How many of these 12 plus events on this exclusive March 2015 Buzzing in Branson List do you know about?

The "Bell Tower: being lifted atop Station #3" at "Fireman's Landing in January of this year.

The “Bell Tower: being lifted atop “Station #3″ at “Fireman’s Landing in January of this year.

“Buzzin in Branson” is a concise and easy to read list of the major events taking place in Branson, Missouri during the month being “Buzzed,” which is March of 2015 for this issue. Each issue of “Buzzin in Branson” contains the “Branson Buzz of the Month” and a list the major special events, shows and activities for that month,

Branson “Buzz of the Month for March 2015

The opening of “Fireman’s Landing.” When Silver Dollar City opens its 2015 season on March 14 it will premiere of its $8 million dollar Fireman’s Landing, with its ten new family rides featuring “Fire Fall,” an 8-story fire tower free-fall drop ride.

The following list of special events, shows and activities in March is sorted by event date and contains pertinent and timely comments and contact information, through either a link or phone number, that can be used to obtain additional information:

Feb 27 – Mar 1: Edgewater USAG Woman’s Artistic Gymnastics Classic
Mar 1 – Mar 31: Annual Irish Celebration Month at Titanic Museum Attraction
Mar 1Puttin On The Ritz premiers in Branson
Mar 1 – Following shows start first full month of 2015 season: Dublin’s Irish Tenors and the         Celtic Ladies, Haygoods, Legends in Concert, New Jersey Nights and SIX.
Mar 4Acrobats of China start 2015 season in new venue, the Yakov Smirnoff Theatre
Mar 7 – Presleys Country Jubilee, Branson’s 1st show on the Branson Strip opens its 2015 Season.
Mar 11 – Mar 17: NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship
Mar 13 – Jonah starts final Branson season.
Mar 13 – Billy Dean Live starts 2015 season.
Mar 13 – Clay Cooper’s Country Express opens its 2015 Season
Mar 14 – Silver DollarCity starts its 2015 season and premiers Fireman’s Landing
Mar 14 – Spirit of the Dance The Encore Tour premiers in Branson.
Mar 17 – St Patrick’s Day
Mar 19 – Branson Praisefest 2015
Mar 20 – Mar 22: Marriage Getaway Weekend
Mar 24 – Crossing Over With John Edward
Mar 27 – Mar 29: 9th Branson Elvis Festival and Branson Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest
Mar 28 – Junior Auxiliary of Taney County 2015 Trivia Challenge
Mar 28 – Mar 29: Young Christians Weekend at Silver Dollar City

“Buzzin in Branson” is produced monthly by the Branson Tourism Center as a service to its customers and others interested in what’s going on in Branson. If you have any further questions about these events or want information or tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions or lodging please 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 Tourism Center welcomes new Branson Chamber and CVB CEO

Jeff Seifried, the new President/CEO of the  Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB.

Jeff Seifried, the new President/CEO of the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB.

“We extend a warm Branson welcome to Jeff Seifried, who has just recently been announced as the new President/CEO Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB,” said Tammy Johnson, the General Manager for the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. “Seifried was named the new President/Chief Executive Officer of the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau, according to Randy Brashers, Chairman of the Board of Directors. Seifried is leaving his position as the Manager of Regional Development for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce [which he has held since July of 2007] and will begin the Branson job on March 2, 2015.

“Mr. Seifried’s professional career has largely been spent in the area of Economic Development. In July, 2007  he joined the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and had direct oversight of initiating business recruitment and marketing strategies for the Springfield region.

“Seifried is a graduate of Drury University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration, with a minor in Global Studies and is also a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute.”

At the time of his selection Seifried was serving on the city council of Springfield, Mo and was the “Mayor Pro Tem.” Upon resigning from the council it was reported that one of his fellow council members, Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky, described Seifried as being thoughtful, intelligent and independent and willing to stick his neck out to come up “with creative solutions.”

Your exclusive behind the scenes look at the production of a “Legendary” Branson show

Dancers, band and Jennica McCleary, center with mike, "loading in" one of the numbers for her Bette Midler set sans costuming, and while lighting adjustments are being made in the background.

Dancers, band and Jennica McCleary, center with mike, “loading in” one of the numbers for her Bette Midler set sans costuming, spotlights and while lighting adjustments are being made in the background.

Branson’s Legends in Concert will be starting their 2015 season on February 6 with an all-star cast of talented look alike tribute performers including Todd Bradshaw as “Kenny Chesney,” Dave Lawrence as “Lionel Ritchie,” Jennica McCleary as “Bette Midler” Lori Russo as “Ann-Margret” and Ted Torres as “Elvis.” In preparing this exclusive story for the Branson Tourism Center, I had the opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at how the talent of all these great artists is melded together, with dancers, a live band, lighting, videos, special effects, sound, costuming and choreography, into the spectacular entertainment spectacle that is known worldwide as the “Legends in Concert.

In talking with Robb Horton, the shows Production Manager, he pointed out that the artistry involved in producing the show extends from the individual tribute artists to the dancers, musicians and the lighting and sound personnel. He pointed out that although each tribute performer has their own routine that has been developed over years of practice, study and devotion to their craft, the success of Legends in Concert is to showcase that talent as part of an overall production combining everyone’s collective artistic talents to present a unique spectacular entertainment experience not available anywhere else.

In terms of doing that, he broke the shows production down into six major areas beside the tribute artists themselves, dancers, choreography, costuming, band, lighting and sound. I was afforded the opportunity not only to see people working in most of these areas, but to talk with many of them as they were doing it.

Each show is broken into a “set” for each tribute artist which becomes a mini-show in itself with its own choreography, dancing, costuming, live music, lighting and sound. The shows dancers Stephanie Young, Dance Captain and dancers Cindy Dardas, Larry Miller, Aaron LeMoine, Desta Pritchett and Kenya Wilhite, with Pritchett and Wilhite also performing as back up vocalists, are featured in a variety on numbers throughout the show.

Dance Captain Stephanie Young, has been performing with Legends in Concert for 12 years. She points out that the choreography for the show comes in from the Las Vegas office of Legends in Concert on a DVD along with the costuming. She learns the choreography, teaches it to all the dancers, “sets the stage” and works it around each of the different tribute artists.

Dancers refining a routine that is featured in the set.

Dancers refining a routine that is featured in the set.

I had the opportunity to watch the beginning of the process as they worked the dancing into the set of Jennica McCleary as “Bette Midler” who was working with them at their first rehearsal together. It is a multistep process beginning with the tribute artist performing their vocals which are observed by Young and the dancers.

Then gradually, sometimes it seemed on a move by move basis, the choreography, dancing and backup vocals are worked into the performance. When one number in the set is done they go to the next and when they get the whole set down they practice it time and time again.

It should be pointed out that this is all being done simultaneously in conjunction with the shows live band composed of Kevin Allen, Band Leader and Lead Guitar; Eddie Howard, Drums, Lyman Clark, Keyboards and Brian Zerbe, Bass Guitar. Sound and lighting adjustments are also being made both on and off stage.

Heidi Jarret, facing out with paper in hand, working with the cast during the rehearsal.

Heidi Jarret, facing out with paper in hand, working with the cast during the rehearsal.

Although there is adequate lighting during the rehearsal, the lighting seen throughout the show was absent the vast majority of the time. It was almost surreal seeing the performers perform with no spot lights etc. The amazing thing to me was the way the dancers, band and choreography started to come together even in the few hours that I was there. What a pleasure to watch these consummate professionals work together and to see a small part of what will be the final result.

Young pointed out that they do what they are doing now, “load the show,” get it ready for their audiences, four times a year now, May, September and in November for their Christmas show. In May, September and November she is the one who, in addition to her dancing duties oversees “the loading” of the show. The first show of the year is “loaded by” a representative of corporate.

When asked what the toughest part for her was, in terms of getting each new show ready, she said, “From May 1st to the end of September we do two shows a day with Wednesdays off. When we are loading in the new shows the rehearsals take place between and after the shows making for very full days. When asked what she wanted people to know about the dancers in the show she said, “We work our tails off, but we do it because we love it and every single person up there has a passion for it and giving our audiences a great performance.”

Different props and elements are slowly added as the "set" is "loaded" into the show.

Different props and elements are slowly added as the “set” is “loaded” into the show.

Although Legends in Concert has state of the art lighting and sound systems it is artistry of how the output of those systems is interwoven into the show that adds immeasurably to the experience the audience receives. Timothy Young, the shows Lighting and Video Director points out that unlike the show’s choreography where corporate furnishes a DVD that can be followed, he uses the equipment to custom design the lighting for each performer and number in each show. He said, “I kind of go with what I feel the music is saying and what I feel it should look like.” Most of the original programming that he does is done after everyone has gone home and into the wee hours of the morning as he listen to the music and programs the lighting and video accordingly.

Russell Bullock, the shows Technical and Sound Director points out that, like the lighting and video, the sound has to be tuned and levels adjusted for each performer and number that they sing during the show. Even as the rehearsal was going on he was on stage checking levels and making adjustments.

Heidi Jarrett, a choreographer and consultant for On Stage Entertainment, the producers of Legends in Concert, who came in from Los Angeles, was doing the “Load In” for the first shows of the year. She said, that Legends in Concert is unique in that, corporate wide, its shows are changed every three months and that corporate sends someone out to “load” the first shows of the season. She has been “loading” the first performances of Legends in Concert in Branson for about 12 years

She said that from a show production stand point Branson’s Legends in Concert is wonderful to work with. They have already received the choreography, Stephanie has it “set” and ready to go and all she has to do is help put the finishing touches on it to allow it “to develop into the beautiful flower that it is.” It was a joy to watch the way she interacted with everyone on the set to implement the “finishing touches” and to see the first budding of “the beautiful flower” that Branson audiences will experience when Legends of Concert opens its 2015 season on the evening of February 6.

For additional information or tickets for the Legends in Concert show or for information 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 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Insider tips about you having a great Branson golfing experience

The beautiful Top of the Rock Par 3 Course with the sun setting over Table Rock Lake.

The beautiful Top of the Rock Par 3 Course with the sun setting over Table Rock Lake.

Whether its lakes, live entertainment, attractions or shopping, Branson, Missouri is known for both the quality and variety of all it offers. On any given day during the season Branson visitors have a choice of almost 100 live shows of every kind and, in similar fashion, on almost any day of the year that weather permits, they have many choices of places to tee off for a great round of golf. Here’s five tips that we hope will help lead you to a great Branson golfing experience:

  1. Golf is available year round – Weather permitting, golf is available on the vast majority of Branson’s golf courses year around. On many days, even in January and February, Branson’s comparatively mild winters permit play. That has especially been the case this winter. Of course starting March and running through early November, the weather the vast majority of days is ideal for golfing.
  1. Branson Has two par 3 courses – With the increasing popularity of par three golf it should be noted that Branson offers two par three courses. The “Don Gardner Par 3 Course” is a nine hole course with holes ranging from 82 to 182 yards in length that is operated by the city of Branson and is open year round. The “Top of the Rock Par 3 Course” is a nine hole championship course with holes ranging from 117 to 202 yards in length, depending on which set of tees are used, operated by Bass Pro Shops at its Big Cedar Resort. It became the first par 3 course ever used in an official tournament when 36 holes of the 54 hole “PGA Champions Tour Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge Tournament” was played on it last year. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, said, “If there was ever a Par-3 course worthy of PGA Tour tournament play, Top of the Rock is it.”
  1. Branson has six 18 hole golf courses – There are six conveniently located 18 hole golf courses These include “Holiday Hills,” “LedgeStone Country Club,” “Pointe Royale Golf Club,”” Payne Stewart Golf Club,” Thousand Hills and the “Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Course,” formerly known as “Branson Creek.”
  1. Two of Branson’s 18 hole courses have been on “Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play in Missouri List – The Payne Stewart Golf Club was the No. 1 course in Missouri on “Golfweek’s 2013 Best Courses You Can Play List” with “Branson Creek” as No. 2. Although Branson Creek has undergone substantial renovation and has been renamed the “Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Course,” it is a PGA Championship course used in the “PGA Champions Tour Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge Tournament.”
  1. All this great golf is located minutes away from all that Branson offers – Although all these courses are within a 20 minute drive of the Branson Strip, four of them “Pointe Royale Golf Club,”” Payne Stewart Golf Club,” “Thousand Hills” and “Don Gardner Par 3 Course” are within five minutes from the Branson Strip providing the ultimate flexibility to combine an ultimate golfing adventure with everything else Branson offers into a truly unique and memorable experience.

For more information on golfing in Branson, lodging located on the edge of course fairways, or Branson shows, attractions and other activities, including tickets and reservations, please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com .

A list of 12 reasons why you and your family should consider Branson for a truly amazing vacation

Silver Dollar City's record setting wooden coaster ,"Outlaw Run," is one example of the fun and excitement Branson offers.

Silver Dollar City’s record setting wood coaster ,”Outlaw Run,” is one example of the fun and excitement Branson offers.

Curious about what Branson means to those who have visited it or heard about it; the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, asked the following question on its Facebook Page this week:

“Based on what you have seen, experienced or heard about Branson, what one word would you use to describe what Branson means to you?”

We believe that the following one word responses, from the dozens received, describe the ideal place for a family to have an amazing vacation filled with the excitement, fun and adventure that will provide wonderful memories for years to come and are presented without further embellishment:

1. Family
2. Memories
3. God loving
4. Fun
5. Happy
6. Fantabulous
7. Entertaining
8. Exciting
9. Comfort
10. Home
11. Relaxing
12. Enjoyable

While we are at it, let’s make it a “Baker’s Dozen:”

13. Wholesome

If this sounds like the type of place you might want to share with your family and you want more information about what Branson has to offer please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 and talking with one of their Branson based Vacation Planners. There is absolutely no charge for this service. To get an excellent overview of all that Branson has to offer on line visit www.Branson.Com

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What everybody ought to know about Hollywood waxing Branson

 

King Kong presents an excellent photo opportunity.

King Kong presents a “gripping” photo opportunity.

“The term ‘waxing’ can mean a lot of things, but when it comes to Hollywood ‘waxing’ Branson it can mean only one thing,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “The opportunity to see some of your favorite Hollywood stars such as Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson and dozens of others, as you ‘share the spotlight’ with them posed in the ‘sets’ that made them famous, at Branson’s Hollywood Wax Museum.”

You know you are in for something exciting when you walk by “Jack Nicholson” standing in front of a huge fierce looking face of “King Kong.” Of course when you look a little closer you will realize that he has his hand out and cupped for you and your family to step in and have a what used to be called “a Kodak moment.” The result will certainly be one of the most unique pictures your family has ever taken.

From there its one wonderful realistic wax creation after another on your self-guided tour through the museum. Whether it’s a monster or a star, each is featured in a realistic set relating to what made them famous. As you start your Hollywood Wax museum adventure one of the first stars you will meet is Tom Hanks as “Forest Gump” sitting on a bench with, you guessed it, a box of chocolates. Each of the sets has an “information plate” containing information about the figure, fun facts, awards they have won, “pet peeves” or some other little known “factoid.” Many of the exhibits have sound to enhance the experience such as the “Rocky Theme” near the Sylvester Stallone “Rocky” exhibit.

Guest interacting with Joe Black.

Guest interacting with Jack Black.

One really interesting feature of most of the exhibits is the ability to share the spotlight with the stars by posing with them. As illustrated in this photo, provided by the Hollywood Wax Museum, of Jack Black in a “pose” from his comedy “Nocho Libre,” the results can be quite interesting and entertaining.

Some of the “stars” you will meet on your tour include among others are Judy Garland, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Harrison Ford, Clark Gable, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Jackson, Nicholas Cage, Barbara Eden, Eddie Murphy, Marlon Brando, “The Terminator” and many more. Two of my favorites were the “Star Trek” set with William Shatner, Lenard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley waiting for Scotty to beam them up and the diner scene with Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean and Elvis Presley serving up ice cream.

As you go to the second floor you will be given the opportunity to take a short “Hollywood Trivia Quiz,” shoot in a shooting gallery, or try a variety of coin operated amusement machines. Then you enter the monster area with Frankenstein, Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, Elvira, Hannibal Lecter and others. There is a “Monster Bypass” for those who do not want to see the monsters.

After experiencing meeting a number of your favorite Hollywood stars your tour comes to an end in the museums fully stocked gift shop containing Hollywood gift items. For additional information on the Hollywood Wax Museum please call the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com

“it” starring the Hughes Brothers, is an amazing show that will be totally enjoyed by you and your family

The Hughes Family during their touching  performance of "Happy Together."

The Hughes Family during their touching performance of “Happy Together.”

On the evening of January 17 I had the opportunity to see “it,” feel “it” and hear “it.” I absolutely loved it starring the Hughes Brothers and their families. When you weave the talents of the Hughes Brothers, their wives, children and a great five piece live band into a magnificently choreographed, colorful, high energy and fast paced production, the result is a magical inspiring cornucopia of great singing, instrumentals, comedy, dancing and entertainment, covering everything from pop, classical, country, gospel, patriotic and more that is truly one of Branson’s ultimate entertainment experiences.

The evening started with dinner in the theatre’s balcony dining area which was a delightful three course meal prepared on the premises by Chef Laurie and served by Philip. The meal started with a dinner salad composed of fresh crisp mixed greens, onions, tomatoes and croutons and with Ranch Dressing. The entrée consisted of a marinated honey glazed barbecue chicken breast and roasted pork topped with a honey Dijon sauce accompanied by oven roasted potatoes, fresh green beans and a dinner roll. The portions were more than adequate and it was topped off with a dessert of White Chocolate Champagne Cake lightly drizzled with raspberry sauce that was out of this world and just melted in your mouth. It was easily one of the best “show” meals I have ever eaten, both in terms of the quality of the food and the service. It should be pointed out that the show may be purchased separately from the meal.

The Hughes Family is billed as the largest family performing together on stage. The Hughes Brothers, Marty, Jason, Adam, Ryan and Andy are the stars of the show which also prominently features their very talented wives Cindy, Vikki, Carina, Mara and Becky along with about 32 of their children and a live five piece band consisting of Band Director Ray Harris who also plays keyboards and trumpet; Randy Luna, keyboards and arranger; Steve Habour, guitar; Marty Wilhite, Bass and R.J. Jacob, Drums.

That said, one thing should be made perfectly clear, every element of this show is a polished entertainment gem. It’s not just a matter of putting kids in a show. These kids are good! Some of my favorite performances were the boy’s high energy performance of “Seize The Day” from Disney’s “Newsies,” “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” from “Annie” and the children singing “I Am A Child of God” during the gospel segment.

Another of my favorite performances by the “kids” was the violin/fiddling performance by Kristina, the oldest performing Hughes child at 22, who is also a violin instructor, along with William, Hannah and Jacob Hughes. The set starts off with Kristina eloquently playing a violin solo of “Simple Gifts,” a Shakersong written and composed by Elder Joseph Brackett in 1848 after which she was joined by the others as they performed a medley consisting of Aron Copeland’s “Hoedown,” “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “Turkey In The Straw,” “Barber of Seville,” “The Sabre Dance,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” It sure was a wow moment for me!

There’s a reason this is worth stressing. I think it can be safely said that all Branson shows, in terms of content, are “kid friendly,” but very few are “kid enjoyable” throughout the majority of the show. Still fewer simultaneously entertain kids and adults at the same time and level throughout the majority of the show. Simply put, this is one of the few that does and they do it ever so well.

When the Hughes Brothers sing together, their familial harmonies are just a joy to hear. Two of my favorite numbers, from among the many they sang were “Pure Imagination” and their acapella version of “America.” If all they did was sing that would be enough, but in addition, they kind of “MC” the show as they maintain a constant relaxed interaction with the audience through their comedy and sharing of information about themselves and the family as the show moves from one entertaining element to another.

Adam Hughes during his acoustical guitar performance.

Adam Hughes during his acoustical guitar performance.

That “element” may be another of my favorite sets in this show, the acoustic guitar performance by Adam Hughes as he performs a medley including “Recuerdos de Alhambra,” “Leyenda” and “Malaguena;” their wives performing the “Sunshine medley;” the brothers performing “How Deep Is Our Love” with their wives or the absolutely beautiful and touching performance of the whole family performing “So Happy Together.” The production and presentation of the shows gospel segment is one of the most unique, beautiful and inspiring I have ever experienced.

The thing is, whether it’s the Hughes Brothers singing or entertaining, their wives or the kids doing one of their sets the show is a constantly evolving carousel of some of the best entertainment on any Branson stage. The quality of the choreography dancing, singing, costuming, overall production and flow of the show makes it one of the most entertaining shows I have ever seen in Branson and, in the last 28 years, I have seen a lot of them.

“It’s,” a wonderful show that should be shared by families together as they are simultaneously entertained and inspired as the Hughes family shares their family and talents with yours creating a special family memory that will not soon be forgotten. I just have to believe that if you and your family see “it,” feel “it” and hear “it” that you will absolutely love “it” as much as I did.

For additional information or tickets for it starring the Hughes Brothers or for information 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 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Branson’s Residence Inn offers you and your family the peace and comfort of home

Main entrance to Residence Inn.

Main entrance to Residence Inn.

When Genesis Oltjenbrun, Sales Manager for Branson’s Residence Inn Marriott (Inn) was asked what one thing she would want to emphasize about why families should stay at the Inn, without hesitation, she said, “Our wonderful staff that treats you like family.” It resonated with me because it was exactly what I had found during my recent eight day stay at the Inn while tile was being laid in my house. From the front desk, to housekeeping, maintenance and the ladies who served breakfast and handled the social hour, the staff was just amazing in terms of their friendliness, hospitality and “how can I help you attitude.”

One of the Inn's one bedroom suites.

One of the Inn’s one bedroom suites looking from the bedroom into the living area.

The Inn has 85 spacious rooms, 15 of which are two bedroom suites, each with its own bathroom, and 70 are studio and one bedroom units. All offer the convenience of home with a full kitchen including oven with stove top, microwave, full size refrigerator, dishes, utensils etc; living and dining areas, a flat screen TV in each living area and bedroom, free high speed wireless internet and a full set of amenities. The Inn has an indoor pool and whirlpool; an exercise room and an outside area with a basketball net, barbeque, and fire pit and chairs which, weather permitting, provides a wonderful alternative place for the family to relax outside of their rooms. The Inn is one of the few pet-friendly hotels in Branson, with a one-time $100 non-refundable fee. The fee is used to deep clean the room and carpet after each occupancy by a pet owner and their pet.

The Inn's indoor pool and whirlpool. area

The Inn’s indoor pool and whirlpool. area

Its location is ideal, particularly if you are a golfer. It is directly across the street from the Thousand Hills Golf Course Club House. Even if you are not a golfer, its ideal location on Branson’s Yellow route provides convenient access to everything Branson has to offer while providing a quiet relaxing atmosphere away from the activity on the famed “Branson Strip” located not two minutes away.

In terms of shopping it is located 1 mile from Tanger Mall; about 3 miles from The Shoppes at Branson Meadows and 4 miles, or less than 10 minutes, from Branson Landing and the unique shopping offered in Branson’s historic downtown. Dozens of the most popular Branson shows are located within a 3 miles radius of the Inn including shows such as it staring the Hughes Brothers and Their Families, Grand Jubilee, Ayo, Presleys’ Country Jubilee, Clay Coopers Country Express, the Haygoods, Sight and Sounds spectacular Jonah, SIX, the Duttons,  Billy Dean. George Dyer, Shoji Tabuchi and dozens more. The same is true for Branson attractions such as the fabulous Titanic Museum Attraction, Ripleys’ Believe It Or Not, Hollywood Wax Museum, Branson’s Promised Land Zoo and many others.

Although there is no restaurant or room service available on property it is located within minutes of restaurants such as Lone Star, Panera Bread, Buckingham’s Prime Rib and Steakhouses, Grand Country’s Buffet, McDonalds, Denney’s, Crispy Crème Donuts and many more. In addition the Inn offers a full breakfast including eggs, a breakfast meat, potatoes, waffles, cereals. breads, rolls, juice, fruit and more along with a “social” Tuesday night through Thursday night with a different light menu each night. As an example, one night they had chicken sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, macaroni salad, raw veggies with dip and potato chips.

“Our customers have been delighted with their stay at the Residence Inn,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “It is in an ideal location and its amenities and facilities are great for families,” she added. Based on my recent personal experience at the Inn I would add “Amen, to that statement” and say  that the Inn’s combination of staff, location, the spaciousness of its rooms, generous breakfasts and amenities make it not only a good value, but a great place from which to begin and end each day of your Branson vacation in the peace and comfort of your “home away from home.”

For additional information or booking a reservation for Branson’s Residence Inn Marriott and to save money by “bundling” your lodging reservation with the purchase of show and attraction tickets please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com

Did you know this about the US Army Corps of Engineers and Table Rock Lake?

Jim Sanderg, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Table Rock Lake  Operations Project Manager of Table Rock lake

Jim Sanderg, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Table Rock Lake Operations Project Manager of Table Rock lake

When Table Rock Dam was completed in 1959 it formed Table Rock Lake, with its 43,100 surface acres and 745 mile shoreline of aquatic fun, adventure and scenic beauty. Along with Silver Dollar City and Branson’s live shows,it is one of the lynchpins that helps make Branson such a wonderful unique travel destination.

Table Rock Lake is owned, managed and controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, (Corps). The Corps is directly involved in all aspects of the lakes use, both by daily visitors and the many commercial operations on the lake that enhances its recreational value. Recently, the Branson Tourism Center (BTC) had the opportunity to interview Mr. James Sandberg (JS), the Operations Project Manager responsible for all of the Corps operations at Table Rock Lake. His responses and insights are presented below in a “Q and A” format.

BTC: What is your position with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and what does it entail?
JS: Operations Project Manager. I am responsible for all of the operations here at Table Rock Lake including natural resource management, recreation, flood damage reduction, hydro power operations and serve as the liaison between the public and our District office in Little Rock.

BTC: How long have you been at Table Rock Lake?
JS: I started as a Park Ranger in 1989 left for another assignment in 2002 and have had my current position since December of 2006.

BTC: What were the three main reasons Table Rock Dam was built?
JS: First and foremost, flood damage reduction, then hydropower and water supply.

BTC: Water supply?
JS: The allocation for water was for the fish hatchery [Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery] just below the dam. Right now there is no allocation for residential/domestic use.

BTC: Where does recreation and fishing come in under that hierarchy?
JS: Recreation is one of the Corps missions, but it was not one of the authorized purposes of the project. Recreation is an authorized mission, as well as natural resources, but we do not make any changes on the management of the Water Control Plan based on recreation or natural resource management.

BTC: Why do the “normal,” levels of Table Rock Lake fluctuate from 915 feet to 917 feet at different times of the year?
JS: We maintain a “normal conservation level” of 915 above MSL between December 1 and May 31 when it is increased to a “seasonal conservation level” of 917 above MSL until November 30. The increased level is authorized by the Water Control Plan so that we can make the minimum releases during that period required to maintain oxygen levels and water temperature downstream for the trout fishery.

BTC: Does the Corps manage tourism related activities on Table Rock Lake?
JS: Yes, we have 12 recreation areas that we run and 15 commercial marinas that we manage for the benefit and enjoyment of the public. In addition, we have more than 100 “Limited-Motel Resort” leases we manage that support recreational activities and tourism on Table Rock Lake.

BTC: So if there is a resort, marina or other business operation on Table Rock Lake it is operated in co-operation with the Corps?
JS: Correct. Table Rock Lake is a federally owned project and owns the vast majority of the lakes shoreline. As a general rule any commercial business on Table Rock Lake operates through a lease or other agreement with the Corps.

BTC: What are the primary Corps facilities or managed areas that Branson visitors are most likely to come in contact with?
JS: Table Rock State Park and the State Park Marina, the Dewey Short Visitors Center at Table Rock Dam, the recreation areas [which include camp grounds and boat launching ramps] at Indian Point, Cricket Creek Old Highway 86, as well as Mill Creek and Aunts Creek and of course “Moon Shine Beach” located on the north end of Table Rock Dam which is one of our most popular areas.

BTC: What is the impact of Table Rock Lake on tourism in the Branson area?
JS: I think it is a big part of the recreation and tourism in the Branson area. I have been given some number that recreation in Stone and Taney Counties is a two to three billion dollar industry of which Table Rock Lake is directly responsible for about 25% of that. It is estimated that visitors to just the Corps operated recreation areas spend about $60 million per year in the local economy and that’s not counting the other areas on Table Rock Lake such as Big Cedar, Chateau on the Lake, Table Rock State Park and Marina and the other commercial marinas, resorts etc. operating in cooperation with the Corps.

BTC: In closing, what one thought would you like to leave with our readers?
JS: The Corps wants to make sure that we maintain the resources that we have at Table Rock Lake so locals, visitors and their families can enjoy them now and that future generations will also be able to enjoy this precious resource. We want to be proactive in protecting the lake to make sure that it stays the lake that we all enjoy today.

 

 

“Buzzin in Branson” buzzes for February 2015

Dublin's Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies open their 2015 Branson season on February 12.

Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies open their 2015 Branson season on February 12.

Branson “Buzz of the Month:” Branson’s 21st Annual Hot Winter Fun Big Show on February 2. This fabulous one night only show features music, entertainment and comedy acts from some of Branson’s best shows, all of which are open for Branson’s Hot Winter including Clay Cooper’s Country Express, Grand Jubilee; Legends In Concert; “it” from the Hughes Brothers Theater; Paul Harris & The Cleverlys; Acrobats of China featuring New Shanghai Circus; AYO – starring Voices of Glory and SIX to name just a few. While we’re at it, we are going to highlight another special day in February for many people by asking this question, “Could Branson be the perfect Valentine for your sweetheart?” “Buzzin in Branson” is produced monthly by the Branson Tourism Center as a service to its customers and others interested in what’s going on in Branson. It is in a concise and easy to read format that conveniently provides pertinent and timely comments, information and a list of the major special events, shows and activities for the month being “Buzzed” which, in this case is February 2015.

February 2015 Buzzes

Feb. 1 – Feb. 28: Sweetheart Month at Titanic Feb. 2: 21st Annual Hot Winter Fun Big Show Feb. 13: Tri Lakes Building & Home Show Feb.13 – Feb. 16: Presidents Day Weekend: Just have to believe that there will Presidents Day Sales galore in Branson Outlet Malls, Branson Landing and many other places. Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day Feb. 14: 2015 Polar Bear Plunge Feb. 20 – Feb 22: VisionCon Anime, Gaming, Sci-Fi Convention Feb. 22: 2015 Branson Bridal Show Feb. 26 – Feb 28: 2015 Kenneth Copeland Branson Victory Campaign Feb. 27 – Mar 1: Edgewater USAG Woman’s Artistic Gymnastics Classic Feb 28: Vince Elfrink Memorial Fishing Tournament at Lilley’s Landing Feb. 28: World Sword Swallower’s Day Events at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Many of Branson’s shows close for a period during the winter months. Although it should be pointed out that there are shows re-opening on a regular basis, here is a non-inclusive list of the shows that will be performing during February as of January 8:

Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies Grand Jubilee Haygoods Legends in Concert New Jersey Nights Pierce Arrow Absolutely Patsy Amazing Pets Bon Jovi Tribute Comedy Jamboree Creedence Clearwater Revival Tribute Show Dixie Stampede Doowop Pop and Soul Tribute Show Eagles Tribute Concert Hot Winter Fun Big Show it at the Hughes Brothers Theatre Journey Tribute Ozark Mountain Jubilee Sunday Gospel Jubilee The Big Show

With winter weather and, the reopening of shows things can change. Please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, for additional information, tickets or hotel reservations by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.