is so cool.”

As the children finished their letters they were picked up and put in a basket by one of the Elves and everyone enjoyed milk and cookies. While they were writing the letters and having the cookies and milk the children were given the opportunity to go into the bridge and steer the boat under the watchful eye of Captain Ayers.

As the Princess docked and the children left the boat, the last thing they saw leaving the cabin was the basket filled with their letter to Santa Claus that Mrs. Claus was going to deliver. Unknown to the children, Santa Claus had already “answered” their letters with a response that each of the adult guests received as they left the boat and could deliver to the children at the appropriate time. Mrs. Claus wished everyone a “Merry Christmas” and each was given a Candy Cane by one of the Elves.

Although the inaugural and remaining 2012 “Candy Cane Cruises were fully booked, they were free and offered by Main Street Lake Cruises and the Branson Tourism Center as a way of wishing the families in the Branson area a “Merry Christmas.” If the excited looks of happiness on the faces of the children and their adult guests as they left the boat were any indication they not only enjoyed their cruise and time with Mrs. Claus, but are ready to continue having a “Merry Christmas.”

“White Flight” ensures Branson “White Christmas”

Live "angel" sharing butterfly with family during "White Flight."*

BRANSON, Mo., November 25, 2012 — “It may not be the ‘White Christmas’ dreamed about in the popular song, but ‘White Flight,’ brings its own unique beautiful ‘White Christmas’ to Branson,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. Currently appearing for its sixth Christmas in Branson, “White Flight” is a unique limited engagement Christmas exhibit made up of thousands of white butterflies flying in a rain forest sparkling with thousands of lights, living angel statutes, colorful white and red poinsettias and filled with the beautiful sounds of Christmas music. It is being shown at Branson’s Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure (Butterfly Palace) through January 15, 2013.

Sarah Bolend, General Manager of the Butterfly Palace, said that the thousands of white butterflies used in “White Flight” are comprised of about 20 different species of tropical white butterflies with the most common being the “Paper Kite Butterfly,” also referred to as the “Rice Paper Butterfly.” Bolend indicated that the majority of the butterflies used in White Flight, as is the case with all the exhibits at the Butterfly Palace, are shipped to them by air express in their chrysalis (cocoon) stage from tropical rain forests. After the butterfly emerges from the cocoon and its wings dry, it is released into the exhibit, aviary, where it lives out its average three week life span in a predator free environment.

“White Flight” starts in the Butterfly Palace’s theatre with the viewing of a very well filmed, interesting and exciting 15 minute movie on the life of a rain forest butterfly. After the movie the guests step from the theatre into the aviary where there is a unique opportunity to interact, “up close and personal,” with thousands of tropical rain forest butterflies. During “White Flight” the butterflies are all colored white and provide a spectacular and unique display. Bolend said that from January 16 through the start of White Flight on November 1, the display is just as spectacular, but is composed of 50-60 species of different brightly colored butterflies.

She points out that in addition to the butterflies in the aviary “White Flight” also includes the presentation of the centuries old art form of “living statutes” in the form of White Angels. As people walk through the exhibit and butterflies alight on and flutter around the angels they present a picture of angelic beauty and tranquility.

Almost imperceptibly, the statutes slowly and subtly come to life. It might be just a change in the position of a head or the extension of a hand, but it’s fascinating to watch the ability of the artist playing the angels to interact with the guests.

The aviary is decorated with a number of poinsettias and other flowers and highlighted by a large poinsettia Christmas tree that provides an excellent place to take a picture. The whole “White Flight” experience, from the thousands of White Butterflies to the living angel statutes and beautiful music, is a unique experience that the whole family will enjoy.

Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson reminds Branson visitors that “White Flight” is just one of the many special events that are part of Ozark Mountain Christmas. For additional information or tickets for “White Flight” and the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure, Ozark Mountain Christmas or any of Branson’s other 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 800-785-1550.

*Courtesy  Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure