Category Archives: Branson Shows

The amazing variety of Branson’s live music shows!

Four very different and extremely entertaining Branson music shows, the “Million Dollar Quartet,’, “Down Home Country”, “SIX,” and “Legends in Concert.”

Through the years one of the major reasons people pick for coming to Branson is its live shows. “In fact, the 2016 Branson CVB Visitor Profile indicates that they are the Number One reason the visitors surveyed gave for selecting Branson as their vacation destination,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “From magic shows, such as the Illusionist Rick Thomas, to the spectacular biblical epic Moses, music shows covering just about every genre of music, and so many more, Branson is unrivaled, in the number, quality, and variety of the live shows it offers,” she added.

Wood said that with over 120 Branson shows, we are commonly asked two questions. “What are the best shows in Branson?” and “How many shows could I see in a day?” While the Branson Tourism Center has a list of its Most Popular Shows, the “best” show in Branson depends on individual preferences and likes.

As to the number of shows a person could see in a day, we would suggest, “Three.” Although it would be possible to see more some days, for most people, to really enjoy their Branson show experience three, one in the morning, afternoon, and evening, would be the most we would recommend.

We thought it would be fun to make up an itinerary for three shows in one day,* using just one type of Branson show, its music shows. Within that, we set it up with two different genres of music for each of the daily time slots, morning, afternoon, and evening.

MORNING SHOWS

 

The Celtic Ladies from “Dublin’s Irish Tenors and the Celtic Ladies.”

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.

Down Home Country is downright good! Western swing, gospel, bluegrass, and classic country music is accompanied by the funniest comedy in the Ozarks, it’s your ideal morning of merriment! Jamie Haage and Melody Hart are joined by that crazy and colorful comedian, Jarrett Dougherty and all his crazy characters and the Grand Band to give you a rousing great time!

AFTERNOON SHOWS

Legends in Concert is the world’s greatest tribute show!  Amazing artists deliver uncanny performances of huge stars; the revolving lineup features Elvis, Bruno Mars, The Blues Brothers™, Prince, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Michael Jackson, Adele, George Strait, Barbara Streisand, and Frank Sinatra.

SIX is Branson’s sensational sibling singing group that quite simply defines the art of performing music without instruments! Sensational harmonizing, polished professionalism, zany on-stage antics…it’s the most talented half dozen guys you’ll ever meet! They’ll charm you right from the opening note.

EVENING SHOWS

 

“it” Starring the Hughes Brothers.”

“it” starring the Hughes Brothers fills the Branson stage…literally! More than 50 members of the Hughes clan employ a wide array of musical gifts, including magnificent dance moves, exceptional skill on a variety of instruments, and vocals highlighted by impeccable harmonies.

Million Dollar Quartet captures a singular moment when four of the most extraordinary musical talents – Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins – came together for one unforgettable night! Hear songs like That’s All Right, I Walk the Line, Riders in the Sky, Hound Dog, Peace in the Valley, Whole Lotta Shakin’, Blue Suede Shoes and many more.

And that’s just one daily combination from among many, using just one type of show! Factor in all the other shows Branson offers, and the possibilities are endless. For help in planning the perfect Branson show itinerary, please contact one of Branson Tourism Center’s Branson based Vacation Specialists at 1-866-593-9740. They’ll also be happy to answer questions about Branson’s shows, hotels, and attractions; help with making reservations; and get you the best available show seats and lodging. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 8:00 AM to 9.30 PM.

* The day used for these shows was September 14, 2017. The schedule could vary if different dates were used.

Is there a better place to enjoy Labor Day Weekend than Branson?

“Raiding the Country Vault,” Silver Dollar City’s Outlaw Run, Branson Landing Promenade, and the “Million Dollar Quartet.”

“Call us prejudiced, but we don’t think so!” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “Where else can you go for a long weekend, Labor Day or otherwise, that offers families more entertainment and excitement than Branson?”

Garrison points out that the long Labor Day Weekend, prior to the first Monday in September, is generally associated with the “informal end of the summer season. It’s typically one of the last big “lake weekends,” but, in Branson, it’s so much more!”

Oh sure, there’ll be a lot of splashing and cruising going on in Branson’s three lakes over the weekend, but that’s the case at many tourist destinations near lakes, rivers, or oceans. What makes Branson unique is that all the water based activity will be going on just minutes away from everything else Branson offers; its natural beauty, live shows, great attractions, world class shopping, and so much more.

Although Labor Day Weekend might be one of the last big “lake weekends,” it also marks the beginning of Branson’s busiest season of the year. All of Branson’s live shows, attractions, shopping malls and retail stores, restaurants, and everything else that makes it the unique entertaining world class destination it is, will be open for visitors to enjoy.

Branson’s live shows will be open, offering Branson visitors a full schedule of some of the most unique and best live entertainment in the world. With shows as diverse as Million Dollar Quartet, Amazing Pets, Raiding the Country Vault, SIX, Legends in Concert, and over 120 more, there’s a show with something for just about everyone. Want to find the perfect show for you and your family? Here’s a list of our Most Popular Branson Shows including schedules, ticketing information, descriptions, and videos.

Whether it’s White Water, southwest Missouri’s largest water park; Silver Dollar City; a dinner cruise aboard Main Street Cruises’ Landing Princess; playing golf; or any of the dozens of other attractions Branson offers, there’s a fun filled adventure available for every member of the family. Here’s a list of Branson attractions including schedules, descriptions, ticketing information, pictures and, in most cases, videos.

Labor Day Weekend and every day, Branson offers a world class shopping experience unequalled by any other destination city anywhere near its size. Unique boutiques your style? Boutiques can be found everywhere in Branson. Like your shopping to be an experience; including dining and entertainment? Branson Landing is custom-made for you! Want a downtown shopping adventure? Don’t miss Historic Downtown Branson! Throughout Branson there’s locally owned stores featuring everything from hard to find shoe sizes to ladies wear, hand-made crafts, high end art, flea markets and more.

For more information on Branson’s Labor Day Weekend events or tickets for Branson’s shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements feel free to call one of Branson Tourism Center’s Branson based Vacation Specialists at 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

A great entertainment tradition continues at Andy Williams Performing Arts Center

The Osmonds and Lennon Sister from the “Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza,” “Illusionist Rick Thomas”, “The Lettermen” and “Moon River and Me”

When the Andy William’s Moon River Theatre was renamed the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center and Theatre, Jimmy Osmond pointed out that the name change was really calling it “what it was really meant to be by Andy’s design.” He said that although primarily used as a theatre, the building was designed as a multi-use performance space that could handle large and small-scale productions of various types of performing arts from Broadway productions, to concerts, dance, drama, music, and more.

He said, “From magic and comedy, to music from just about every genre, concerts and spectacular productions, we are offering Branson visitors a wide variety of entertainment that follows the Andy Williams tradition for variety and quality.” The Center’s variety of entertainment includes a mix of “house shows” and shorter “limited engagement” performances by touring national stars and acts that is one of the most extensive in Branson.

In the past two years the Center has featured limited engagement performances by stars such as Jennifer Nettles, LeAnn Rimes, Ray Stevens, Bill Engvall, and many others. America, Neil Sedaka, Paul Anka, Righteous Brothers, Tanya Tucker, and The Golden Boys will be performing limited engagements through the end of October.

The Center’s house shows, provide a wide variety of entertainment and include:

Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza carries on the tradition of “Mr. Christmas,” the late and much-loved singer Andy Williams. The 5th Dimension and the famous sibling acts, The Lennons and The Osmonds, headline one of Branson’s hottest Christmas shows. In addition to these exceptional entertainers, you’ll be treated to the magic of Rick Thomas’ ‘Let It Snow,’ performances by the Lennon Granddaughters, the Andy Williams singers and dancers, and the incomparable Moon River Band. The production is spectacular with gorgeous costumes, festive sets, and amazing Christmas music! The 5th Dimension will headline the show from November 1 through November 18 with the Osmonds and Lennon Sisters headlining from November 20 through December 16.

The magic of Illusionist Rick Thomas will leave 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! After seeing this show I wrote, “If you want to see one of the best magic shows to ever appear on a Branson stage, don’t miss the Illusionist Rick Thomas Show. In over 28 years of seeing magic shows in Branson, I have never been as amazed or entertained by a magic show as I was by this show.” It runs through October 27. Starting November 1, 2017, he will be performing in the Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza.

The Lettermen continue to be one of music’s most romantic pop groups, making them an excellent show for couples. Their untarnished, all-American image, makes every performance perfect to share with the family. Although their biggest hits graced the airwaves back in the 60’s, that classic sound has endured in the decades since, thrilling their long-time fans and finding a new audience with a younger generation.

Moon River & Me pays tribute to the life, the music, and the wonderful man himself, Mr. Andy Williams! The sensational Jimmy Osmond stars in this dynamic production that features the Moon River Band, and is filled with award-winning music, video footage of Andy, and Jimmy’s own memories of the icon he knew as a friend and mentor; this is one powerful show!

Hallmark Presents Maxine’s Christmas Carol is a show that even the Grinch would envy. Charles Dickens could never have imagined the role of Scrooge inhabited by a sassy sourpuss like Maxine. The call-it-like-she-sees-it, lovable curmudgeon delivers the iconic story with song, dance, and a helping of merry and mirth, sprinkled with the best of her rude mood, and just a dash of attitude! Introduced to us by way of greeting card covers from Hallmark, the self-appointed Queen of Crabbiness, Maxine, has been a popular Hallmark character for over three decades and made her Branson debut in 2016.

For additional information on any of the shows at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center and Theatre, or any of the many other exciting things there are to do in Branson, please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center and talk with one of their Branson-based Travel Planners. They’ll be delighted to assist you! BTC can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM seven days a week, or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Just because you build it doesn’t guarantee they’ll come!

Breakdowns were just one of the challenges of “life on the road.” Lloyd seems to be letting Gary do the heavy pushing here.

When the Presleys opened Branson’s first live music theatre on the now famous “Branson Strip” 50 years ago, it was just the first step in realizing their dream of being able to make a living from their country music and comedy show. To loosely paraphrase a quote from the movie, Field of Dreams, “Just because you build it doesn’t guarantee they’ll come!” Who knew that 50 years later, Presleys’ Country Jubilee would be one of Branson’s most popular shows and that “Presleys’ Theatre” would become an icon?

Oh, they had a new theatre, and a great show filled with music and comedy that people loved. The challenge was marketing it to get enough people to come to the show to keep it financially viable. It was a challenge compounded by the fact that it was 1967 and the theater and show were located on Highway 76, a curvy two-lane stretch of blacktop tourists used to get from the relatively unknown city of Branson, Missouri, to the growing “Silver Dollar City,” “Shepherd of the Hills,” and “Table Rock Lake.”

During the season, they used brochures and other strategies such as taping bumper stickers to cars with masking tape during the intermission to advertise the show. In those days, there was no “Ozark Mountain Christmas,” the Branson season was over by the middle of October, and marketing, outside of Branson was done primarily by word of mouth from those who had seen and enjoyed the show.

What better way to market the show, and Branson, than by taking it on the road and sharing it with potential Branson visitors during the off season. The hope was not only that those seeing the road show would come to Branson, but that they would spread the word about Branson and “Presleys’ Country Jubilee,” throughout their area by word of mouth.

From the very first season in 1967, and for nearly 25 years after that, except for taking a break from mid-December through the end of January each year, the Presleys spent just about every weekend performing their show throughout Middle America. Not only did they perform and market their show, but they marketed the growing tourist destination of Branson, Missouri and all it had to offer. Steve Presley says, “The road shows were not only a way to help pay our entertainers in the winter, it was a way to advertise our show and bring people to Branson.”

Don’t confuse the tour buses you see in movies and on TV with the Presley’s tour bus. Their first bus was a 20-year-old 1948, “Flxible” which was more like “a revamped school bus with a heater that sometimes worked,” rather than the grand tour buses that come to most people’s mind.

Although they subsequently purchased a used 1964 GM 4106 bus, not only were the traveling quarters far from luxurious, but the trips were not exempt from flat tires, bad weather, sickness, engine malfunctions, and more. When their traveling days were over, Lloyd Presley, reflecting on those days, said, “Loading a bus in three or four feet of snow…we don’t miss that.”

Eric “Cecil” Presley, the son of Gary “Herkimer” Presley, said that he, and his brothers Scott and Greg, literally grew up on those bus tours, recalling that his parents built a crib in the front seats of the bus. “While it was work for dad and grandpa, for us kids every weekend was a big adventure. We really cherished those times,” he added.

Eric said that they sold the GM bus about 25 years ago, but about a year and a half ago they tracked it down and found it in a field in Kentucky. He adds, “We purchased the bus and have it back in our possession. We’ve got some plans for it and are going to integrate it, at some point, into the theatre.”

Best Branson Insider Highlights for August 2017

The cast of “Broadway’s Greatest Hits” during the Finale.

“With school starting, August is a transitional month for younger visitors with families. It’s also an excellent time for that last summer getaway before the school starts,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center.

Here’s an insider’s highlight list, containing some of the best of what’s going on in Branson during August, our Featured Show, Limited Engagement, and Event of the Month.

Featured Show of the Month: Broadway has burst upon the Branson Strip in a spectacular new production, Broadway’s Greatest Hits. The show adds a unique new dimension to the scope of entertainment Branson’s live shows offer. It’s a show of “bests.” It’s Broadway’s “best” presented in one of Branson’s “best” productions by some of the “best” vocalists and dancers on any stage in Branson. Each segment has its own choreography, style, special effects, costuming, and more. The timelessness of the music, the interaction between the vocalists and dancers, their talent and energy, the many styles of dancing, colorful costuming and more, appeal to both adults and kids alike and have them waiting for what’s coming next.

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: Don’t miss this chance to see Terry Fator, the outstanding entertainer who packs the house in Las Vegas and won the top prize on Season 2 of the NBC’s prime time hit, “America’s Got Talent.” His exceptional talent as a puppeteer and singer is unbelievable. With his natural technique, you will quickly come to think of each puppet as more than a doll, and his fantastic skill as a vocalist will have you looking forward to every song! It’s one of the funniest, most unique, and enjoyable shows you will ever experience. Two days only, August 11-12 at the fabulous Welk Theatre.

Featured Event of the Month: Branson’s 29th Annual Fiddle Festival & Mid-America Fiddlers Championship will be held at the Grand Country Water Park Resort. August 25-27. The fun starts in the Grand Country Parking Lot at 6:30 PM on August 25 with the “Anything Goes Contest” and a free concert starring Melody Hart and a live band. The Mid-America Fiddlers Championship starts on the morning of August 26. Six Divisions, from Pee-Wee to Senior and Open, will compete for thousands of dollars in prizes and the coveted title of the “Mid-America Fiddle Champion.” The title will be decided in a Round Robin Play Off at 4:00 PM on August 27. The actual competition will be conducted in the Grand Country Music Hall, the home of all Grand Country’s shows, and will be hosted by noted Branson Fiddler Wayne Massengale.

Terry Fator and “friends.”

Limited Engagements (Sorted by starting date)

Aug 11-12: Terry Fator
Aug 12:  Grand Funk Railroad
Aug 13: Richie McDonald

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

Aug 1 – Oct 31: Branson Farmers Market Every Tuesday
Aug 1 – Sep 4: Branson Landing’s Annual School Shoes For Kids
Aug 1 – Aug 12: Night Water at White Water
Aug 1 – Aug 4: Ballparks of America – Week 10 Back to School Bash 12U-13U
Aug 3 – Aug 10: Cal Ripken Major/70 World Series
Aug 4 – Aug 5: G.R.O.O.V.E. Presents Wagens at the Wheel
Aug 4 – Aug 6: Missouri State Tax-Free Holiday Sale
Aug 4 – Aug 6: Tax Free Holiday Shopping at Tanger Outlets
Aug 5: ROCK THE SPECTRUM – A BENEFIT EVENT & CONCERT
Aug 5: Reeds Spring Annual Tomato Festival
Aug 6 – Aug 7: Shakespeare in the Park – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Aug 6: Back to School Bash
Aug 6: Ballparks of America – Week 11 Baseball Youth Majors Championship 10U-13U
Aug 9 – Aug 13: Shepherd of the Hills Super Summer Cruise Weekend
Aug 11: Tanger Club Member Exclusive Event – Bring a Friend
Aug 11 – Aug 13: Unique Home & Wedding Show
Aug 12: Summer Movies in the Park at the Branson RecPlex
Aug 18: PRINCE IVAN – LIVE IN CONCERT!
Aug 20: “Keepin’ it Real in Branson” Cruise In
Aug 24 – Sep 4: Silver Dollar City Southern Gospel Picnic Festival
Aug 25 – Aug 27: Annual Fiddle Festival Presented by Grand Country

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.

 

Broadway’s greatest “hits” Branson Strip in a spectacular way!

Whole cast performing “We Go Together” from “Grease.”

Broadway has burst upon the Branson Strip in a spectacular new production, Broadway’s Greatest Hits. The show adds a unique new dimension to the scope of entertainment Branson’s live shows offer. It’s a show of “bests.” It’s Broadway’s “best” presented in one of Branson’s “best” productions by some of the “best” vocalists and dancers on any stage in Branson.

The shows vocalists and dancers are the lifeblood of the show. Their unbelievable talent, enthusiasm, and boundless energy is a joy to experience. Oh, the music and production is spectacular, but WOW, are those vocalists and dancers something! They are vocalists Ryan Walton; Vocal Captain; Maggie Moore-Cyr; Katie Mussler; and Robert Quibell and dancers Ollie Barrow, Dance Captain; Rebecca Hoffpauir; Sarah Hunter; Joey Kuba; Amy Morlang; Ruth Robertson; Dasha Ruden, Ballet; Kelvin Wright, Ballet; and Landy Saavedra.

Obviously, with a title of Broadway’s Greatest Hits the music comes from Broadway production shows. Most of the time, when these songs are performed outside of the production show itself the style of the performance is “park and bark.” That’s where someone stands there and performs the song “concert style.” Broadway’s Greatest Hits is different in that each number is a mini production.

Each segment has its own choreography, style, special effects, costuming, and more. The timelessness of the music, the interaction between the vocalists and dancers, their talent and energy, the many styles of dancing, colorful costuming and more, appeal to both adults and kids alike and have them waiting for what’s coming next.

Normally, one would not associate a music show, particularly one featuring Broadway music they might not be familiar with, as something kids would enjoy. That’s not the case with this show. During an interview, Maggie Moore, one of the vocalists, said, “There’s so much music in it that will directly appeal to them such as, ‘Mary Poppins,’ ‘Aladdin,’ and Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The constant action, interaction between performers, dancing, and colorful costume changes appeal to adults and kids alike.” In addition, an associate of mine took her 13-year-old daughter to see the show. She loved it and wants to go see it again!

The show starts with a high energy, and colorful performance of We’re In The Money” from “42nd Street” and a full cast performance of the Academy Award winning song, Lullaby of Broadway. What a wonderful and powerful way to prepare the audience for the wonderful musical journey through Broadway’s Greatest Hits that follows!

The beautiful and talented Katie Mussler performing “Memory” from “Cats.”

And do they ever! From “Westside Story” to “Oklahoma,” “Les Miserables,” “Aladin,” “Mary Poppins,” and many more; the journey travels seamlessly from one great show to another. As is my custom, I will highlight, from among many, three of my favorite highlights.

Katie Mussler’s singing of Memory from “Cats” was a joy. What talent! Simultaneously, with Katie’s singing, ballet dancers Dasha Ruden and Kevin Wright, were performing an exquisite ballet. OK, I’ll admit I don’t know the difference between a “pirouette” and a “two step,” but I do recognize a WOW moment. This was one!

The performance of One Day More from “Les Miserables,” involved both vocalists and dancers in an extremely entertaining and inspiring performance. WOW, what a way to end the first half! My third highlight would be the performance of Step In Time from “Mary Poppins.” It features Ryan Walton singing, a really unique dance routine, chimney sweep costuming, and a neat “chimney” set. What the dancers do during the number is so entertaining and amazing.

From beginning to end this show is a wonderful, high energy, and colorful journey through Broadway’s Greatest Hits. It’s a journey that ends all too soon.

For additional information or tickets for Broadway’s Greatest Hits please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550, or by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Gary “Herkimer” Presley – 55 years of amazing Ozark’s comedy

Herkimer is still the same 15-year-old boy he was when he started…

It’s impossible to think of “gut busting” comedy and laughter in Branson without thinking of Gary Presley and his creation, Branson’s favorite comedy character, “Herkimer” performing in  Presleys’ Country Jubilee. He has been bringing laughter and joy to audiences, as the comedic Ozark hillbilly, for over 55 years but, it didn’t start out that way.

While Gary was growing up, his dad, Lloyd, performed throughout the Ozarks with the “Ozark Playboys.” Gary along with the rest of the family regularly went to Lloyd’s performances and along the way, he and his siblings, by their own choice and without formal lessons, taught themselves to play and sing.

His entertainment career started in 1962 playing guitar and performing with his dad and two sisters in the show “Farmarama. It was performed at the 1000 seat auditorium of “Springfield’s Fantastic Caverns” every Saturday night and was recorded for later rebroadcast on Springfield radio station KGBX. The shows emcee and promoter was Loyd Evans, a deejay at KGBX.

…he just got a lot grayer and lost a lot more hair over the years.

Evans thought the show could use some comedy and Gary, who was 15 at that time said, “Well, I’ll give it a try.” The costume came first, a set of size 50 overalls from one grandpa for his then 130-pound frame; a set of glasses from another grandpa; an old hat; and teeth blackened with an eyebrow pencil.

Evans came up with the name “Herkimer.” Gary believes that Evans was a friend of the Carter Family and that he “picked up the name” from a song June Carter called, “Herkimer the Bull.”

He got his first laughs just walking out on the stage in the costume, liked it, and began adding a few lines and jokes. The rest is comedic history! Since then he has developed and perfected comedy routines and jokes that audiences just love and come back to see time and time again.

That said, what keeps “Herkimer” relevant 55 years later is Gary’s unique ability to keep things fresh and exciting by constantly adding fresh new material and trending topics to his comedy. He keeps “Herkimer” funny and audiences happy and laughing.

How he does what he does it is as important to the audience’s enjoyment as the routines and jokes themselves. His spot-on comedic timing, ad-libbing, and delivery cannot be imitated. When coupled with his ability to communicate his genuine love for people, family, and his craft to his audience, the result is 55 years, and counting, of the most unique, iconic, and just plain funny comedy anywhere!

“Herkimer” has been a trademark performer with Presleys’ Country Jubilee in Branson for over 50 continuous years, performing on a nightly basis. His son, “Cecil,” Gary’s real-life son Eric, performs with him nightly and Ben Presley, Eric’s son and Gary’s grandson, performs with them almost every night ensuring the continuation of that “patented” Presley comedy and humor for generations to come.

As to “Herkimer” today, Gary Presley says, “Herkimer is still the same 15-year-old boy he was when he started; he just got a lot grayer and lost a lot more hair over the years.” To that this writer would simply add, “Yes sir, probably so, but he sure didn’t lose any of his ability to make people laugh and enjoy themselves!”

For more information or tickets for Presleys’ Country Jubilee please contact the Branson Tourism Center at 1-800-785-1550 or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.Com.

Neither snow nor rain, nor heat or cold stops Branson’s Big Three

From great shopping to dinosaurs and shows, there’s always plenty to do in Branson regardless of the weather.

“Weather impacts our daily lives whether we are on vacation or not. Fair sunny weather is what most want, but that’s not what we always get,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Weather does impact some of what’s available to do in Branson. The great news however, is most of the fun and exciting things families can enjoy doing in Branson are not weather dependent,” she adds.

Branson has hundreds of different ways to have fun and enjoy yourself, in both good weather and bad. Most will fall into one of the “Big Three” Branson categories “Attractions,” “Shows,” and “Shopping.” Let’s take a closer look at them and the reasons why you can count on enjoying them regardless of the weather:

1.Shows: “The show must go on.” With most of Branson’s incredible live shows performing in indoor theatres, the weather outside makes no difference. Their theatres are state of the art, with comfortable seating, the latest sound and lighting equipment, and, of course, are environmentally controlled for the audience’s comfort. The variety available is amazing including unique shows such as the Million Dollar Quartet, it starring the Hughes Brothers, Amazing Pets, Clay Cooper’s Country Express, Presleys’ Country Jubilee, Grand Jubilee, and over 100 more.

2. Attractions: A few of Branson’s attractions, and rides within attractions, are weather sensitive, but many more are not. While great to visit any day, they can be a “vacation saver” when the weather turns ugly. Like Branson’s theatres they are located inside buildings with climate control systems and their operation is not impacted by weather.

From dozens of Branson attractions, here’s a few examples illustrating the breadth of the options available to have fun in Branson even on the worst weather day. Want to meet a “T-Rex,” up close and personal? The Branson Dinosaur Museum features life-sized replicas of the two and a half story “T-Rex” down to one of the smallest dinosaurs, the “Micro Raptor.” Dinosaurs not your thing, then how about a visit to Branson’s Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure. Explore the Banyan Tree Adventure, the Emerald Forest Mirror Maze, and of course, the Butterfly Aviary, filled with hundreds, if not thousands of stunningly beautiful, fluttering butterflies.

The Track Family Fun Parks offers many options for total family fun! Bumper rides, laser tag, kiddie rides, mini golf courses, arcade games, and batting cages, everything you need to stay entertained for hours on end. Although many of the activities are outdoors there are indoor activities such as laser tag, mini golf, arcade games, and more. Plus, when there is a break in the weather, your family can enjoy the outside activities including go-karts and the new Branson Ferris Wheel.

Branson’s Titanic Museum Attraction “boards passengers” every day, rain or shine, for an exciting interactive adventure sharing and remembering what happened when the “unsinkable ship” sank in the deep waters or the north Atlantic Ocean over 100 years ago. The World’s Largest Toy Museum Complex includes over 1 million toys from the 1800’s to present, including model trains, planes, cars, dolls, superhero figures, Disney, and much more. It’s 26,000 sq. ft. contains, five museums and, from “Star Wars” to Barbie Dolls and BB guns, several unique collections.

3. Shopping: Branson offers a variety of shopping that is unmatched by any travel destination anywhere near its size. Major shopping areas including Tanger Outlets, historic downtown Branson, and Branson Landing with its over 100 retail stores, restaurants, and attractions remain open rain or shine. Hundreds of other specialty shops, flea markets, galleries, and stores, including the famous “Dick’s 5 & 10,” also remain open offering shoppers a unique world class shopping experience regardless of the weather.

Obviously, there will be a few days of the year when ice, snow, or some other weather condition might impact the total Branson area, but on a day to day basis, the three major things Branson is noted for, its shows, attractions, and shopping, are available regardless of the weather.

For more information on “Branson’s Big Three;” Branson shows, attractions, or lodging please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com


“it starring the Hughes Brothers” makes for fantastic Branson entertainment!

The Hughes Brothers, Ryan,left, Adam, Andy, Jason,Marty

All I can say is WOW! From beginning to end it starring the Hughes Brothers is non-stop quality entertainment from the Hughes family to yours. I’ve seen and enjoyed this show for years, but this year’s show just knocked my socks off! It was like seeing a new show, and what a great show I saw.

The show’s powerful opening set features the stars of the show, the Hughes Brothers, Marty, Jason, Adam, Ryan, and Andy. It sets the stage for what’s to follow. They perform Alabama’s Here We Are; Welcome, from Disney’s “Brother Bear;” and Avicii’s Hey Brother, closing the set out with an absolutely spectacular performance of Pure Imagination from “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.”

There’s just something about familial harmonies that’s hard to beat and, these guys are just plain good. The opening set immerses the audience in that talent while exposing them to the variety of music they will experience throughout the show. The Brothers perform many numbers throughout the show, with others and by themselves. Two of my favorite pure Brothers’ numbers, from among the many, were Pure Imagination and their a capella version of America.

In addition to singing, the Brothers maintain a constant relaxed interaction with the audience. That interaction, through their comedy and sharing of information about themselves and the family is an inherent part of the show as it transitions from act to act throughout the show.

The Hughes family is billed as one of the, if not the largest family acts performing together anywhere. And it’s quite a cast, including, the four brothers and their wives Marty and Cindy, Jason and Mara, Adam and Vikki, Ryan and Carina, and Andy and Becky, plus over 35 children ranging in age from two to 24.

The number and makeup of the cast is a unique entertainment experience and phenomenon in itself, but it’s so much more! It’s not just putting kids on a stage. These kids are there because they want to be, are talented, and know what they are doing. Jason Hughes, the show’s producer, once said, “Sure it might be a four-year old performing, but it’s going to be one of the best performances by a four-year-old that you have ever seen.”

The kids in the audience seemed excited to see their “peers” performing. This, at the same time their parents and grandparents are enjoying the same performance. From the Hughes Brothers themselves, to their wives, and kids these are very talented entertainers presenting some awesome entertainment.

From among many, here are three of my favorite highlights featuring members of the Hughes family other than the Brothers. The performance of the Halo Theme Song featuring Aaron, William, and Hannah and the barrel drums was a WOW moment. The drums were made from 55 gallon barrels and their combination with the violins and lighting made for an awesome experience. I loved it. It was one of the most unique and amazing violin performances I have ever seen on a Branson stage.

The Teens really knocked it out of the park with their Teen Medley.

The “Teens’ Medley” of I Did It All, Geronimo, and Can’t Hold Us was so much fun! Not only was it colorful and well sung, but the dancing and energy within the performance was phenomenal. The younger Hughes Brothers’ Kids’ performance of the Trunk Song was just a joy. You won’t believe what they do with those trunks, but you will love it!

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. This is one great show, with lots of everything for everyone, that families can enjoy simultaneously together. It also is a standalone show that adults will enjoy throughout. It’s hard to explain, but a joy to experience.

Family, yours and theirs, is the whole reason for this show. Nowhere is that more evident than when the Brothers and their wives are joined by the rest of the family as they sing All You Need Is Love and Somebody To Love. “It” would be hard to imagine a more unique, entertaining, or fun filled show for the whole family than it starring the Hughes Brothers.

For more information on it starring the Hughes Brothers please contact the Branson Tourism Center, the sellers of over 5 million Branson show and attraction tickets, by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com

Pursuit of a dream leads Presleys onto the airwaves and into the caves

Lloyd, right, and Gary (Herkimer) Presley at Fantastic Caverns in the early 1960s.

Building and opening Branson’s first live music theatre, on the now famous “Branson Strip,” took more than a dream. That doesn’t mean however, like many of life’s sterling accomplishments, it didn’t start with a dream and, become realized because of its passionate pursuit.

The longtime dream of Lloyd Presley, the family’s father, was to be able to play music for a living. It was a dream he never gave up. Even as he married the love of his life, Bessie Mae, in 1942; started a trucking firm delivering produce to grocery stores in Springfield, Missouri; and began a family in 1943, he played and sang whenever he had a chance.

In the early 1940’s, he teamed up with the Luttrell Brothers to form a bluegrass group called the “Ozark Playboys.” The group became a staple performing all over southwest, Missouri just about everywhere and anytime they had an invitation to perform. The talent and passion of their performances increased their popularity to the point where KGBX, a radio station in Springfield, Missouri, invited them to put on a local show once a week. That show, “Saturday Night Jamboree” immediately preceded the stations’ nationwide broadcast of the “Grand Ole Opry.” They also played live on Springfield’s KWTO “the station that launched the careers of such country music legends as Chet Atkins, Porter Wagoner, and June Carter Cash.”

The second generation of the Presleys, “filled in” with the births of Deanna, Gary, Janice, and Steve. The young family regularly went to Lloyd’s performances together. In what should have been a surprise to no one, the kids, “of their own choice,” and without formal lessons, taught themselves to play and sing.

Loyd Evans, a promoter and a deejay at KGBX, had acted as the emcee with the “Ozark Playboys” on the popular long running radio show, “The Country Caravan.” In 1962, he arranged for the Presleys to perform every Saturday night in the 1000 seat auditorium of “Springfield’s Fantastic Caverns.” The show, “Farmarama,” was recorded for re-broadcast on KGBX later. It featured Lloyd, 18-year-old Deanna and ten-year-old Janice as vocalists, and 14-year-old Gary on guitar.

Evans thought the show could use some comedy. The result was 15-Year-Old-Gary creating the hilarious character “Herkimer.” Ever since, “Herkimer’s” been making audiences laugh as a highlight feature of the Presleys’ shows.

There was yet another cave for the Presleys to visit on the way to opening their own theatre on Highway 76 near Branson. Monday through Friday nights, Lloyd, Gary, and Janice performed in “The Tri-Lakes Opry” show at the “Under Ground Theatre,” a cave near Branson. The show was produced by Bob White and was also recorded for re-broadcast and syndication all over the Midwest.

While performing at the Underground Theatre, the Presleys realized two things. The first was the importance of air conditioning to an audience. The second was that it was time to realize the dream of owning their own theatre. Stepping out on faith; the result was the building of Branson’s first live music theatre on the now famous “Branson Strip.” On June 30,1967, the air conditioned “Presleys’ Theatre” opened, featuring the first performance of, what has become one of Branson’s most popular and beloved shows, Presleys’ Country Jubilee.