Category Archives: Shows

Best Branson Insider Highlights for July 2017

Families will enjoy the spectacular magic of “Illusionist Rick Thomas.”

“One of the greatest joys of July in Branson is to see so many families creating wonderful vacation memories. Branson overflows with the vibrancy of families together, experiencing the unique fun, excitement, and spirit of Branson,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “From spectacular firework displays, to lakes, over 120 live shows, rides, water parks, golf, and more, there’s just so much to see and do in Branson.” She added.

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

Featured Show of the Month: If your family wants to have a great time together, enjoys magic, stunning illusions and spectacular beauty, you don’t want to miss the Illusionist Rick Thomas Show. With headline shows in Las Vegas, years of successful tours around the world, and the honor of the Academy of Magical Arts awarding him its “Stage Magician of the Year Award,” he’s at the top of the magic game. His unique ability to keep audiences of all ages and walks of life simultaneously spellbound throughout his performance is “magical.”

Hit Las Vegas show, “Raiding the Rock Vault,” comes to Branson for a limited engagement.

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: Raiding the Rock Vault goes back in time on a magical musical journey. That journey takes you from 1960 to 1990, with classics from The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Eagles, Queen, AC/DC, Deep Purple, Van Halen, Journey, Heart, Free, Aerosmith and others. Experience history of rock ‘n’ roll as it comes to life in this live rock and roll concert featuring a stunning light show, video screen, dancers and high-quality concert sound production.

Featured Event of the Month: Silver Dollar City’s Star-Spangled Summer Festival offers family fun and entertainment you won’t find anywhere else. See the world famous Harlem Globetrotters perform their one of a kind show for their final season at Silver Dollar City, your favorite cartoon characters, Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience, and much more! And that’s beside everything else Silver Dollar City offers. The 1880s styled them park has over 40 thrilling rides and attractions including “The World’s Most Daring Wood Coaster,” Outlaw Run, demonstrating craftsmen, shows, and other activities.

Limited Engagement Highlights (Sorted by starting date)

Jul 5: T. G. Sheppard & Kelly Lang
Jul 6-22: Raiding the Rock Vault

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

Jul 1-Sep 4: Branson Landing’s Annual School Shoes For Kids
Jul 1-16: Silver Dollar City Star-Spangled Summer
Jul 1: Rockaway Beach Centennial Car & Bike Show
Jul 1: 30th Annual Fireburst Fireworks Celebration
Jul 1-4: Tanger 4th of July Weekend Sale
Jul 1-7: Ballparks of America – Week 6 Independence Day Boomer 10U-13U
Jul 1-3: Rockaway Beach 4th of July Weekend
Jul 2: Independence Day Celebration – Galena, MO
Jul 2: Chateau on the Lake Fourth of July Celebration
Jul 3: Branson Landing’s Annual Liberty Light Up Fireworks Show
Jul 3-4:
Main Street Lake Cruises – July 3rd & 4th Fireworks Cruises
Jul 4: Rockin’ Rockaway Beach 4th of July Celebration
Jul 4: Firecracker 5000 Run
Jul 4: Hollister’s Annual 4th of July Celebration
Jul 4: 4th of July Celebration at Branson Auto & Farm Museum
Jul 6-22: Limited Engagement – Raiding the Rock Vault
Jul 8-14: Ballparks of America – Week 7 Mid-Summer Classic 10U-13U
Jul 14: The Dan Benton Band – Live in Concert
Jul 15-21: Ballparks of America – Week 8 The 76 Strip Sizzle 10U-13U
Jul 15-Jul 30: Silver Dollar City Moonlight Madness
Jul 22: SECOND ANNUAL VVA GOLF TOURNAMENT
Jul 22-Jul 23: Branson in July! Antique Festival of the Ozarks
Jul 22-Jul 28: Ballparks of America – Week 9 Missouri Heat Classic 10U-13U
Jul 28: The Mark Chapman Band – Live in Concert
Jul 28-Aug 12: Summer Movies in the Park at the Branson RecPlex
Jul 29-Aug 4: Ballparks of America – Week 10 Back to School Bash 12U-13U

For additional information on these events, Branson’s shows and attractions, or lodging please contact the Branson Tourism Center by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com, or calling 1-800-785-1550 and talking with a Branson-based vacation planning specialist. They will be delighted to answer any questions, and assist you with show or lodging reservations and there’s absolutely no charge for this service.

 

Wouldn’t your family enjoy Memorial Day Weekend in Branson?

Silver Dollar City’s “Wildfire”, the Branson Ferris Wheel, Ride the Ducks, and the Million Dollar Quartet are just a few of the many ways to have fun in Branson.

“Memorial Day Weekend in Branson is a unique exciting experience,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “Oh, there’s other places with world-class theme parks, natural outdoor beauty, lakes, live shows, and attractions, but there’s few, if any, that have them all so conveniently located. Branson does!” he added.

Garrison says that not only is it the first “long summer weekend,” but it’s the “official” beginning of Branson’s summer outdoor season. Its spectacular lakes and natural outdoor beauty are in their full splendor. All Branson’s live shows and attractions are open, and ready to provide its visitors with a special experience not available anywhere else.

The proof’s in the pudding! From its oldest and most popular attraction, the 1880s styled Silver Dollar City, to its world-class live shows, and lakeside shopping and entertainment venue, Branson Landing, Branson is unique. What other tourist destination offers everything Branson does? All amid the natural wonder and beauty of a place like the Ozarks, and less than five minutes from a pristine 43,000 acre lake?

All of Branson’s most popular live shows are performing over the Memorial Day Weekend. * These include:

Acrobats of China
Amazing Pets
Broadway’s Greatest Hits
Clay Cooper’s Country Express
Comedy Jamboree
Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies
Grand Jubilee
The Haygoods
Illusionist Rick Thomas
it starring the Hughes Brothers
Legends in Concert
Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess
Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen
Million Dollar Quartet
New Jersey Nights
Ozarks Country
Ozarks Gospel
Pierce Arrow
Presleys’ Country Jubilee
Puttin On The Ritz
Raiding the Country Vault
Shoji Tabuchi

“Few world-class theme parks in the world have become part of the natural beauty surrounding them,” said Garrison. “Silver Dollar City has!” The view from the top of the loops of its world class coaster “Wildfire” spectacularly illustrates this remarkable achievement.

Silver Dollar City’s Bluegrass and BBQ Festival, features over 50 Bluegrass bands and groups. These groups present hundreds of performances throughout the park. Performers appearing over the Memorial Day Weekend include 14-time Grammy Award-winner Ricky Skaggs; Blue Highway; and many more.* The festival’s House of BBQ and Pitmaster’s Court offer a variety of mouthwatering BBQ. There’s demonstrations from grilling experts and an impressive selection of BBQ sauces, and more, to browse. As well as the Festival, Silver Dollar City offers all the shows, rides, craft demonstrations, and more, that makes it one of the top theme parks in the nation.

Table Rock Lake offers 43,000 surface acres of potential aquatic fun, excitement, and adventure. Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial kick off a summer of fun on the lake including sunbathing, swimming, boating, water skiing, scuba diving, and just about any other summer water activity a person would want.

Branson’s biggest water park, White Water, opens for its 2017 season on May 27. Its 12 acres and over 7,000 feet of water slides, offer more than two million gallons of water excitement and fun to enjoy. There’s an adventure for every member of the family. There’s “Splashaway Cay” and “Coconut Grove” for the smaller children and toddlers. The more adventurous will enjoy the seven story “Kalani Towers and ” the drops and speed of rides such as “KaPau Plummet,” “Pipeline Plunge” or the “Raging River Rapids.”

“If it’s outdoors, golfing, ziplines, hiking, boating, fishing, biking and more, the chances are that Branson has it,” Branson Tourism Center’s Garrison said.  “It’s really neat how all the outdoor activities conveniently combine with Branson’s live shows, attractions, and everything else into a virtually seamless vacation experience.

There’s two major firework displays at dusk on Sunday evening, May 28. One is at the Chateau on the Lake, as part of its Memorial Day Celebration, and the other at Big Cedar Lodge, as part of its Patriotic Picnic and Fireworks event. The public is invited to both; with the best views from Table Rock Lake, the property’s grounds or, in the case of the Chateau on the Lake, the peninsula area located just north of the Table Rock Dam to the west of its auxiliary spillways on State Highway 165.

Garrison stresses that Memorial Day Weekend is one of Branson’s busiest. He suggests advance reservations to ensure availability of the best lodging and show seating. For more information or tickets for any of Branson’s 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.

* Schedules subject to change and not all artists are appearing every day.

Best Branson Insider Highlights for March 2017


The Presleys are celebrating 50 years of entertaining Branson audiences!

“Even with the relatively mild winter, there’s just something special about March in the Ozarks as its hills begin to blossom out with spring foliage and colors,” said, Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “Besides the clear signals that Mother Nature’s sending, the opening of Silver Dollar City, Presleys’ Country Jubilee, and many of Branson’s most popular shows and attractions are clear signs that it’s spring in Branson,” he added.

Here’s our Featured Show and Event of the Month, with a list of the highlights of special events you can enjoy in Branson during the month of March:

Featured Show of the Month: The first 2017 performance of Presleys’ Country Jubilee, on March 10, will be the beginning of the Presley family’s 50th year performing in Branson. It’s a show that should be on everyone’s Bucket List of Branson experiences not to be missed. The quality of its music and the unique humor of “Herkimer” and “Cecil” make it one of the most entertaining shows in Branson. Beyond that, the Presleys’ are blessed with the innate ability to communicate their genuine love for what they are doing, each other, and family, to their audience. For 50 years, and counting, they have created wonderful Branson memories for millions as they inspire and entertain Branson audiences.

Featured Event of the Month: When the Showboat Branson Belle leaves the dock on March 4, it will mark more than its maiden cruise for 2017. Guests will be able to enjoy the enhancements of the first phase of the Showboat’s two-year multi-million dollar “guest experience relaunch.”

Nick Guevel, the Director of Operations for the Showboat said, “This includes a complete redo of our theatre and dining areas, including carpeting, stage, chairs, wall paper and painting. We have expanded our premium dining services, provided more space in the general dining area, and much more.” Another of the many enhancements is the new top deck seating for expansive lake views as they are entertained by live top deck acoustic performances.

The Showboat’s headline show CELEBRATE will have a new dimension as it performs on the revamped stage and presents its exciting new 2017 show.  CELEBRATE includes “The ShowMen; Branson-favorite, performer Cassandré Faimon-Haygood; the four-man dance troupe Rhythm, billed as The Fastest Feet West of the Mississippi for their percussive dance and creative choreography; and comedian emcee Christopher James with ultra-sharp improvisation, magic and humor. All are accompanied by the live band, the Rockin’ Dockers.”

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

Mar 2 – Mar 4: Bassmaster’s Central Open
Mar 7 – Mar 10: Missouri Park & Recreation Association Conference & Expo
Mar 8 – Mar 14: NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship 2017
Mar 14: Annual Leprechaun Open Golf Tournament
Mar 16 – Mar 18: Branson Praisefest
Mar 17: St Patrick’s Day
Mar 18: Wild West Open Championship – American Cheer Power
Mar 30: 2nd Annual Rock and Rev – Charity Car Raffle and Live Music Event
Mar 31 – Apr 1: Benefit the Badge Tournament
Mar 31 – Apr 2: Silver Dollar City Young Christians Weekend

For additional information on these events, or any of Branson’s shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please contact the Branson Tourism Center by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com, or calling 1-800-785-1550 and talking with a Branson-based vacation planning specialist. They will be delighted to answer any questions, and assist you with show or lodging reservations and there’s absolutely no charge for this service.

 

“Branson – Up Close and Personal” with Adele Tribute Artist J. C. Marie

J.C. Marie during her Legends in Concert Adele Tribute .

How did the question, “Can we call you Mrs. Adele,” help J. C. Marie create a Legend? Read on to find out and don’t miss her Adele tribute in the world renown Legends in Concert show, in Branson, March 26 through May 16.

“Branson – Up Close and Personal,” is a service of the Branson Tourism Center. It provides readers with an interesting and up-close look at a Branson star or personality in a concise Question and Answer format.

BTC: Where were your born and when?
JC: French Camp, California in 1980.

BTC: When did you first start singing?
JC: I have been singing for as far back as I can remember.

BTC: What were the circumstances?
JC: Both my parents and older sister sang. I can remember singing for a group of a few hundred people, when I was about seven years old. We sang for a church in California as part of a group called the “Missionettes.”

BTC: When did you first realize that you wanted to make a living singing?
JC: Around my senior year in high school. I realized that I loved performing, musical theatre, and wanted to pursue it when I went to college.

BTC: What college did you attend?
JC: Azusa Pacific University.

BTC:  Did you receive a degree from Azusa Pacific?
JC: I sure did, a BA with a major in “English” and minor in “Drama/Theatre.” I thought that teaching would be a great fall back job if I couldn’t make it as a performer. Except for substitute teaching between “gigs” I haven’t had to fall back on it yet.

BTC: Where was your first professional gig?
JC: I started auditioning in the Los Angeles area and ended up doing a small 99 seat theatre production of the “Man of La Mancha.”

BTC: When?
JC: Right after I graduated college in 2002

BTC: Between then and becoming an Adele Tribute Artist how did you spend your time developing professionally?
JC: Performing aboard cruise ships and doing professional Christmas caroling. The caroling was in a capella quartets, dressed in full Dickens regalia, at Disney Parks, hotels, celebrity parties, and other places.

BTC: Did you study at Oxford in England?
JC: I did! During my junior year in college I did one “Study Abroad Semester” at Oxford.

BTC: Did your substitute teaching have anything to do with you deciding to become an Adele Tribute Artist?
JC: Yes. After working on cruise ships for several years I was trying to find a job in Las Vegas. While auditioning, I did substitute teaching. In late 2011, while doing a long-term sub in a high school Spanish class, some students said I looked like Adele and asked if they could call me “Mrs. Adele.” I looked Adele up on my I Phone and saw the likeness.

BTC: How did that likeness end up in you becoming an Adele Tribute Artist?
JC: It must have been in the stars. I heard Legends in Concert was having an audition in a few weeks. At the same time I made the discovery that the substitute teacher in the next class room had been a production manager for Legends in Concert. With his help and advice, I studied her mannerisms, singing style, accent, and worked perfecting my technique on the songs I wanted to use for the audition.

BTC: How did the audition go?
JC: The January 2012 audition was an “open call” for dancers. I had to dance, but when I finished, I asked if I could audition Adele for them. They said, “Yes.” I waited two hours while they finished the rest of the “dance call,” and auditioned. Within two days I got a call to come in and audition for the CEO. I did and they offered me Atlantic City for the summer. That gave me about three or four months to put my act together and go on stage.

BTC: How long have you been performing Adele with Legends in Concert?
JC: I have been performing Adele continuously for Legends in Concert since the summer of 2012.

BTC: What specific efforts do you go through to recreate Adele’s mannerisms, style, and vocal characteristics to provide as authentic an Adele experience as possible for your audiences?
JC: Thank God for You Tube! I have studied hundreds of hours of her videos, to learn her mannerisms, looks, and style. I even draw three of her visible tattoos each day. Besides my vocal warm-ups, which I combine with putting on my makeup, I spend about 45 minutes to get ready for my set.

BTC: What is your personal favorite Adele song?
JC: It’s “One and Only.”

BTC: Based on your feel of audience reactions to your performances, which Adele song is the audiences favorite?
JC: Right now, “Hello.”

BTC: Do you do gigs outside of Legends in Concert?
JC: Not many because Legends has kept me so busy.

BTC: Outside of Adele, if you could perform or meet with any entertainer/person (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
JC: I’m a huge musical theatre fan, so it would be Barbara Streisand

BTC: What kind of summer stock would you most like to perform if time permits?
JC: Musicals. My dream show would be “Into the Woods.”

BTC: In the Legends in Concert Christmas show you sang “Silent Night.” How did you decide on that?
JC: Adele hasn’t recorded any Christmas songs, but she has mentioned Etta James as one of her influences. The version of “Silent Night” I sing is an Etta James arrangement.

BTC: Adele or not, what is your personal favorite song?
JC:  Barbara Streisand singing, “Don’t Rain On My Parade” from “Funny Girl.”

BTC: When did you first perform in Branson?
JC: During the spring of 2014

BTC: Had you ever been to Branson before that?
JC: No.

BTC: What is your first impression of Branson?
JC: It’s surrounded by natural beauty.

BTC: What’s your favorite thing to do in Branson when you are not performing?
JC: I love Silver Dollar City!

BTC: Where is your favorite place to eat in Branson – Favorite dish?
JC:  Wakyoto Japanese Restaurant across from Walmart. I love their Sushi.

BTC: In your career, of all the performances you have made and you have been in, no matter how big or small, which one personally meant the most to you and why?
JC: Playing the role of “Dolly” in Hello Dolly” during my senior year in college. It was amazing!

BTC:  Do you have a favorite hobby or activity and what is it?
JC: Sit around watching movies. I love movies.

BTC: Do you have a “little known” fact about yourself that you think our readers would enjoy?
JC: I’m addicted to chap stick and use it multiple times daily.

BTC: What part of your show/act do you enjoy performing the most and why?
JC: I love the talking bits and laughing between my songs.

BTC: How do you feel about performing in Legends in Concert?
JC: I love it. The show’s concept has something for everyone and leaves the audience wanting more.

Legends in Concert starts its legendary 2017 Branson Season with its spring lineup, running from February 3 through May 16. The all-star lineup starts with George Strait, The Temptations, The Blues Brothers™ and Elvis Presley. Guest Artist Prince joins them starting February 16, Adele  March 26, and Michael Jackson joining them from May 12 through May 16.

For more information or tickets for the Legends in Concert, or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or lodging, please contact the Branson Tourism Center at 1-800-785-1550. One of our  Branson based Travel Planners will answer your questions and help with reservations and getting the best available show seats and lodging. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 9:00 AM to 8.00 PM.

An old Branson tradition just keeps shuffling on

Two popular Branson shows, AYO starring the Voices of Glory and SIX will be shuffling off to new theaters for the 2017 season.

Two popular Branson shows, AYO starring the Voices of Glory and SIX, are among the those that will be shuffling off to new theaters for the 2017 season.

Not to be confused with the “Shindig Shuffle,” that’s part of Branson’s unique fun filled Ozark Mountain Shindig, the traditional, “Branson shuffle” is well underway. Ever since The Baldknobbers started it all and Presleys’ Country Jubilee opened the first show on what is now the famed “Branson Strip,” decades ago; the Branson Shuffle has been a part of Branson’s live entertainment.

The Baldknobbers, “shuffled” from their original location in historic downtown Branson before settling into their current location on the Branson Strip in 1969. Ironically, Branson’s iconic first show on the Branson Strip, Presleys’ Country Jubilee, has never been involved in the Branson Shuffle, and will be celebrating their 50th year in their original location during 2017.

It’s uncertain whether the “shuffle” relates more to the shuffling of cards or a dance, but one thing is certain, it does involve movement and change. Each year, there is a “shuffle” as some shows move from one theatre to another into the locations and timeslots that they believe will best enable them to develop, grow, and provide Branson visitors with the best entertainment experience. Here’s the current status of the Branson Shuffle, sorted alphabetically, as of December 14, 2016:

#1 Hits of the 60s: Clay Cooper Theatre
Abba Tribute: Thank You for the Music: Hamners’ Variety Theater
Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai: Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre*
AYO staring the Voices of Glory: Starlite
Billy Dean: Jim Stafford Theatre
Beach Boys California Dreamin: Hamners’ Variety Theater
Blackwoods: Dutton Theatre
George Dyer: Americana
Raiding the Country Vault: Starlite Theatre
SIX: Hughes Brothers Theatre

The result of the Branson Shuffle is a source of excitement and anticipation during this time of the year in Branson. It’s born not only because of the physical move, but the show changes and innovation that often accompanies such moves the next season because of the location and physical attributes of the new venue.

The Branson Tourism Center’s Branson Show List, updated on a daily basis as information becomes available, is Branson’s most current list of shows, schedules, ticketing and other information. If more information on the status of the Branson Shuffle for Branson’s 2017 shows is desired, please call one of Branson Tourism Center’s Branson based Travel Planners at 1-800-785-1550. They will be delighted to answer any questions you might have about Branson shows, hotels, or attractions and assist you in planning your Branson trip. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM.

* The “Mickey Gilley Theatre” through the 2016 season.

Six awesome reasons why you don’t want to miss Branson’s Christmas Week!

Silver Dollar City's Old Time Christmas, New Year's Eve with Legends in Concert, the Amazing Pets Show ,and Tanger Outlet.

Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas, New Year’s Eve with Legends in Concert, the Amazing Pets Show ,and Tanger Outlets are just a few of the almost infinite choices awaiting Branson visitors during Branson’s Christmas Week.

Branson’s Christmas Week, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, offers Branson visitors the same world class shopping and entertainment experience that makes Branson one of the premier vacation destinations in America,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “From tigers and butterflies, to acrobats, drive through Christmas lighting displays, museums, world class shopping, New Year’s Eve celebrations second to none, and so much more; if you’re looking for fun, entertainment, excitement and adventure as part of your Christmas vacation then Branson’s Christmas Week in Branson is the place for you!” he added.

Here’s a list of six reasons why:

1.Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas Festival: Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas Festival is one of the Nation’s top Christmas events. Its spectacular display of five million Christmas lights throughout the park, entertainment, parade, Broadway style shows, and much more has been recognized and featured nationally by USA Today, CNN Travel, The Travel Channel, Good Morning America and many others.

Although the award winning 1880s styled theme park, lit with over 5 million sparkling Christmas lights, is filled with shows; crafts; unique shopping; food; weather permitting, dozens of exciting rides and demonstrating craftsmen; and other activities, something special begins to happen each evening at dusk, in the Square on Main Street. First, the 5-Story Special Effects Christmas Tree comes to life, with its 350,000 colorful sparkling LED lights, choreographed to Christmas music, and making over 100 light changes per second. In its glow, “the most famous reindeer of all” leads Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade with its nine musical floats, illuminated with 200,000 ultra-bright LED lights; 33 colorful costumed characters, including Bumble the Abominable Snowman, 14-foot moose characters, 12-foot tall elves and 10-foot candy canes, plus penguins, elves and a troupe of marching wooden soldiers.”

2. Branson Shows: Although many of Branson’s shows are closed for the season, some of its most popular shows will be open during Branson’s Christmas Week presenting the live entertainment for which Branson is noted. This includes, in alphabetical order, The Acrobats of China, Amazing Pets, Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express, Comedy Jamboree, Dixie Stampede, Grand Jubilee, Hamner’s Unbelievable Variety, The Haygoods, Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, Legends in Concert, Million Dollar Quartet, Moses, Pierce Arrow and the Showboat Branson Belle along with many more.

3. Branson Attractions: In addition to Silver Dollar City, the majority of Branson’s other attractions will be open offering visitors a range of exciting adventures and activities. How about an up close encounter with the tigers and other big cats at the National Tiger Sanctuary; a ziplining adventure on Branson Zip Lines, or an entertaining interactive experience aboard Branson’s Titanic Museum attraction. In addition to everything else the Titanic offers its passengers on a daily basis, it’s celebrating its spectacular Christmas and Winter Celebration, as magically, inside and out, the ship “hails the sights, sounds, and joy of the season” and is aglow with glittering lights, festive decorations, and the spirit of the Holidays.

And that’s just the beginning! With museums as varied at the Branson Dinosaur Museum and the World Largest Toy Museum, the unique “White Flight” exhibit at the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure; the Promised Land Zoo, hiking on one of our beautiful Ozark trails, golf, fishing, and so much more, it’s hard to imagine a travel destination, anywhere near Branson’s size that could offer more.

4. Spectacular Christmas Lighting Displays: Although Christmas Day is past, all the major drive through Christmas lighting displays will remain open through December 31. This includes the Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights, Ozark Mountain Christmas Lights & Village, Branson’s Gift of Lights and the giant 30 foot nativity scene on top of Mount Branson overlooking Lake Taneycomo and historic downtown Branson.

5. Branson Shopping: Shopping is an important part of the Branson experience and Branson’s Christmas Week is no exception. From the quaint specialty shops offering arts and crafts and one of a kind items; to the shops of Historic Downtown Branson, featuring “Dicks 5 & 10,” the unique “Branson Landing,” with its 100 retail stores, and outlet malls such as “Tanger Outlets” and “The Meadows,” Branson’s Christmas Week shopping will satisfy the most avid shopper.

6. New Year’s Eve: From the midnight fireworks at the Chateau on the Lake to a New Year’s Eve party while cruising Lake Taneycomo aboard Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess, a 100 foot luxury yacht, or one of the unique celebrations by one of Branson’s shows, both 2016 and Branson’s Christmas Week fade away and 2017 emerges as only Branson can do it. It’s hard to imagine a more unique, entertaining or exciting New Year’s Eve than one spent with some of Branson’s most popular shows as they welcome in 2017 with their unique New Year’s Eve celebrations including:

Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve (Clay Cooper and Haygoods joint celebration)
Grand Jubilee
Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show
Hughes Brothers New Year’s Eve Show
Legends in Concert
Million Dollar Quartet
Pierce Arrow

Branson Tourism Center’s Garrison advises advanced planning and reservations for any trip to Branson during the Christmas Season because of the off season scheduling of shows, limited seating, and the fact that some Branson lodging facilities are closed. He suggests that an easy way to avoid problems, save time and, in many cases, money, is by simply calling the Branson Tourism Center, toll free at 1-800-785-1550 and talking with one of their Branson based Travel Planners who will be delighted to answer any questions and assist in making any show or lodging reservations. There is absolutely no charge for this service.

 

It’s no illusion, the diversity of Branson music shows is absolutely amazing!

The Million Dollar Quartet, David Brooks as Jerry Lee Lewis, left, on the piano; Brad Waters as "Carl Perkins;" Austin Wilson as "Jay Perkins," the bass player; Tyler K. Hunter as "Elvis Presley;" and Cliff Wright as "Johnny Cash"

The Million Dollar Quartet, David Brooks as Jerry Lee Lewis, left, on the piano; Brad Waters as “Carl Perkins;” Austin Wilson as “Jay Perkins,” the bass player; Tyler K. Hunter as “Elvis Presley;” and Cliff Wright as “Johnny Cash”

“From the magic of Illusionist Rick Thomas to Reza Edge of Illusion, and many in-between, Branson is blessed with a variety of some of the finest illusionists in the world, but one thing is for certain, the quality and diversity of Branson’s music shows is no illusion!” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Here’s four shows, from our list of Most Popular and Requested Branson Shows, that illustrate the point,” she added.

Million Dollar Quartet: A singular moment, when four of the most extraordinary musical talents of our time, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins, came together for one unforgettable night, is captured in this amazing production based on an actual event! Even neater, is the fact that the music in this show, songs such as That’s All Right, I Walk the Line, Riders in the Sky, Hound Dog, Peace in the Valley, Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, Blue Suede Shoes, and many more, are songs many already know and grew up with, not songs specifically written for the show. When I saw this show I said, “Over the last three decades, I have seen many Branson shows of all types, but never one like the Million Dollar Quartet! An outstanding cast, timeless music that everyone knows, and a great story line combine with the show’s unique set and great production to create an incredible entertainment experience for the whole family that should not be missed.”

The Haygoods: An amazing Branson experience! Excellent choreography, exquisite harmonies, state-of-the-art sound and special effects, a delightful sense of humor, and energy that never quits, you get it all in one show from one phenomenal family! In a recent review of this show I wrote, “Based on over 30 years of seeing Branson shows…I can testify to the fact that The Haygoods show is a WOW, WOW, and WOW, on a Three WOW Index with three WOWs being as high as you can get! From the ‘Get go,’ it’s two hours of the most unique, innovative, talented, energetic, personable, and exciting entertainment you will ever experience on a Branson stage.”

Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express: This show is great country music and so much more. When you take an entertainer like Clay Cooper and blend in a great band, some of the best dancers and choreographed dance routines in Branson, the comedy of Matt Gumm, the rope and gun handling performance of Johnny Lonestar and the strategically placed vocal performances of other cast members, it is over two hours of the finest nonstop “express,” or otherwise, entertainment in Branson hosted by a performer who can work an audience as beautifully as he sings and his wife choreographs and dances.”

The amazing SIX.

The amazing SIX.

SIX: This unique show is another outstanding example of the diversity of Branson’s music shows. You will hear the sounds of percussion, strings, horns and other instruments, but they’re just nowhere to be found! You will experience two hours of the most unique, exciting, and memorable music you have ever heard; great vocals along with the sound of an actual band with all of the sounds, both vocal and instrumental, coming from the same place, the mouths of the SIX Knudsen brothers. It truly is an amazing thing to see, hear, and experience and something that will not soon be forgotten.

For more information on these or other great Branson shows or lodging 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

 

 

Just how good are you at Dixie Stampede Trivia?

The beautiful horses, color, pageantry of Dixie Stampede's Finale Finale .*

The beautiful horses, color, and pageantry of Dixie Stampede’s Finale .*

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede is easily Branson’s most visited dinner attraction,” said Preston Garrison, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. With a twinkle in his eye, he added, “No surprise there, after all it’s billed as ‘The World’s Most Visited Dinner Attraction,’ but I’ve always wondered, just how many horseshoes do all those horses use each year?”

That got me thinking, outside of the fact that the answer to that question would make a great trivia question, that there’s an awful lot that goes into creating the fun, adventure, pageantry, and excitement that those attending Dixie Stampede get to experience. Who better to turn to for answers and information about that than John Richardson, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction?

Richardson shared a list of facts that was developed by Dixie Stampede, in response to questions that guests have asked about the show and its animals, that “illustrates the scope and scale of its production.” We thought it would be fun to take that information and present it in a Question and Answer (Q&A) format, and hope that you find it as interesting and fascinating as we did:

Q: Where does the white sand for the arena floor come from and how much is used each year?
A: Over 200 tons of white sand is “imported” from South Carolina for the arena floor each year.

Q: Why is that sand used and not some other material?
A: It creates a surface that is dust-free and gentler for the horses’ legs.

Q: How many yards of lace and ribbon are used on each Dixie Stampede Southern Belle costume?
A: Twenty yards.

Q: What are the dimensions of the “Conestoga Wagons” used in the show?
A: Each measures 25’8” long by 9’ high and is a true replica of those that carried settlers westward on the great wagon trains.

Q: What kind of horses are pulling the Wagons?
A: Each is pulled by teams of 2000-pound Belgian draft horses, known for their intelligence, size and strength.

Q: How many white doves of peace are released during the Patriotic Finale?
A: More than 50 which are raised and cared for on the Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede premises. Doves are always born in pairs; the female hatches first followed by the more aggressive male.

Q: How much grain do the stars of Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, the 32 magnificent horses, consume each year?
A: 104,000 pounds of grain per year.

Q: How many bales of hay do they consume?
A: The horses consume 3,500 bales of hay per year, weighing approximately 262,500 pounds.

Q: How many horseshoes do the Dixie Stampede horses go through each year?
A: Over 1,152.

Q: What are the horses bedded on?
A: 13,200 bales of hay and approximately 528,000 pounds of pine shavings each year which is kept clean and dry by round-the-clock stable hands.

Q: How much does the Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede’s buffalo herd weigh?
A: It weighs in at more than four tons.

The "Roman Ride" through a ring of fire.

The “Roman Ride” through a ring of fire.*

Q: What is the “Roman Ride?”
A: It’s an historic type of trick riding, featuring a team of two horses moving side-by-side with one rider standing astride them with one foot on each horse. Dixie Stampede’s Roman Riders have the added degrees of difficulty of splitting columns of fire, being surrounded by firefly torches, and ultimately jumping through the Hoop of Fire.

Q: What does its “signature four-course feast include?
A: Original creamy vegetable soup and a hot homemade biscuit; a tender whole rotisserie chicken; hickory-smoked barbequed pork loin; buttery corn on the cob; herb-basted potatoes; Dixie Stampede’s very own specialty dessert, and unlimited beverages, including Pepsi products. [Author’s Note: Having eaten it a number of times over the years, I can testify that it’s delicious and I have never left hungry!]

For more information or tickets for Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services at 1-800-785-1550 or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

* Courtesy of Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede

You’ll absolutely love the Duttons!

The Duttons, Benjamin, Timothy, Amy, Jonathon,Shelia, Abigail, and Dean

The Duttons, Benjamin, Timothy, Amy, Jonathon,Shelia, Abigail, and Dean

As I watched the Duttons show last week, I was again reminded why they have been so popular for so long and made it to the top ten on the NBC prime time hit show, “America’s Got Talent.” From their opening number, a medley, including the Fall Out Boys hit “Centuries,” “We Will Rock You,” and “Radioactive,” to their famed Finale, “Boil Them Cabbage Down,” it is a wonderful entertainment experience, filled with fun, great music, humor, inspiration, and that special Dutton warmth that simultaneously entertains and inspires the whole family.

The stars of the show, and the center around which it revolves, are the Dutton siblings Timothy, Benjamin, Jonathan, Abigail, and Amy, along with Tim’s wife Judith. Whether its vocal, instrumental, dancing or comedy, their talents alone are remarkable, but when the talents of drummer Rob Wilson, and other members of the Dutton family, are seamlessly integrated into the performance, the result is two hours of outstanding non-stop entertainment that simultaneously entertains adults as well as children.

The Dutton grand-kids, Benjamin Jr, Rachel, Isaac, Selina and Timmy doing a great job with "Jump, Jive and Wail." They are singing "Jump, Jive and Wail"

The Dutton grand-kids, Benjamin Jr, Rachel, Isaac, Selina and Timmy doing a great job with “Jump, Jive and Wail.”

I am not aware of a music show in Branson that is not suitable for children in terms of its content but, based on my personal experience, I can say that, with very few exceptions, such as it Starring the Hughes Brothers, the vast majority of Branson’s music shows have not been designed with a consistent flow of material and performers, strategically placed throughout the show, that will appeal to the children in the audience and hold their interest throughout. The Duttons does that “and then some!”

A perfect example, and one of my favorite numbers in the show, was their performance of “Cotton Eyed Joe.” The combination of their remarkable instrumental skills, with a neat “black light” performance featuring other members of the family, along with a demonstration of Benjamin’s superb dancing skills entertains both adults and children, throughout at the same high level.

From among many here are a few of my favorite highlights. Timothy Dutton demonstrated why he’s considered one of the most accomplished instrumentalists when he played a short segment of “Pachelbel’s Canon in D major” on a variety of instruments, from the violin and guitar to the mandolin and used a “looper” to combine them into “an orchestra.” WOW, was it ever something to see and hear; it was unbelievable. It’s hard to imagine a more entertaining, dramatic, or energetic performance of “The Orange Blossom Special” or “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” than the “Duttonized” version of these classics.

Amy’s performance of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons Summer Movement;” Tim and Judith’s duet of “You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All,” accented with the dancing of Shelia and Dean was as beautifully performed as it was touching; one of the most personal and sincere Veteran’s segments of any show in Branson; and their spectacular “patented” finale of “Boil Them Cabbage Down” were also favorites. “You Can Count On Me,” an inspiring and beautifully performed all family number, touched my heart because, to me, it captures what makes the Duttons so special; their commitment to each other, their craft, and entertaining their audience.

Cousin Julio "horning" in on Jonathan's banjo act.

Cousin Julio “horning” in on Jonathan’s banjo act.

Ok, I just have to mention cousin Julio, who, along with his straight man Jonathan, adds a large dose of humor to the show as he tries to “horn” in. It’s not only funny, but you won’t believe what he can do with those horns.

Some of you are probably asking, “Is there nothing in this show that you didn’t like?” The simple answer is, “Not much, not much at all.”

Previously I wrote, “From rock and roll to blue grass and country this show has a variety of music with something for everyone. It’s not the shows content alone however, that makes it so special. It’s how the Duttons present it! It’s that fabulous Dutton talent, instrumentality, flair, showmanship and their innate ability to instill that warm directly ‘from our family to you and your family’ feeling into its audience, that makes this show the unique, special and wonderful Branson entertainment experience that it is.” All I can say after seeing their show last week, is, “Ditto.”

For tickets or information for the Duttons show or for any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Branson Up-Close and Personal with the “M & M” of the Hughes Brothers Family

Lena Hughes, the blessed and proud Mother of the Hughes Brothers and their families.

Lena Hughes, the blessed and proud Mom, Mother-in-Law, and Grandmother of the Hughes family.

It is certainly no exaggeration to say that the “M & M” of the Hughes brothers, first, and still, as their Mother and, for over two decades as their Manger, Lena Hughes has been with them, on their inspired journey, since the very beginning. Lena’s five extremely talented sons, their talented wives, and children, make up the “world’s largest performing family,” and star in two of Branson’s most popular shows, it starring the Hughes Brothers and the Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, Branson’s longest running totally Christmas show.

“Branson-Up Close and Personal,” is a service of the Branson Tourism Center (BTC) and is intended to provide readers with an unprecedented look at a Branson celebrity or personality. The interview with Lena Hughes (LM) was conducted on July 28, 2016 for BTC by Gary J. Groman, a 30 year resident of the Branson area, local columnist and freelance writer, and is presented in a Question and Answer format:

BTC: In what town did you live prior to moving to Branson?
LH: Taylorsville, Utah.

BTC: Is that where the Hughes Brothers were born and raised?
LH: Yes.

BTC: For how many years did you live there?
LH:  26.

BTC: Did you perform with what was to become the “Hughes Brothers,” with your husband Gary, when they first started?
LH: Yes, I sang and played the clarinet; Gary played the accordion and sang

BTC: When was that?
LH: In the late 60’s.

BTC: What was the original name of the act?
LH: Oh, it was very original, “The Hughes Family Show.”

BTC: When did you and Gary stop performing?
LH: Around 1979. It then became the “Hughes Brothers Show.”

BTC: What role did you and Gary play with the show immediately after you stopped performing?
LH: That’s when I assumed the role of “M & M,” Mom and Manager and Gary ran the sound.

BTC: What did the Hughes Brothers do between 1983 and 1994?
LH: Traveled around the country performing from our home in Taylorsville.

BTC: When did you come to Branson?
LH: 1995

BTC: So in general terms, the Hughes Brothers have only lived in two places, Taylorville, UT and Branson, MO.
LH: Yes.

BTC: How big a gamble was it for the Hughes family to move to Branson?
LH: It was a big gamble, but the real story lies in all the things that pushed us to Branson.

BTC: What pushed you to Branson?
LH: It was a power bigger than us that we couldn’t fight. Consistently, over the years, as we performed people would tell us about Branson and suggest that it would be a perfect place for us to perform and, from the magazine in the Doctor’s office with the Osmonds in Branson on the front cover, to the man who finally helped us break into Branson, and much more in between, it just seemed like Branson was the place where we were supposed to be. After much prayer and getting a short contract with Silver Dollar City, the whole family moved to Branson in 1995.

BTC: What did the gamble involve?
LH: Selling our home and business and uprooting our entire family. Up to that time, the Hughes Brothers was not our only source of income because we had other income coming in from our business, but that all changed when we moved to Branson.

BTC: What’s your fondest memory of the time you spent in Taylorsville?
LH: I have two; working in my garden without any rocks in it and just watching the boys develop their talents.

BTC: What did you do between Silver Dollar City and the time you purchased the “Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre?”
LH: Persisted and, in faith, walked through every door that opened, as we developed our own show and were ready when the door opened and presented us with the opportunity to buy our own theatre.

BTC: When and what was that?
LH: In January of 2000 when Jim Thomas offered us the opportunity to buy the “Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre.”

BTC: Was it smooth sailing after that?
LH: Well the opportunity was a blessing, but it involved a miracle to fully bring it to fruition on the very last day, almost five years later.

BTC:  When did that happen?
LH: October 4, 2004.

BTC: Did you and Gary decide to add to the family after the boys had grown up?
LH: Yes, we adopted four, two sisters and a brother and sister from Russia in 2003. They were between the ages of 9 and 13.

BTC: When did the Hughes Brothers start incorporating other family members into the act?
LH: Over 20 years ago, when Kristina was about a year and half old and started coming up on stage and performing while we were at Silver Dollar City. Obviously, it has steadily evolved since then, to the point of where we are today.

Lena and her late husband Gary, surrounded by the Hughes family.

Lena and her late husband Gary, surrounded by the Hughes family in this 2013 Christmas photo.

BTC: What do you feel when you see your sons performing on stage with their wives and your grandchildren?
LH: I’m so inspired and think to myself, “This is why we do this.”

BTC: What’s your favorite part about this year’s it starring the Hughes Brothers?
LH: I really like the last number where about 20 of the children, ranging in age from 9 to 16, sing Children Will Listen. It’s beautifully arranged and performed and has such an inspirational message.

BTC: If a mother called you up and said, “Why should I bring my family to your show?” what would your response be?
LH: Families just love our show because its great entertainment that connects to all ages throughout the whole show, while reminding them so much of their own family, as they sense how much our family loves each other and being together.

BTC: Is the Hughes Brothers Christmas Show really 100 percent Christmas?
LH: It absolutely is!

BTC: Is there something special and unique about the living Nativity in the Hughes Brothers Christmas show?
LH: Yes, we are the only show in Branson, if not the whole world, that’s been able to produce a live “Baby Jesus,” from within the family, for the past 20 years.

BTC: What’s your fondest memory of the 21 years you have spent in Branson?
LH: My fondest memory is the day we took over total ownership of this theatre on October 4, 2004.

BTC: What one word best describes how you feel about being the “Mom,” “Mother-in-Law,” and “Grandmother” of the Hughes Brothers and their families?
LH: It has to be two words, “Blessed” and “Proud.” “Blessed” speaks for itself, but what I am “Proud” of is simply that they are just such good people.