How to give the one you love the perfect Branson Valentine

Branson is a special Valentine.

To those of us who live and work in Branson and to many of the millions who visit each year, Branson is a special place full of excitement and entertainment with a spirit that seems to make special occasions just a little more special. Valentine’s Day, is a special day that those in love show their Valentine just how special they are and what better place to do that than in Branson, Missouri. From great live shows and attractions to romantic dining, shopping and much more, Branson has an outstanding variety of choices to give the one you love the perfect Valentine experience.

 

Grand Country's Comedy Jamboree is just one of the shows to share with your Valentine.

A number of Branson shows will be open for Valentine’s Day Weekend. Clay and Tina Cooper will be opening their 2014 show in their newly remodeled auditorium on Valentine’s Day followed by the Haygoods, who will be appearing in the Clay Cooper Theatre starting this year, the very next night.. The shows that will be open for Valentine’s Day Weekend include:

Absolutely Patsy

Acrobats of China

Amazing Pets

Branson Country USA

Baldknobbers Jamboree Show

Branson Country USA

Clay Cooper’s Music Express

Comedy Jamboree

Dancing Queen ABBA’s Greatest Hits

Elvis Lives

Grand Jubilee

The Haygoods

For many, if not most, Valentine’s Day includes a special meal with their Valentine. Branson offers a variety of choices that meets just about every budget and need. From the simple down home cooking of “Clocker’s Café” in historic downtown Branson to the “Keeter Center,” “Level 2 Steak House,” “The Chateau on the Lake” and many others including a romantic champagne cruise and dinner aboard Main Street Lake Cruises 100 foot luxury yacht the Landing Princess; Branson has the special dining experience that will help make Valentine’s Day Special.

 

The "Grand Stair Case " of the Titanic Museum Attraction.

Although it’s always a great time to visit the Branson Titanic Museum Attraction, Valentine’s Day seems like an especially appropriate time to visit. The museum’s elegant full sized replica of the “Titanic’s Grand Staircase” is a romantic icon that is a popular place for weddings and for couples to renew their wedding vows. Its brand new exhibit honoring the musicians aboard the Titanic coupled with the romance of its band master, Wallace Hartley and his engagement to Maria Robinson is, to me, a special Valentine in itself.

The Branson Tourism Center is offering a variety of “Valentine’s” packages combining shows, lodging, attractions a “Romance Basket” and more. These packages not only provide a way to save money, but a special romantic way to show your Valentine just how special they are.

Why not give your Valentine a special Valentine and plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Branson? Need help deciding what to do in Branson or adding that little extra something that will make Valentine’s Day special for your Valentine? Call the Branson Tourism Center, Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning service, by calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 and talk with one of their Branson based Travel Planners who will be happy to assist in planning the perfect Branson Valentine experience for your special Valentine.

Four “free” Branson activities for families to enjoy

"Scotty," feeding the ducks.

Having lived in Branson for 28 plus years, I am constantly amazed by the number of things there are for families to do in Branson. Many of those activities provide families with an opportunity to create special memories and do not cost a penny.

From the many free things that are available in Branson, I have selected this list of four because it presents a broad variety of things that families can enjoy and have fun sharing together that are either of a short duration or permit the flexibility to easily fit in with other activities such as shows and attractions and the attention span of children. In addition, items 1 and 2 are within five minutes of each other as are items 3 and 4:

1. Feed the Lake Taneycomo Ducks and Geese – Located directly in front of Scotty’s Trout Dock & Marina, near the public boat loading ramp on the southeastern corner of the City of Branson’s Camp Ground, is the “unofficial “duck feeding area that most people coming to Branson never see. “Scotty,” Lamar Patton, the owner of Scotty’s, pointed out that depending on the season, there are about 50 to 200 Mallard ducks, Canada Geese and other water fowl swimming around between his dock and the shoreline waiting for an easy meal.

Scotty sells bags of corn to feed them, but he points out that they will also eat bread and crackers etc. The duck feeding area is located just feet from the parking area and provides, what in the old days was called “a Kodak moment;” a wonderful opportunity to get some great pictures of the family feeding the ducks.

 

The free downtown trolley at Stop #4 just accross from Dicks 5 & 10.

2. Historic Downtown Branson’s “Discovery Trolley” – The Trolley ride is a great way to get an overview and perspective of the historic downtown area, the Branson Convention Center and Branson Landing. Along the way, among other things, you will pass a number of Branson landmarks including the grave site of the man the city of Branson is named after, Ruben S. Branson; the Owens Theatre, Branson’s first theatre; the Branson Convention Center; Branson Landing; Lake Taneycomo and the spot where the “Baldknobbers” performed Branson’s first live music show over 53 years ago.

Stop #2 in historic downtown Branson, located on Commercial Street at the east end of the public parking lot at the southwest corner of Commercial and Atlantic Street, is an excellent place to board the trolley. You will have three hours free parking and the trolley will drop you right back where it picked you up after completing its 15 to 20 minute loop.

3. Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery – The “Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery,” is located less than about ten minutes from the famed Branson Strip at the foot of Table Rock Dam just off of State Highway 165. It is operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation and is part of a complex occupying 211 acres along with a “Conservation Center” consisting of trails, a wild life refuge, and a Visitor Center that is visited by a quarter of a million plus visitors annually.

The inside of the Visitor Center features an interesting nature display and a short video on the hatchery and the process involved with producing the trout that makes Lake Taneycomo one of the premier trout fisheries in the nation. It also has a huge aquarium with some “lunker” Brown and Rainbow Trout showing the size that some of the trout in Lake Taneycomo can reach.

Guided tours of the hatchery depart the Visitors Center from Memorial Day to Labor Day on weekdays at 10 and 11 a.m. and 1 and 2 p.m. Visitors are welcome to tour the “race ways,” “trout runs,” by themselves during normal business hours. They will see thousands of trout in the various stages of development from the smallest of trout to the large “brood stock” that is used to produce them. The Visitor Center opens at 9:00 a.m. every day except, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

4. The Dewey Short Regional Visitors Center at Table Rock Dam – The new $7.9 million, 15,000 square foot U.S. Army Corps of Engineers visitor center has been called “the crown jewel of Table Rock Lake” and for good reason. It is one of only 11 Class A visitor centers in the U.S. and offers an unparalleled view of two of Branson’s lakes, Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo that can be seen from the floor to ceiling glass windows on the Table Rock Lake side of the building. Among other things, the Center features interactive activities, displays on area history, nature and the inner workings of Table Rock Dam, movies, a gift shop with unique merchandise and an interesting film on the construction of Table Rock Dam. It also serves as the starting point for tours of the inside of Table Rock Dam for which there is a charge.

And that’s just four of the many free activities available. From grist mills, to scenic overlooks, a giant Bass kids can stand in, “Dicks 5 & 10,” a $7.5 million synchronized fire, water and music show, nature and hiking trails, parks and more Branson has a wide choice of free activities that families can enjoy together. For more information on these activities, Branson shows, attractions and lodging please feel free to call the Branson Tourism Center toll free at 1-800-785-1550.

 

Anyone for a unique and fun way to experience Branson history?

One of the beautiful and unique views from inside Marvel Cave.

BRANSON, Mo., December 29, 2013 – “Branson is steeped in the history and heritage of the Ozarks,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “In fact, Branson’s now famous tourism industry got its first major push from a book based on that very thing when Harold Bell Wright published the novel ‘The Shepherd of the Hills’ in 1907.”

Even before that however, Branson’s oldest attraction, “Marble Cave,” operated by the Lynch family, had been providing tourists with an opportunity to go deep beneath the Ozark Mountains on cave tours since about 1894. The cave is now called “Marvel Cave,” is a National Natural Landmark and offers “free”offers, but interestingly, each year hundreds of thousands rush right past its entrance seemingly without noticing or, if they do, without a second thought.

There’s a pretty good reason for that however, because the cave is actually located just inside the main entrance to Silver Dollar City, the international award winning 1880s styled theme park that is easily Branson’s most popular attraction. From a historical perspective, Silver Dollar City is also Branson’s first and longest continuously operated attraction because it includes “Marvel Cave” which was continuously operated by the Lynch family for 50 years prior to the Herschend family leasing it in 1950. In 1960 they started “Silver Dollar City” at the entrance of the cave as a way to entertain visitors waiting for their cave tour and as some say, “The rest is history.”

A tour of Marble Cave is one of the many activities included with an admission ticket to Silver Dollar City and provides those taking the tour a unique and interesting opportunity to experience something that is a special part of Ozark Mountain history and, most certainly, something they will not see in any other theme park. Weather permitting, tours depart every 30 minutes, take about 60 minutes and include a unique exit, from far below the surface, via an inclined tram built by the Herschend family prior to the opening of Silver Dollar City.

Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson invites anyone wanting more information about “Marvel Cave” and “Silver Dollar City or tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions to contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 and talk with one of its trained Branson based Travel Planners.

How about a winter getaway to one of Branson’s indoor water attractions?

One of Grand Country Inn’s 500 gallon splash buckets.

BRANSON, Mo., December 27, 2013 – During the season, many Branson visitors enjoy outdoor swimming and water activities in Branson’s pristine Table Rock Lake, its major water park White Water and in the outdoor swimming pools available at many Branson hotels and motels. Although the winter weather does curtail the outdoor aspects of the majority of swimming and aquatic activities Branson is blessed with three indoor water attractions and a number of hotels and motels that have heated indoor pools permitting its visitors to swim and enjoy water activities in climate controlled comfort. All three of the water attractions are connected with lodging facilities and provide all the “wet watery fun” anyone could desire regardless of the temperature outside. Missouri’s first indoor water attraction, “Splash Country Indoors” at the Grand Country Inn is right in the middle of the Branson Strip and is part of the Grand Country Complex, including the Grand Country Buffett,  theatre and shows, mini golf courses, the Fun Spot Arcade and much more. Its 20,000 square feet “of squirting, falling and tumbling water fun is open 365 days a year no matter what the weather is like outdoors. Welk Resort’s “Splash-A-Torium” attraction is open year round from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily. It provides 10,000 sq. ft. of indoor/outdoor water fun featuring “an outrageous 100 foot” plus indoor water slide, kid’s splash-zone and indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub.

One of Castle Rock Resort’s water slides.

Castle Rock Resort provides “a truly weather-proof vacation destination for the whole family” where they “can splash & play in the climate controlled 84 degree temperature of its indoor water attraction. With its two water slides, two 500 gallon dump buckets, activity pools, lazy river, themed water statutes, a multi-level sun deck and more there is fun for everyone, from tiny tots to adults. These are the indoor water attractions in Branson, but many of its motels and hotels such as the Radisson, La Quinta Inn, Grand Plaza and others have heated indoor pools with hot tubs and other aquatic amenities. Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center points out that during the winter months, especially on the weekends, the demand for rooms at these facilities often outstrips availability. She recommends advance reservations and offers the assistance of one of BTC’s locally based Travel Planners to assist in helping find the ideal facility to fit your family’s wants and budget and make reservations. There is no charge for this service and they may be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550.

“White Flight” provides unique White Christmas for Branson

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

BRANSON, Mo., December 20, 2013 — “It’s not the traditional ‘White Christmas’ sung around Christmas, but ‘White Flight’ is one of the unique features of Ozark Mountain Christmas that makes Christmas in Branson so exciting and special,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. 2013 is the seventh Christmas season that “White Flight,” consisting of thousands of white butterflies flying in a “rain forest” amid thousands of sparkling lights, colorful red and white poinsettias, living angel statutes, to the sounds of beautiful Christmas music, has been presented. “White Flight” is a limited engagement exhibit at Branson’s Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure through January 15, 2014.

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

In addition to the butterflies in the aviary “White Flight” also includes unique and amazing performances of the centuries old art form of “living statutes” in the form of White Angels. As people walk through the exhibit and butterflies alight on and flutter around the angels they present a statuesque picture of angelic beauty and tranquility. Almost imperceptibly, the statutes slowly and subtly come to life. It might be just a change in the position of a head or the extension of a hand, but it’s fascinating to watch as the artists playing the angels to interact with the guests.

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

Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson reminds Branson visitors that “White Flight” is just one of the many special events that are part of “Ozark Mountain Christmas.” For additional information or tickets for “White Flight” and the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure, “Ozark Mountain Christmas” or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 800-785-1550.

 

Branson, a special way to end 2013 and begin 2014

Joining the party aboard Main Street Lake Cruises' "Landing Princess" is just one of many ways to celebrate New Year's Eve in Branson.

BRANSON, Mo., December 18, 2013 – “For families as well as individuals it’s hard to beat the variety of exciting ways Branson has to ‘ring out’ the old year and welcome in the New Year,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “Branson offers an amazing choice of entertaining and exciting ways for everyone to celebrate the New Year,” she added.

For those wanting a special New Year’s Eve celebration with the traditional Midnight welcoming in of the New Year, many of Branson’s shows and Main Street Lake Cruises are providing a variety of unique and exciting New Year’s Eve celebrations. These include:

Legends in Concert – Show at 9:30 PM featuring the world famous Legends in Concert tribute artists performing their tributes to Brooks and Dunn, Stevie Wonder, Cher, Alan Jackson, The Blues Brothers, and Elvis. Includes a New Year’s Celebration with party favors and various food choices depending on the package selected.

Pierce Arrow – Want a funny and musical New Year’s Eve Celebration with great food? The Pierce Arrow New Year’s Eve Celebration includes a special three hour show starting at 9 PMwith funny man Jarrett Dougherty, Pierce Arrow, Kenya Wilhite, Shonna Bonds and special guest stars. The fun and entertainment includes games, giveaways, wonderful catered food from Vaskens Deli and a live countdown with balloon drop.

The Haygoods – This fun and exciting evening includes Chocolate Fountains, the Haygoods show starting at 9:00 PM with a break between 10:00 and 10:50 PM during which Gourmet Hors d’oeuvres will be served. The Haygoods will resume the stage and perform from 11:00 until the Midnight celebration which includes Pyrotechnics and Laser Show, Party Hats, Horns, and a huge Balloon Drop at Midnight!

New Year’s Eve Cruise on the 100 foo luxury yacht Landing Princess or the riverboat replica Lake Queen – Ring in the New Year by joining us for this 3.5 hour New Year’s Eve Party aboard Main Street Lakes Cruises’ 100 foot luxury yacht, the Landing Princess. Enjoy mouthwatering hors’ d oeuvres, a sinfully delicious dessert bar, complimentary party favors, a live DJ and dance floor, hula-hoop and limbo contests with fantastic prizes, raffle give-a-ways with awesome prizes, complimentary midnight champagne toast, a cash bar with end of year drink specials and a memorable cruise on Lake Taneycomo. Both boats are handicap accessible, climate controlled, and have onboard restroom facilities.

Grand Jubilee – The fun starts with the first half of the Grand Jubilee Show from 9:00 to 10:00 PM. Finger foods, desserts, and nonalcoholic beverages will be served from 10:00 to 11:00 PM after which the 2nd half of the show will be presented leading up to the balloon drop at Midnight with party favors.

Doug Gabriel’s #1 Hits Tribute Show – Join Doug Gabriel and his family for a fun night as they ring in the New Year! The celebration includes the show featuring Doug and his talented cast, drawings, raffle prizes, celebration cake, party favors, a live countdown and a Midnight balloon drop.

Other Branson dinner shows open “New Year’ Eve” for wanting an earlier celebration include:

Dixie Stampede 5:30 PM

Showboat Branson Belle 4:00 and 8:00 PM

Christmas on the Trail 5:15 PM

High flying Hoop acrobatics from the "Acrobats of China," just one of the many shows olpe n New Years Eve.

From a pure show perspective, Branson has shows for the entire family starting at 10:00 AM and continuing into the evening. These include the following listed by time:

Amazing Pets 10:00 AM

Michael J. & Friends 2:00 PM

Todd Oliver & Friends 2:00 PM

Acrobats of China 3:00 PM

Comedy Jamboree 3:00 PM

Acrobats of China 8:00 PM

Comedy Hypnosis  8:00 PM

Gatlin Brothers 8:00 PM

During New Year’s Eve Day and into the evening the following attractions will be open for the whole family to enjoy. Please check the link for hours of operation, prices and ticketing:

Adventure Ziplines of Branson

Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure

Castle of Chaos

Celebrity Car Museum

Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors

Hollywood Wax Museum

IMAX Adventure Films

Inspiration Tower

Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum

Shoot for the Stars Mini Golf

The Track Family Fun Parks

Titanic Museum Attraction

Trail of Lights

Vigilante Ziprider

World’s Largest Toy Museum

“And that doesn’t include shopping, golf, fishing and a myriad of other activities. It’s hard to imagine a better place than Branson for families to celebrate New Year’s together,” said Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson. She points out that, particularly at this time of the year, schedules and activities could be impacted by weather and offers the services of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning service, the Branson Tourism Center, in answering any questions anyone might have or to assist with tickets or lodging arrangements for New Years. BTC can be reached by calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550.

Why the Radisson might be your ideal Branson Hotel?

Branson's Radisson Hotel

BRANSON, Mo., December 3, 2013 – “Branson has a large selection of lodging options offering the ideal choice of lodging for every budget and need,” said Annette Wood, Director of Group Sales for the Branson Tourism Center. “The Radisson Hotel is one of the very few hotels in Branson capable of serving both individuals/families as well as large groups and is known for the quality of its lodging and amenities as well as its outstanding hospitality and service,” she added.

Sharon Gray, Sales Manager at the Radisson, states that the hotel was built originally in 1994 and was completely renovated from top to bottom in 2012. Everything is “brand new” including its 472 rooms and suites, the lobby, its Wildwood Bistro restaurant and updated sports bar, the “Time Out Sports Lounge.”

Open year round, 435 of the Radisson’s rooms are standard size and have double beds. They also have 37 suites which are larger and have king sized beds as well as separate sleeping and “living room” areas. Gray said that the suites are ideal for families and pointed out that many of the rooms are adjoining and or connecting providing the flexibility to meet just about any lodging need.

For that special occasion.

Each room comes with a complete set of amenities. This includes 37″flat-screen TVs; complimentary high-speed, wireless Internet access; work desk with ergonomic chair; two-line telephones with voicemail and data port; easy chair with ottoman; hair dryer; iron/ironing board; coffee makers and more.

The Radisson offers a heated indoor/outdoor pool and Fitness Center by Precor complete with a whirlpool and sauna. It also offers a separate on-site restaurant and lounge; a full service concierge desk to assist with transportation, tickets for local events and more, including complimentary parking.

If location is important, then the Radisson’s location is ideal. Located in the center of the Branson Strip, it is a ten minute walk from Walmart; Grand Village Shoppes; Andy Williams Moon River Theatre, Kings Castle Theatre, three different Go Kart Tacks, Ride the Ducks, two miniature golf courses, the Thousand Hills Golf Course and other activities. Radisson’s Gray said, “Our location is perfect for kids with miniature golf behind us and the The Track [Family Amusement Center] just across the street.”

It is also ideally located in terms of restaurants and eating conveniently. In addition to the hotels in house “Wildwood Bistro” and the “Time Out Sports Lounge” there are over 11 eating establishments within a 10 minute walk of the hotel including Dairy Queen, Panera Bread, Shorty Smalls, Lone Star Steak House, McDonalds and more.

Although not thought of by most people its location, only a block off the famed Branson Strip, on Wildwood Drive enables the easy avoidance of Branson traffic in those situations where it would be convenient simply by turning south on Wildwood Drive when exiting the hotel. This permits easy access to Branson’s Yellow Alternate Route or to Fall Creek Road both of which permit a lot of flexibility in avoiding the Strip’s traffic.

Ball room set up to dinner.

The capability of the Radisson to handle large Groups conveniently, from lodging, to meetings, dinners and other activities under “one roof” makes it one of only three Branson properties capable of providing full “one building service” for Groups of up to 600. With over 15,000 square feet of flexible event space within its13 meeting rooms there is the flexibility to ensure a perfect fit from the smallest group up to 600. Annette Wood, Director of Group Sales for the Branson Tourism Center said, “The Radisson is one of the properties we work with we have had great success using them. The property is beautiful, the meeting room space is an easy fit for different sized groups and their individual needs, the location is perfect and the staff is a joy to work with. For more information on using the Radisson for your group or any other Branson Group travel needs please feel free to call us at 1-800-268-4014.”

For more information or reservations for the Radisson Hotel or for additional information on for any of Branson’s lodging please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, by calling 1-800-785-1550.

Behind the Curtain: Clay Cooper’s remedy for a “bigger world”

Clay Cooper is really "drilling" into the details of the the project.

BRANSON, Mo., December 12, 2013 – “The only major complaint we get about our show is that our seats are too small,” said Branson entertainer Clay Cooper of “Clay Cooper’s Music Express.” “These seats were installed 15 to 20 years ago and let’s just say, ‘The world has gotten a lot larger since then.’”

He explained that, as part of a complete auditorium renovation, they are removing all of their existing theatre seats, about 1058 of them, and installing newer four inch wider seats with more leg room between each of the rows of seats. In addition the aisles will be widened to about six feet from their current size. The theatre will lose about 108 seats reducing its capacity from 1058 to 950 and have a different seating arrangement when the project is done, but Cooper said that it is worth it in terms of audience’s total enjoyment of the show.

When they first bought the theatre four years ago, they spent over $2.8 million remodeling the front, lobby, gift shop, signage and portico; the back with a multi-story facility containing dressing rooms, administrative facilities and “green room” and included the installation of state of the art sound and other audio visual systems in the auditorium. Clay said that the current project is a complete remodel and renovation of the “middle” of the theatre, its “auditorium” and, except for the sound and other systems installed earlier, that the seats and expanded aisles are just the beginning.

In addition to the seats and larger aisles, the renovation will include a new fiber optic back curtain, a new front curtain and new carpeting as well as a new stage surface. The size of the stage will also be enlarged slightly on each side to better tie in with the theatres other two wrap around side stages. In addition, the little cement step up slope in the back of the theatre will be taken out to eliminate the step up and provide a single surface auditorium floor.

While interviewing Clay at the theatre he explained that they started within two days of ending their 2013 season and plan to have done in time to have their first 2014 show on Valentines with the Haygoods, who are performing at his theatre starting in 2014, opening the night after Clay’s opening.

He said, “It will be an involved intense process, but it’s needed. When it’s done it will be very nice and will enhance the overall experience that audience’s attending not only our show, but all the shows at our theatre, will have.”

Clay said it will be an intense process, but plans to have it done by the opening of his 2014 season on Valentine’s Day. The Haygoods, who will be performing at the Clay Cooper Theatre, starting in 2014, open the next night.

Four seasons of Legends in Branson

Legends in Concert's ever popular " Blues Brothers."

BRANSON, Mo., December 10, 2013 – – “How exciting is that, being entertained by ‘Michael Buble’ and ‘Marilyn Monroe’ in one show,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “And that’s just two of the amazing acts that Legends in Concert will be bringing to Branson for the 2014 season.”

Johnson was referring to the new 2014 line up announced in Branson today by “Legends in Concert.” Each of the following schedules also includes “Legends” performances by The Blues Brothers™ and Elvis in addition to the scheduled performers which will be:

Spring – February 20 – May 20:  Adele, Tina Turner, Johnny Cash.

Summer – May 22 – September 2: Justin Timberlake, Whitney Houston, Kenny Chesney.

Fall – September 4 -October 31: Michael Buble, Marilyn Monroe, George Strait.

Winter – November 1 – December 31: Rod Stewart, Nat King Cole, Reba McEntire.

Legends in Concert’s General Manager, Jeannie Horton said, “We are so excited to be featuring tried and true ‘Legends’ acts that have been so well received throughout the years as well as several of the up-and-coming ‘Legends’ that appeal to a younger crowd.” She notes that several of the acts have never been in a Branson “Legends in Concert” Show before.

For additional information on the Legends in Concert show or tickets for 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 calling 1-800-785-1550.

 

A special birthday gift for Jesus

Some of the kids and their escorts just prior to embarking on their "Candy Cane Cruise."

BRANSON, Mo., December 8, 2013 – About 50 children and their escourts from “Jesus Was Homeless” enjoyed an exclusive private “Candy Cane Cruise” aboard the luxurious 100 foot luxury yacht “Landing Princess” on Dec.7. While cruising they enjoyed meeting with Mrs. Claus and her elves as she read them a story, singing carols, having cookies and milk, writing a letter to Santa Claus and other activities. Ashley Lauer, the Community Relations Manager for “Jesus Was Homeless” said that the children were so excited and have been looking forward to the cruise for weeks.

But the cruise was just the beginning. When it was over the children were surprised when they were taken to a party room with a beautifully decorated Christmas tree surrounded by a huge pile of wrapped Christmas gifts, each with a name on it. After enjoying a Christmas lunch and a craft time, each child received the Christmas gift with their name on it. Prior to Thanksgiving each child was asked what they wanted for Christmas and the gift with their name on it, as much as practicable, contained that gift. In addition, each child got to pick a scarf, hand knitted by two people specifically for the occasion, for their mother that was gift wrapped for them on the spot.

Christmas tree with each child's "wish list " gift wrapped and waiting,

I could not write this story without sharing two of the many stories about these precious children that that touched my heart. Our cinematographer was approached by one of the smaller children and asked, “Do you believe in Santa Claus?” He replied, “Of course I do, don’t you?” “Well I guess so, but he doesn’t stop by our house too often.” As each child, by name ,got their gift one little girl was heard to say, “Oh please, let there be one for me.” Of course there was thanks to the combined efforts of the employees and owners of the Branson Tourism Center, Main Street Lake Cruises and “Jesus Was Homeless,” who had been working for months to make this a very special Christmas moment for the children.

“Jesus Was Homeless” is a local not for profit ministry started in 2008 with the mission of “serving those who are hungry, homeless and hurting within our community by sharing hope love and compassion…” Lauer said that what she loves most about her job, “Is Serving people.” She points out that its mission is completely different from the wonderful food pantry programs whose primary mission is giving out food to the hungry. We are in the business of building relationships by sharing hope, love, and compassion with people who are hungry, hurting and homeless with the goal of helping them break the cycle of poverty that they find themselves in.

That is accomplished through a variety of programs designed to develop relationships, dignity, value and caring while, as much as possible, not duplicating services provided by other organizations and fostering the building of community. These include serving a hot meal every Tuesday, the delivering of about 850 meals to local motels where the “homeless” are housed each Thursday and providing a hot Sunday breakfast before its “no perfect people are allowed” Gateway Church service for people who don’t “like” church.

The “Jesus Was Homeless” program goes far beyond food however as it attempts to build community and help break the cycle of poverty impacting on its clients lives. Its unique biweekly eight week program, called “Jobs For Life” helps equip students with the necessary skills to apply for and successfully hold a job. A unique aspect of this program is that its graduates are guaranteed a job interview with some of Branson’s biggest employers. In addition, there are workshops and service projects designed to help build relationships, dignity, value and caring by providing it clients an opportunity to give back to their community.

Lauer said, “We are honored to serve our community and are so thankful for the volunteers and financial contributors that makes our ministry possible.” Anyone wanting to volunteer or make a contribution to “Jesus Was Homeless” should contact them either by calling them 417-335-9915 or through their website http://jesuswashomeless.org/wp/.