Category Archives: Branson Events

Missouri’s Back to School Tax Free Weekend amid all that is Branson

A small section of Tanger Outlets, Branson's biggest outlet mall.

BRANSON, Mo., July 20, 2012 –What could be better than visiting Branson just before school begins to experience its attractions, shows, excitement and shopping? How about being able to buy school clothing, school supplies, computer software and computers with no 4.225 % Missouri State Sales Tax? Well, that’s exactly what happens during Missouri’s Tax Free Weekend running from 12:01 AM on Friday, August. 3 through Midnight on Sunday, August 5.

During that period, certain “back-to-school” purchases such as any article of school clothing under $100, school supplies under $50, computer software under $350 and computers and computer peripheral equipment under $3,500 each are free from Missouri State Sales Tax. Items such as watches, jewelry, phones, “handkerchiefs, umbrellas, scarves, ties, headbands or belt buckles” are exempted from the Tax Holiday.

As permitted by state law, the City of Branson, Taney County, Branson Landing Transportation Development District, Branson/Lakes Area Tourism Community Enhancement District and Taney County Ambulance District have elected not to participate. Although Missouri State Sales Tax will not be collected, all sales tax in these locations and districts “will still be collected on the sale of qualifying holiday items.”

All of Branson’s retail merchants will be participating in the Sales Tax Holiday including its major outlet and shopping malls. “Branson Landing” will be open Friday and Saturday from 10 AM – 10 PM and on Sunday from Sunday 11 AM – 8 PM; subject to individual store variations, “The Shoppes at Branson Meadows” will be open from 10 AM to 7 PM on Friday and Saturday and 10 AM to 6 PM on Sunday with Tanger Mall being open from 8 AM to 10 PM on Friday and Saturday and 9 AM to 7 PM on Sunday.

“The sales tax reductions coupled with other savings from ‘back to school’ or other sales that individual stores may be running and the opportunity to experience Branson prior to starting back to school are opportune,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. She also points out that there is a wide choice of hotel and lodging establishments located in close proximity to Branson’s major shopping venues.

Silver Dollar City’s KidsFest to end in Moonlight Madness

"Moonlight Madness" adds an entirely different perspective to the fun and adventure of Silver Dollar City.

BRANSON, Mo., July 11, 2012 — KidsFest at Silver Dollar City running through July 22 will end in the fun and excitement of “Moonlight Madness.” KidsFest, one of the parks major world class festivals  is “America’s largest KidsFest” combining the 30 attractions and rides the 1880′s style theme park offers on a daily basis with special events and activities associated with KidsFest.

This year KidsFest is again featuring The “Fabulous Wallendas! Famous Family Circus,” staring members of the legendary high wire “Wellenda” family including Guinness World Record high-wire walker and international newsmaker Nik Wallenda, who has recently completed a record breaking 1,800 foot walk across Niagara Falls. In addition to many other events, KidsFest will also feature the “‘Gazillion Bubbles,” an interactive show taking bubble artistry to amazing levels, with lasers, lighting effects and a new three-dimensional light show LUMA. It brings to life an original story centered on the park’s famed Marvel Cave through the use of “high-tech illumination techniques creating a dazzling and exciting show of light, color and motion.”

Silver Dollar City’s Moonlight Madness starts on July 21 and runs through August 5. As the park remains open until 10:00 PM, it provides its guests with an opportunity to experience “more” of what the park offers as well as a whole new perspective. “It’s one thing riding ‘Wildfire,’ Silver Dollar City’s world class multi-looping roller coaster, reaching speeds up to 66 miles per hour during the day, it’s an entirely new and unique experience riding it after dark,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center.

Enjoy “GAC Country Nights in Echo Hollow® ,Wednesday through Monday at 7:00 pm and then dance The Chicken Dance, The Electric Slide and The Cotton Eyed Joe with Silver Dollar City’s Street Dance at 9:00 pm. Moonlight Madness will also feature special food and merchandise offers with the Hospitality House, Ozark Marketplace, the Moonlight Madness Tent on the Square, Eva & Delilah’s, Fanny’s Funnel Cakes, Flossie’s Fried Fancies, Hannah’s Ice Cream Parlor, Wagon Works Grill and Wilson’s Farmers’ Market remaining open until 10:00 PM.

Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson reminds those planning on going to Silver Dollar City that all tickets for Silver Dollar City, purchased  through Branson Tourism Center (BTC), provides two days of admission for the price of one day. For additional information on Silver Dollar City, KidsFest or Moonlight Madness please feel to contact BTC by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Branson Centennial Museum shares 100 years of Branson history

This display emphasizes that the outdoors has been a part of Branson tourism since its earliest days.

BRANSON, Mo., June 28, 2012 — “The ‘Branson Centennial Museum’ offers a unique glimpse into Branson’s past,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. The Museum, located on the corner of State Highway 76 and Business Route 65 in historic downtown Branson was established as part of the celebration of Branson’s Centennial, is free to the public and open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Saturday and from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Sunday.

During a visit to the Museum today, Mary Ann Sharp, Museum Manger, said that its exhibits are themed to include many different aspects of Branson’s History from “School Days,” “The White River/ Flooding,” “The Branson Fire,” “Conflict” and its current exhibit, “The Roots of Tourism” which will be on display until the latter part of July when “Fire and Flood” will replace it. The current exhibit has displays relating to early figures involved with the development of tourism in Branson such as Harold Bell Wright, Lizzie McDaniel, Jim Owen, the Baldknobbers, Presleys and others. It includes pictures and memorabilia and items from Branson’s early tourist activity involving shows, float trips, attractions, nightclubbing and fishing including the 1970s era costume of Steve Presley.

Steve Presley's 1970 era show costume.

Although the vast majority of the displays will change with the next exhibit. Sharp said that a constant is the six minute historical CD, produced and provided courtesy of Branson Visitor TV that is continually “looping” and may be watched while sitting on a wooden pew from the “Old Stone Church” that predates the incorporation of Branson on April 1, 1912. I would estimate that a trip through the Museum would take an average of 20 minutes to an hour, including watching the CD, depending on how much time one spends reading documents and looking at pictures.

The Museum is extremely accessible, on the Highway 76 Main Street route to Branson Landing; is conveniently located on the ground floor of the multi story building, is air conditioned and has parking located just outside its main entrance. It may be contacted directly by calling.at 417-239-1912,

Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson points out that the Museum is only one of many interesting things to see while in historic downtown Branson including Dick’s 5 & 10, the grave of the man Branson is named after, Ruben S. Branson, the historic Owen Theatre, riding the free Downtown Trolley and much more. “And that’s just one small part of all that Branson has to offer,” she continued. For more information on the Museum, historic downtown Branson or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center through their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 to talk with one of their Branson located full service Vacation Planners.
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Branson, families, fun and KidsFest – a perfect combination

Just one of the many ways KidsFest helps families create special memories.

BRANSON, Mo., June 12, 2012 –  Families having fun is a given during any visit to Branson’s oldest and most popular attraction, the award winning 1880s styled theme park, Silver Dollar City. During the park’s “National KidsFest,” “America’s largest KidsFest,” running through July 22 the park combines the additional excitement and events of KidsFest, with the 30 attractions, rides and the other activities it offers on a daily basis, to provide an unrivaled exciting and fun filled adventure for the whole family.

On a daily basis Silver Dollar City’s exciting rides and attractions are an exciting part of any  day at Silver Dollar City. They  provide something for every member of the family from the exhilarating adventure of “Wildfire,” a world class multi-looping roller coaster that reaches speeds up to 66 miles per hour to the more sedate and relaxing “Grand Exposition,” where all the members of the family, from the youngest to the oldest, can share a fun filled ride together or relief from the Summer heat with water rides such as RiverBlast, Lost River of the Ozarks and many other exciting rides and attractions. They just seem to naturally fit into the other activities, fun and excitment of KidsFest.

KidsFest is again featuring The “Fabulous Wallendas! Famous Family Circus,” staring members of the legendary high wire “Wellenda” family including Guinness World Record high-wire walker and international newsmaker Nik Wallenda. Nik will be away from the show for a couple of days around June 15 while he attempts to walk across Niagara Falls on a custom made, two inch wire stretching 1,800 feet across the Falls. It will be the first time such an attempt has been made in over 100 years and required the approval of both Ontario and state of New York authorities.

New this year will be the “‘Gazillion Bubbles,” an interactive show taking bubble artistry to amazing levels, with lasers, lighting effects and sheer bubble mastery — producing giant bubbles and colorful bubble effects.” Also new this year “is the three-dimensional light show LUMA, bringing to life an original story centered on the park’s famed Marvel Cave through the use of “high-tech illumination techniques creating a dazzling and exciting show of light, color and motion.”

KidsFest includes many other activities such as an opportunity “for meet-and-greets with cartoon
superstars, including SpongeBob & Patrick, Dexter & Deedee, Tom & Jerry, the Backyardigans and more, with character breakfasts” on select days and a special Independence Day Celebration on July 4th. There will be a “special opening ceremony, an old-fashioned ice cream social and a fireworks show finale” as Silver Dollar City stays open until 10:00 PM.

Silver Dollar City is legendary for being a place that creates “memories worth repeating.”  KidsFest adds to that legend by providing additional ways for families to create those memories together.

For additional information or tickets for Silver Dollar City and KidsFest 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. Every purchase of a Silver Dollar City ticket BTC provides two days admission to the park for the price of one. BTC can be reached by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Fireworks soar as Branson celebrates 4th of July

Fireworks soar and burst over Branson.

BRANSON, Mo., June 6, 2012 –  From picnics and BBQ, to concerts with fireworks and other magnificent firework displays, fireworks will be soaring into the skies around Branson in celebration of America’s Birthday. Stephanie Milton, Director of Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center points out that although the majority of the firework displays will be on the 4th of July that Branson’s celebration of America’s Independence will start with a picnic, concert and an exciting fireworks display with the College of the Ozark’s “Honor America” celebration on June 26 and continue with events through July 4.”

Listed below, sorted by date, is a list of the major Branson area events celebrating America’s Independence and the 4th of July. Each also includes a contact number for the event:

Name: Honor America
Place: College of the Ozarks by Lake Honor
Phone: College of the Ozarks – 417-690-2212
Date/Time(s)/Comment(s): June 24, Picnic 4:30 p.m., Entertainment 5:00 p.m., Patriotic Program & Concert 8:00 p.m. with entertainment provided by the cast of Red, Hot and Blue and others. The program and concert will be followed by Fireworks. Please bring your own chairs and come early.

Name: 25th Annual Fireburst Fireworks Display
Place: Kimberling City
Phone: Kimberling City Table Rock Chamber of Commerce – 1-800-595-0393 or 417-739-2564
Date/Time/Comment(s): June 30 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: Treasure Lake Resort
Place: Treasure Lake Resort behind the IMAX
Phone: Treasure Lake Resort 417-334-1040
Date/Time/Comment(s): June 30 at dusk. Advice is come early and bring a chair.

Name: Branson Landing 5th Annual Liberty Light Up
Place: Branson Landing Town Square by Fountains
Phone: Branson Landing – 417-239-3002
Date/Time(s) /Comment(s):July 3, Concert featuring “CHAIN REACTION A Tribute to Journey,” at 8:00 p.m. followed by an “amazing choreographed Fireworks Display Show, produced by Gateway Fireworks Displays, over lake Taneycomo.

Aerial burst from previous Branson fireworks display.

Name: Main Street Cruises’ Lake Queen or Landing Princess
Place: Branson Landing
Phone: Tickets and info through Branson Tourism Center 800-785-1550
Date/Time(s) /Comment(s): This is a unique and exciting way to see the Branson Landing fireworks display while cruising on either the Lake Queen or Landing Princess on Lake Taneycomo. On July 3rd these cruises will depart at 9:00 PM and be positioned to provide a spectacular and unique view of the Branson Landing fireworks display. Both cruises will offer snack refreshments(available for purchase). A Cash bar will be available on these memorable cruises. Although there is still availability, it is advisable to make reservations as early as possible in advance by calling the Branson Tourism Center at 800-785-1550. (It should be noted that the 4th of July Cruises to the Rockaway Beach Fireworks display on the 4th is sold out.)

Name: Silver Dollar City’s Independence Day Celebration
Place: Silver Dollar City
Phone: Branson Tourism Center 1-800-785-1550
Date and Time: July 4, 9:30 AM to 10:00 PM. From a special ceremony at its opening to an ice cream social, fireworks display and street dance, in addition to everything else one would expect from an award winning theme park, the park will celebrate our Nation’s Birthday in spectacular Silver Dollar City style. Silver Dollar City requires a paid admission. Those purchasing their tickets through the Branson Tourism Center will get two days admission to the park for the price of one.

Name: Hollister’s 59th Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration
Place: Historic Downing Street in Hollister
Phone: Hollister Chamber of Commerce – 417-334-3050
Date/Time/Comment(s): July 4 at dusk. Good Viewing Area: Along Business Hwy 65 in Historic downtown Hollister.

Name: BBQ and Fireworks at Chateau on the Lake
Place: Chateau on the Lake – North of Table Rock Dam on State Highway 165/265
Phone: Call the Branson Tourism Center at 800-785-1550 for information on the fireworks or to make reservations at the Chateau on the Lake for the Fourth of July Weekend.
Date/Time/Comment(s): July 4 at dusk. A paid BBQ event, complete with live music will be followed by the fireworks display which is free to the public and easily viewed from Table Rock Lake via boat, the “park in loop” just south of new overrun floodgates on Table Rock Dam or the Chateau’s public areas.

Name: Showboat Branson Belle
Place: Showboat Branson Belle
Contact: Tickets and information through Branson Tourism Center 800-785-1550
Date /Time/Comment(s): July 3, 8:00 p.m. dinner cruise. There are no guarantees and you take your chances, but the 8:00 PM Dinner Cruise on the night of the Chateau on the Lake’s Fireworks display has been known to stop and provide passengers with a spectacular view of this fireworks display as part of the cruise. This cruise is generally sold out so the further in advance reservations are made the better.

Name: Shepherd of the Hills
Place: Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Theatre
Phone: Tickets and info through Branson Tourism Center 800-785-1550
Date/Time/Comment(s): July 4th immediately after the presentation of the outdoor drama “Shepherd of the Hills.” It will be only for those who viewed the outdoor drama. Milton advises that tickets for “Shepherd of the Hills” are available through the Branson Tourism Center.

Name: Big Cedar Fireworks Display
Place: Big Cedar Lodge
Location: Off State Highway 86 in Ridgedale, MO
Phone: Big Cedar – 417-335-2777
Date/Time/Comment(s): Following a paid “picnic,” there will be entertainment starting at 7:00 PM with the fireworks display starting at dusk. There is good viewing from the area in front of Registration Building or from Table Rock Lake.

Name: Rockaway Beach 4th of July Celebration and Fireworks Display
Place: Downtown Rockaway Beach
Contact: – Rockaway Beach Chamber of Commerce – 417-561-4280
Date/Time/Comment(s): July 4 at dusk. Entertainment, games and, kids activities start at 3:00 PM with the Fireworks starting at dusk.

BTC’s Milton said, “One thing’s for sure, in addition to all the other shows, attractions, shopping and other things there are to do in Branson on a daily basis, those wanting to see exciting spectacular firework displays will not be disappointed.” She advises those planning on attending these events to allow plenty of travel time, arrive as early as possible and, except for paid events, to bring their own chairs etc. It should be remembered that the period around the Fourth of July is one of the busiest of the year in Branson and that advance reservations are advisable to ensure not only availability, but the best choice of seats and accommodations.

Branson Tourism Center celebrates 3 million ticket milestone

Peggy and Eddie Barthel, purchasers of BTC's 3 millionth ticket, just after hundreds of balloons fell and they discovered that they were the center of the celebration,

BRANSON, Mo., May 24, 2012 — When Eddie and Peggy Barthel of Florence, MS walked up to check in for their five night six day Branson vacation in the lobby of the Branson Tourism Center on the afternoon of May 24 they knew something special was going on when hundreds of blue and white balloons cascaded down from the ceiling around them and everyone in the lobby started applauding and celebrating. As they were greeted by Lianne Milton, the owner of BTC and the cast of one of the most popular shows in Branson and the first show on their itinerary, SIX, the Barthels discovered that they had purchased the 3 millionth Branson show and attraction ticket sold by the Branson Tourism Center (BTC).

BTC typically sells tickets, lodging and other Branson travel services and makes customers reservations well in advance of their actual arrival in Branson. “The Barthels became the lucky 3 millionth ticket customer when they placed their order on May 8, but it had been a closely guarded secret until their check in at BTC today,” said Brian Milton, the CFO of BTC.

When asked if they were surprised, Peggy said, “Absolutely…it was awesome” while Eddie said, “Most definitely.” It became even a bigger surprise for them when they found out that in celebration of their being the 3 millionth BTC ticket purchaser that, among other prizes, their entire six day, five night Branson vacation was being paid for by BTC as well as a two hour private charter on Main Street Lake Cruises’ “Branson Princess,” luxury yacht, for them and 100 of their friends and guests, on a future trip to Branson. While in Branson on this trip, the Barthels are staying at the LaQuinta Inn – Music City Centre and, among other things, their itinerary includes SIX, The Showboat Branson Belle, Branson Scenic Railway, and Silver Dollar City.

Eddie and Peggy Barthel, purchasers of BTC's 3 millionth ticket, center, with BTC owners Lianne and Larry Milton on either side,

Lianne Milton, the owners of BTC said, “The sale of our 3 millionth ticket means a lot to me personally because it represents the achievement of a milestone in our efforts to market the shows, attractions, lodging and other activities of our vendors and in sharing the Branson experience with over 940,000 people.” She attributes the success of BTC to the commitment and passion of its employees to sharing Branson and all that it has to offer with prospective visitors and in following the simple concept of , “If it’s important to you, it’s important to me” in making sure that every Branson Tourism Center customer has a great Branson experience and will want to return.

She continues by pointing out that the vast majority of the 3 million tickets that BTC has sold, as was the case with the Barthels, were marketed and sold to people, “out of market,” before they came to Branson; not through intercept marketing once they arrived in Branson. Based on figures furnished by the Branson Lakes Area CVB, the 3 million tickets sold by BTC represents a potential influx of revenues to its vendors, the city of Branson, and other Branson area businesses of over $233 million.

When asked how they liked dealing with the Branson Tourism Center, Peggy said, ” Everybody’s been so wonderful.” The follow-up question was “Would you have felt the same way even if you had not purchased the 3 millionth ticket? Peggy replied, “Absolutely. It started off real cool that day, I spoke with Lynn [Crissmon, one of BTC's full service vacation planners.] He was so kind and very informative and helpful to me in getting this together.”

Prior to discovering the Branson Tourism Center on the internet, calling and speaking with Lynn she said, “I had spent most of that day spinning my wheels trying to decide where to go, what we were going to do and that kind of thing.” In summing up her Branson vacation planning experience with BTC she said, “One call that’s all, they just took care of everything. We’re just going to go up there and have fun.”

Little did she know just how much fun they would have!

Bluegrass and BBQ Festival adds to Silver Dollar City fun and entertainment

There will be Bluegrass and BBQ aplenty at Silver Dollar City's Bluegrass and BBQ Festival.

BRANSON, Mo., May 14, 2012 — The sounds of people laughing and having fun at Silver Dollar City in Branson will be mingled with the sounds of Bluegrass music and the aroma of BBQ throughout the park as SDC celebrates its Bluegrass & BBQ Festival through June 3. “It’s the best of all worlds,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center, Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning service, ” all the rides and excitement of a world class theme park; lots of Bluegrass music performed by some of the finest Bluegrass artists in the country and a cornucopia of just about every style of BBQ there is accompanied by over 100 different sauces..”

Recognized by the “International Bluegrass Music Association,” the festival will feature two national Bluegrass competitions,” The National Single Mic Championship” May 19 – 20, “The Youth In Bluegrass Band Contest” May 26 – 27, and dozens of some of the finest Bluegrass performers in the Nation. These include some of “Bluegrass music’s top artists and award-winning performers such as  the “Bluegrass Brigade,” “Gibson Brothers, “Grascals,” “Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver,” the “Kruger Brothers” and many others.”

The “BBQ” part of the festival includes the cooking and serving of over 40,000 pounds of mouth watering BBQ prepared on “large outdoor charcoal grills and a custom-made 9-foot smoker.” From “Memphis dry rubs” to “Carolina vinegars,” “smoky Texas,” “KC-style” and others, there will be a style of BBQ for the most discriminating BBQ connoisseur, plus a hundred different sauces to sample. The variety and flavor of the BBQ will be expanded this year with the addition of two award winning BBQs, ” Hawgwild BBQ” out of Aurora, Missouri and “Dickey’s Barbecue Pit” from Texas.

In addition to the excellent food service normally available throughout the park, “The House of BBQ” will be serving up BBQ galore. From 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” and lots in between, it is hard to imagine a wider choice of BBQ styles flavors and sauces available in one place.

As is the case with all of Silver Dollar City’s world class festivals, all of the activities involved with the festival are in addition to everything else the 1880′s styled theme park offers on a daily basis. The park features 30 rides and attractions from “Wildfire,” a world class multi-looping roller coaster that reaches speeds up to 66 miles per hour to the $1 million “Half Dollar Holler” designed for kids through age 7; unique shopping; some of the best live shows and entertainment available in Branson and dozens of demonstrating craftsmen all integrated into the natural wonder and beauty of the surrounding Ozark Hills. Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson also reminds prospective Silver Dollar City visitors that when they purchase their Silver Dollar City Tickets through Branson Tourism Center they get two full days for the price of one.

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.

Track Family Fun Parks Gift of Hope Benefit this Saturday

Gift of Hope benefit.

BRANSON, Mo (04/25/12) The Track Family Fun Park #3, located at 2505 W. Hwy 76, Branson, directly across Highway 76 from the Andy Williams Moon River Grill, will host a benefit  for the Gift of Hope and its Backpack Club and Christmas Share programs on Saturday, April 28, 2012 between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Those attending will enjoy reduced rates with “$5.00 per 1 pass ride including Classic go-karts, bumper boats and mini golf.

The Gift of Hope’s mission is “Providing essentials and pathways to independence for Taney County Families.” One of the ways it does that is through “The Backpack Club” which provides a backpack of nutritious food for children who have shown signs of hunger outside of the school meal program.  Children receive the food each weekend during the school year. The Christmas Share program will provide customized assistance to approximately 30 families in need during the winter months.

“Branson visitors as well as locals can have a great afternoon of fun, save money and help a great cause,” said Stephanie Milton, Director of Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. For information on the Benefit or the Gift of Hope please call 417-546-8062.For information on the Benefit or the Gift of Hope please call 417-546-8062.

Few April showers leave Branson a “whirlwind” of fun, excitement and adventure

Branson Scenic Railway returning to the station on Apr. 19 with the Branson Convention Center and Hilton Hotel in back ground.

BRANSON, Mo (4/21/12) “Our ‘Branson Vacation Planners,’ each of whom proudly lives and works in the Branson area, are extremely knowledgeable about all that is going on in Branson and, on a weekly basis, answer dozens of questions about all the fun and excitement it offers as they help potential visitors plan their trip to Branson,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “One of the topics of a number of those questions relates to the tornado Branson experienced earlier in the year,” she continued, saying that the following are typical of the questions asked. “Is there much damage left from the tornado?” “I am bringing my family to Branson later this year. I know it got hit by the tornado. Is everything open and is the strip ok?” ” How is rebuilding coming along, i.e. Branson Landing?”

In terms of the tourism aspect of those question, a general answer would be to point out that Branson’s Mayor, Raeanne Presley, was absolutely right when, on the day of the tornado, she said that the vast majority of Branson’s major attractions, shows and other activities, that millions of visitors come to Branson every year to enjoy, were not damaged. As this is being written, Branson Landing and all of Branson’s major shopping venues are 100 percent open as are all of Branson’s major attractions and other activities. Although two of the “Branson Strip” theaters damaged are still under repair, the vast majority of Branson’s shows are performing as usual.

During the early morning hours of February 29, the Branson area was hit by an EF-2 Tornado severely damaging some of its businesses and residences as its “touchdowns” skipped from place to place as it passed through Branson. However, national and regional media reports to the contrary, and without minimizing the effect of the tornado on those directly impacted, there were limited injuries and no fatalities. The vast majority of businesses and residences were not damaged as was the case with Branson’s tourism infrastructure; its lakes, shopping, lodging, shows, attractions and other tourist activities, receiving no, or extremely minimal, damage.

Branson’s 2012 season kicked off as scheduled. Starting with the hosting of an estimated 16,000 to 20,000 people who attended the 21st NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Championships at the College of the Ozarks about a week after the storm; the opening of Silver Dollar City, currently conducting the country’s largest international festival, World-Fest, as it joined the vast majority of Branson’s other attractions, such as the Titanic Museum Attraction, that were already open and the blossoming of Branson’s 2012 show scene as the majority of its live shows opened, Branson has been a whirlwind of fun, excitement and adventure. Add in  Branson Centennial activities; championship fishing events; shoppers enjoying the shopping experiences provided by Branson Landing, Historic Downtown Branson, the Tanger Mall and Branson’s many specialty shops and it becomes apparent that Branson is providing visitors with the same great magical exciting experience it always has.

Will visitors see damage from the storm, “Absolutely, but it will be a parcel here and a parcel there not the complete devastation of Joplin. The picture of the Branson Convention Center Hilton, with its blown out windows, became an iconic picture of the tornado, but historic downtown Branson, Branson Landing and the Branson Scenic Railway, virtually in its shadow, are open for business. Bill Derbins, General Manager of the Branson Hilton Hotels and the Branson Convention Center, said that although the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel will be closed until October 1, that, even as its repairs continue, the Branson Convention Center is open for business with the Branson Car Auction being conducted there on April 20 and 21.

With the reopening of “Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theatre” last week and the resumption of performances by the “Legends in Concert” and “The Bretts” only two of Branson’s theatres remain closed because of storm damage. Timothy Haygood, spokesmen for the Americana Theatre said that the “remodeling” of the theatre is going well and that they expect to reopen no later than the end of May. Haygood also said that the theatres shows, “Cassandre Haygood and Friends,” “Joseph Hall Elvis Rock N Remember Tribute,” “The 3 Red Neck Tenors” and “Todd Oliver and Friends” are ready to go as soon as it opens.

The Branson Variety Theatre, home of “Hooray for Hollywood,” “Shake Rattle & Roll,” “Tribute to The Four Seasons and The Beach Boys,” “The Twelve Irish Tenors” and “Christmas in Hollywood” was the first theatre hit by the storm and the one it affected the most. Information received from the theatre indicates that it will not reopen prior to September 1.

For those asking the question, “Why should I plan to visit or vacation in Branson?” the answer is simple. For the same reason that you would have come to Branson before the tornado, to enjoy the unique exciting experience that only Branson can provide.” For the latest tornado updates or any of Branson’s other 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 either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Championship wakeboarding event makes first Branson appearance

MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour coming to Branson

BRANSON, Mo. The terms “Krypt,” “Tantrum,” “911,” “Tweety Bird” and “Tootsie Roll,” just to mention a few, all have different meanings and connotations to many people, but not to the athletes and who will be competing in Branson on June 8 and 9, 2012 in the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour.  “What a testimony to Table Rock Lake and the Branson area that it is able to host championship water events as diversified as the FLW and Bass Masters fishing tournaments and the  Pro Wakeboard Tour,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “The competitors, fans and spectators will experience an action filled exciting event and be just minutes away from Branson shows, attractions, shopping, value priced lodging and all the other fun things Branson has to offer.

“Wakeboarding” is an exciting action filled sporting event involving a rider on a wakeboard being pulled behind of motorboat at speeds of up to 25 miles an hour. Just how fast depends on the skill of the rider, water conditions, the tricks they will be performing and other factors. The terms “Krypt,” “Tantrum,” “911,” “Tweety Bird” and “Tootsie Roll,” are all names from the “trick lexicon of these championship athletes, competing in a sport that combines the excitement of water skiing, surfing and snowboarding into one action filled event.

Ross Summers, CEO of the Branson Lakes Chamber of Commerce and CVB, one of the events sponsors, along with,Ozarks Rivers Heritage Foundation, said, “The MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour is one of the premier wakeboarding events in the country.” He also pointed out that this is the first time that the event has been held in Branson and is a new stop for the tour.

The Branson stop is the third stop on the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour and an integral part of winning the Pro Tour Title. Tour competitors accumulate points during every stop on the Tour based on their placement in each contest. The one earning the highest total number of points at the end of the five stop Tour is  crowned the “Pro Tour Champion.”

The event will be held at Table Rock Lake’s Moonshine Beach on June 8 and 9, 2012. The Pro Men’s Qualifying, Junior Pro Men’s Quarterfinals and Pro Women’s Semifinals will be held on Friday, June 8. The Pro Men’s Quarterfinals, Junior Pro Men’s Semifinals, Pro Men’s Semifinals and Junior Pro Men’s and Women’s Finals will be held Saturday June 9, prior to the Pro Men’s Finals and the “Big Air Kicker Contest”  which will conclude the days competition.

Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson said the Moonshine Beach area of Table Rock Lake will provide excellent viewing for spectators, both from land and the lake, and is only minutes south of the Branson Strip on State Route 165. It should be noted that although the Wakeboard Tour will span two days, June 8 and 9, Sunshine Beach will be open to the public both days with standard Day Use Rates applying on June 8 and the Wakeboard Tour rate on Saturday June 9.

She points out that Branson’s summer season will be fully underway and suggests that those planning to attend the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour or visit Branson that weekend give consideration to making advance arrangements for lodging and shows. Please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, for information or tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements by calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.