Branson’s lesser known attractions provide big family fun!

From dinosaurs and tigers to…

How neat is it that many of them are unique to Branson! Let’s take a closer look at a few.

Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen is a modern-day replica of the grand riverboats that once traversed the White River. It offers sightseeing cruises with spectacular panoramas, sights, and a closeness with the beauty, nature and history of the Ozarks that few of the millions of annual visitors to Branson experience. Each cruise is different. You can’t plan for a Bald Eagle to soar overhead or to be sitting in a tree, a mink scurrying along the shoreline, or many of the interesting things that happen daily. They either happen or they don’t but, when they do, you couldn’t have a better seat to see the show! It offers full beverage service and delicious lunch options.

Branson Auto & Farm Museum is 90,000 square feet of vintage chrome, modern designs, high performance and legendary styling in the form of 200 classic and collectible cars and trucks. It also has 180 farm tractors, implements, and buggies. What a great way to experience the history of classic and antique cars and farming tractors and equipment in one exciting attraction. Another neat feature is that many of the vehicles on display are also for sale.

The Branson Dinosaur Museum features a wide variety of enormous animals that once roamed the earth. The life-sized sculptures of these delightfully frightening and lovable creatures, from the “Micro Raptor,” one of the smallest dinosaurs to the two and a half story “T-Rex,” provide an educational and entertaining experience for kids of all ages!

Trains, boats, and more, Branson has it all!

The Branson Scenic Railway lets you step back in time and experience the beauty of the Ozarks aboard a vintage passenger train!  With unique and lovingly restored cars, dating from the late 1930’s to the early 1960’s, tunnels, trestles, and beautiful scenery, there’s no other experience like it in the Ozarks.

Wolfe Creek Preserve just north of Branson is home to the Ozark’s premier Eco-Adventure zip line experience, Branson Zipline. Enjoy the thrilling experience of zipping over the Preserve’s canopy. Pick from a range of options with guided canopy tours across numerous zip lines, platforms, and sky bridges. These include the 3-hr Ozarks Xplorer, 2-hr Flying Prospector, 1-hr Ridge Runner, and the Blue Streak Fast Line & Freefall Xpress, a thrilling zip from the top of the mountain to the base of the property with an incredible 100-foot freefall dismount.”

Branson’s National Tiger Sanctuary is an excellent educational and entertainment experience for young and old alike! The size, strength, and agility of many of the Sanctuary’s big cats will awe you. Their playful antics will amuse you even as the stories of how many came to live in this magnificent haven in the Ozarks touches your heart.

For more information on these attractions or other great Branson shows or lodging, please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through their website


Branson Up Close and Personal with King’s Castle’s “Angel” vocalist, Maggie Moore

Maggie Moore with Robert Quibell, singing “Tonight” from “West Side Story,”during a recent performance of “Broadway’s Greatest Hits.”

Broadway’s Greatest Hits, at the Kings Castle Theatre, is one of Branson’s hottest new shows. It features timeless music, beautiful sets, colorful costuming, and a cast of some of the finest vocalists and dancers on any Branson stage. Rising Branson talent, the lovely and talented Maggie Moore, is one of the show’s four featured vocalists.

Maggie (MM), recently took time from her hectic schedule for this “Branson – Up Close and Personal” interview. “Branson Up Close and Personal” is a service of Branson Tourism Center (BTC), the seller of over 5 million Branson show and attraction tickets. The interview uses a “Question and Answer” format to introduce readers to a Branson star or personality.

BTC: If you could perform or meet with any entertainer/person (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
MM:  Julie Andrews. I love her music and everything about her. She’s just so encouraging!

BTC: Why should someone coming to Branson plan to see the Broadway’s Greatest Hits?
MM: [With a big heart revealing smile she enthusiastically said] Because it’s awesome!!

BTC: What do you think that kids ages 8-15 will like most about the Broadway’s Greatest Hits?
MM: There’s so much music in the show that will directly appeal to them such as, “Mary Poppins,” “Aladdin,” Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and more. There’s not a lot of “park and bark,” where someone just stands there and sings. The constant action, interaction between performers, dancing, and colorful costume changes appeal to adults and kids alike.

BTC: What do you like most about being a vocalist in the Broadway’s Greatest Hits?
MM: It’s all Broadway and I love the challenges of singing the different styles and musical influences that covers. In one number I’m singing down in the basement and in the next I have to pop to the top. I just love it!

BTC: Whether you’re in it or not what’s your favorite part of the show?
MM: Step in Time from the “Mary Poppins Segment” of the show. The set with its chimneys and the dancers. Some of the things they do is amazing! I remember watching it when they were setting it up and it made me feel like a kid.

BTC: What’s your personal favorite musical number in the show?
MM: That’s so hard, but I’m going to go with Tonight from the “West Side Story Segment” of the show.

BTC: What’s your favorite genre of music to listen to?
MM: Jazz and country

 BTC: What’s your favorite Genre of music to sing?
MM: Opera.

 BTC: Whether it’s in Broadway’s Greatest Hits or not, what song do you personally enjoy singing the most?
MM: There’s a song in college that I used to sing that I really love called Glitter and Be Gay from the operetta Candide.

BTC: Where were you born?
MM: I was actually born in Jacksonville, Florida about 40 miles from my hometown of St. Marys, Georgia.

BTC: When?
MM: 1990

BTC: Was there something special about your childhood that you think our readers would be interested in?
MM: It was wonderful. We lived in downtown St. Marys. I enjoyed the outdoors, the beautiful marshlands, and doing community theatre with my family.

BTC: How old were you when you first sang publicly and where was it?
MM: In the church choir at about the age of three or four.

BTC: When did you realize that you wanted to be a singer?
MM: There never was an “ah ha moment.” I’ve always loved singing. It became more focused when I was in college with a music theatre major.

BTC: Where did you first perform professionally?
MM: As an angel singing Ave Maria in the Nativity scene at Pensacola, Florida’s “Winterfest.”

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?
MM: There’s not just one, it’s a type of performance. Those where someone comes up and tells me how a performance inspired, impacted or helped them.

BTC: What was your first impression of Branson?
MM: I loved it. There’s so much here and we love the natural beauty and outdoors.

BTC: Did you perform in Branson prior to performing at productions in the Kings Castle Theatre?
MM: No. I was working in a non-performing capacity, heard about the auditions at King’s Castle and tried out. I started out in “Dancing Queen” and went into the Dublin’s IrishTenors and The Celtic Ladies when it opened.

BTC: What King Castle’s Productions do you perform in?
MM: Broadway’s Greatest Hits and Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies

BTC: What’s your favorite thing to do in Branson when you are not performing?
MM: Being outside doing something. I like the lakes boating and fishing, especially when I am catching fish.

BTC: Do you have a “little known” fact about yourself that you think our readers would enjoy?
MM: I could eat chocolate all day long!

BTC: Do you live in the Branson Area?
MM: Yes.

BTC: Are you married?
MM: Yes, to Lukas.

For additional information or tickets for either Broadway’s Greatest Hits or Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550, or by visiting


“Take me to the Hilton” in Branson

Branson’s luxurious Hilton Convention Center Hotel.

“Most cities the size of Branson don’t have one Hilton Hotel, let alone two,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “Branson has two. Although different in size and looks, they both provide the premium Hilton lodging experience and are as close to Branson Landing and the Branson Convention Center as you can get,” he added.

The smaller of the two, the Hilton Promenade Hotel, is in Branson Landing, at the center of all that The Landing offers. Enjoy world class shopping; a $7 million synchronized water, fire, and light show; free concerts; dining, lake cruises, and much more. All just steps away from your “door.”

The Hilton Promenade has a full array of guest rooms including, Double Queen and King Deluxe rooms and one bedroom King Condos with fully equipped kitchens. All rooms feature “contemporary furnishings with rich colors and textures.”  Room amenities include “the Hilton Serenity Collection bedding with pillow top mattress, down comforter, and luxurious triple sheeting; a coffee maker, 32” flat panel televisions; spacious bathrooms; wireless internet; work desk, and the other quality touches for which Hilton is noted.” Other hotel amenities include a fitness center, indoor pool, restaurant, Foreign Currency Exchange, maid service, valet parking, gift shop, and much more.

The Hilton Convention Center Hotel, is in historic downtown Branson. It’s fewer than 75 yards from Branson Landing and joins the “Branson Convention Center.” The Hilton Convention Center’s elegant lodging and list of high-end amenities is not only consistent with what the Hilton brand stands for, but makes it one of only two “AAA Four Diamond” hotels in Branson.

It offers Double Queen and Deluxe King rooms as well as King Suites. All rooms include “Hilton’s Serenity Bed Luxury-Bedding Package which includes the Serenity mattress, Super Topper mattress pad, down-filled comforters, Touch of Down pillows, 250 thread-count sheets and duvet cover and custom decorative bed throws. Each hotel room offers a 32-inch LCD flat panel HD TV, Hilton Alarm Clock Radio with MP3 connection, sofa bed, work desk with ergonomic desk chair, two-line speaker phones with voicemail, data port, wired and wireless high-speed internet access, Cuisinart coffee maker, in room coffee welcome caddy, miniature refrigerator and much more. The handsomely appointed bathrooms, with granite counter tops, framed mirror and walk-in shower, offer The Serenity Bath featuring Crabtree and Evelyn’s La Source bath amenities.”

There’s a long list of high end amenities throughout the hotel starting with the “Level 2 Steakhouse.” Level 2 features 28-day aged corn fed Midwest beef, fresh seafood flown in from Hawaii three times a week, and much more. It is the Branson standard for elegant fine dining. The Hotel has two lounges the “Level 2” lounge located at the Level 2 and the first-floor lounge “Clear.”

The hotel has many other amenities including “a well-equipped, 24-hour business center, complete with computers, copier, and fax machine.” Its fitness center is open 24/7 and features “free weights and cardio machines with personal televisions.” There’s an indoor pool with an adjacent whirlpool and an outdoor pool. The outdoor “pool oasis” features comfortable, oversized seating, a fire pit, and private poolside cabanas.

Both of the Hiltons provide the level of hospitality Hilton is famous for, and are located close to Branson Landing, the Branson Convention Center, and historic downtown Branson. They are also ideally situated to get just about anywhere else in Branson conveniently using Branson’s alternate colored route system.

For information and reservations for either the Hilton Promenade Hotel or  Hilton Convention Center Hotel please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through their web site

Branson’s 4th of July fireworks displays are an absolute blast!

Branson’s skies will be bursting with beautiful fire works displays in celebration of America’s Birthday.

“One of the most common questions we receive about this time of year is, ‘Does Branson have any 4th of July fireworks displays?’” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “It sure does! Starting with the College of the Ozarks ‘Honor America’ on June 25, Branson visitors will have several great fireworks displays celebrating and honoring America’s Birthday,” he added.

Here is a list of six of Branson’s major “4th of July” fireworks displays, with “Suggested Viewing Areas,” and other information. They are listed in order of date:

College of the Ozarks “Honor America”
Place: College of the Ozarks
Phone: 417-690-2212
Date/Time/Comment: June 25 starting at 5:30 PM with a BBQ picnic and children’s activities. These will include balloons, face painting, and an area where “guests can make thank-you cards for Veterans.” Starting at 6:00 PM AYO, Starring the Voices of Glory, and Red, Hot and Blue, and the Hunt Family Band will perform. The Patriotic Program begins at 8:30 PM including the Presentation of Colors and a patriotic music program by the College of the Ozarks Concert Band. The band will also provide the music for the spectacular fireworks display that will follow.
Suggested Viewing Area: At Lake Honor on the campus of the College of the Ozarks. Guests are advised to bring their own chairs. Alcohol, tobacco products, fireworks, and pets are strictly prohibited.

30th Annual Fireburst Fireworks Display
Place: Kimberling City
Phone: Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce – 417-739-2564
Date/Time/Comment: July 1 at dusk.
Suggested Viewing Area: On Route 13 in downtown Kimberling City, near the Kimberling City Shopping Mall, about 6 miles south of Branson West. It can also be viewed very well from Table Rock Lake near the north end of the bridge.

Fireworks at Chateau on the Lake
Place: Chateau on the Lake just north of Table Rock Dam on State Highway 165/265
Phone: Chateau on the Lake – 417-334-1161 or 888-333-5253
Date/Time/Comment: July 2 at dusk. It follows an outdoor BBQ with live music.
Suggested Viewing Area: Table Rock Lake via boat or park in loop just south of new overrun floodgates on Table Rock Dam or the Chateau’s public areas.

Branson Landing 10th Annual “Liberty Light Up Concert and Fireworks”
Place: Branson Landing Town Square by Fountains
Phone: Branson Landing – 417-239-3002
Date/Time/Comment: July 3, starting at 7:00 PM with a concert featuring “Jason Pritchett & Steel Horses-LIVE In Concert!”  The spectacular Branson Landing “Liberty Light Up” fireworks display takes place over Lake Taneycomo after the concert. It’s “an amazing choreographed Fireworks Display Show produced by Gateway Fireworks Displays, from St. Louis, MO.” From its opening, to its “closing with a Gateway Fireworks Signature Grand Finale,” it will have you in awe.
Suggested Viewing Area: The Public Square by the Fountains, along the Branson Landing Board Walk, where permitted, and from a boat on Lake Taneycomo. One of the best seats in the house for this display is aboard Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen or Landing Princess.

Hollister’s 64th Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration
: Downtown Hollister
Phone: City of Hollister – 417-334-3262
Date/Time/Comment: July 4 beginning at 6:00 PM with the 4th Annual Little Miss Firecracker Pageant. It will be followed by the area’s oldest 4th of July Fireworks Show at dusk. Each display is hand fired by members of the Western Taney County Fire District.
Suggested Viewing Area: Chad A Fuqua Memorial Park next to the Hollister City Hall or Business 65 in downtown Hollister.

52nd 4th Of July Rockin’ Rockaway Beach Celebration
: Rockaway Beach
Phone: City of Rockaway Beach
Date/Time/Comment: July 4 with events starting at 4:00 PM. These fun events include a Lawn Mower Parade, the crowning of the Little Mr. & Miss Rockaway, the King & Queen of the Rock Arm Wrestling Contest, Dunk A Cop, kids games & prizes, and an Historic/Art Walk of Rockaway Beach. The celebration concludes at dark with a fantastic Laser Display & Grand Finale Fireworks.
Suggested Viewing Area: Downtown Rockaway Beach or from Lake Taneycomo. One of the best seats in the house for this display is aboard Main Street LakeCruises Lake Queen or Landing Princess. View the Laser and Fireworks display from Lake Taneycomo after a unique dusk cruise down to Rockaway Beach from Branson.

Branson Tourism Center’s Garrison reminds those planning to see any of the fireworks displays that the 4th of July period is one of the busiest times of the year in Branson. He points out the displays are popular, suggests planning to arrive as early as possible, and bringing your own chairs.

He also recommends making reservations for Branson lodging, attractions and shows in advance. Please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, for information or help with reservations for lodging, shows and attractions as well as ticketing. Contact them either through their toll-free number 1-800-785-1550 or website.


Million Dollar Quartet is as awesome as it is unique and fun

Million Dollar Quartet’s Sara Tweedle as Dyanna, Tyler K. Hunter as Elvis Presley, Brad Waters as Carl Perkins, Cliff Wright as Johnny Cash and  John Countryman as Jerry Lee Lewis.

On December 4, 1956, in the Memphis storefront recording studio of Sun Records, one of the greatest jam sessions in rock n’ roll history took place. It was an impromptu gathering of four young recording artists who were soon to become legends; Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Although all went on to achieve legendary status, it’s the only time they’d ever perform together. Branson’s Million Dollar Quartet recreates that special moment in a unique awesome fun filled musical production for the whole family to enjoy.

Except for one newspaper article the day after the jam session, headlined “The Million Dollar Quartet,” and its accompanying picture, the jam session went largely unnoticed. It was so impromptu and unnoticed that even the “Father of Rock N’ Roll,” Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, didn’t know it had been recorded. The recordings languished in the “Sun Records Catalog” for decades. When new owners of Sun Records discovered the “lost recordings,” they released 17 tracks from them in an album entitled, “The Million Dollar Quartet.”

That jam session, and those recordings, are the foundation and inspiration for the Tony Award winning musical, Million Dollar Quartet. The show combines timeless music that everyone knows, a great storyline, and an outstanding cast with great production and a unique set to create an incredible entertainment experience.

Most musicals feature music written specifically for that show. The music in the Million Dollar Quartet is a part of music history, sung by four music legends at the start of their careers. This needs a great cast to recreate that special moment and do it justice. The Million Dollar Quartet, both musically and dramatically, has the perfect cast to do just that!

Tyler K. Hunter as Elvis Presley, Cliff Wright as Johnny Cash, John Countryman as Jerry Lee Lewis, and Brad Waters as Carl Perkins, do a wonderful job of sharing the music and excitement of that night. They perform hit classics such “Great Balls of Fire,” “I’ll Walk the Line,” “Riders in the Sky,” “Hound Dog,” “Peace in the Valley,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” and many more. Watching them perform, in the show’s elaborate Sun Records Studio set, I felt, even if only for a moment, that I was getting a personal glimpse of what they actually shared together that night. It was awesome!

Sarah Tweedle as Dyanna, the girl accompanying Elvis, adds to the musical repertoire of the jam session with delightful performances of “Fever” and “I Hear You Knocking.” She’s also part of the vocal back up in many numbers. One of my personal favorite parts of the show is her part in the back up for “Riders in the Sky.” It’s a WOW moment, but you must look for it. Daniel Dossey, playing W.S. “Fluke” Holland, the drummer, and Austin Wilson, as Jay Perkins, the bass player, who was the brother of Carl Perkins, round out the musical cast.

Three of my personal favorite musical highlights were “Peace in the Valley,” “[Ghost] Riders in the Sky,” and “Fever.” The cast performance of “Peace in the Valley” was as inspirational as it was beautiful. The storyline personalizing each of their involvement in the performance makes it a special moment. “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” was a hauntingly powerful performance by Johnny Cash. It’s made even more enjoyable by the performance of the backup singers. Sarah Tweedle’s sultry performance of “Fever” was a joy to hear as it introduces a new vocal element to the music of the jam session.

Besides the great music, there’s an interesting storyline artfully woven into and around the shows music. Matt Joyce plays the role of Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Records, the “Father of rock n’ roll,” and the person who set the circumstances in motion that resulted in the jam session. He does an excellent job of telling the story, and tying it together in a manner that keeps the audience’s rapt attention throughout. Dyanna’s interaction with Sam Phillips, Elvis, and the other three legends, adds another entertaining dimension to the story’s drama and impact.

It’s a story based on historical facts about what happened that day, and more. It shares not only what happened that day, but insight to the lives of the artists involved, their personal relationships, how the record industry worked, and the early history of rock n’ roll. But, it’s also a personal story with potential romance, competition, jealousy, expectation, disappointment, and hope.

The story of the greatest rock n’ roll jam session of all time presented in the Million Dollar Quartet is great entertainment that the whole family will enjoy.  It’s nonstop music, energy, fun, and enjoyment from beginning to end.

And in speaking of the show’s “ending;” it’s a good idea to remember the advice of Yogi Berra when he said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but, paraphrasing Yogi, “It ain’t over till after the coats fall.” It’s a spectacular finale to a wonderful entertainment experience that’s unlike anything else in Branson.

For additional information or tickets for Million Dollar Quartet please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, by calling 1-800-785-1550, or by visiting

Branson Up Close and Personal with James Sibley, the “funny” in Pierce Arrow

James Sibley, as Janitor Gene Pool, cracking up the audience .

The advertisements for one of Branson’s most popular shows, Pierce Arrow, ask, “Want Funny?” Then they announce, “We got funny!”  After seeing the show recently, I can testify that they do indeed “have funny” and it’s provided by comedian James Sibley. He’s one funny guy!

We interviewed James Sibley (JS) with two objectives in mind. The first was getting a review of the Pierce Arrow show through his eyes. The second, sharing information with our readers that will enable them to know him better.

“Branson – Up Close and Personal” is a service of Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. It uses a “Question and Answer” format to provide readers with an up close and personal look at a Branson star or personality.

BTC: What is the name of your character in Pierce Arrow?
JS: I am the janitor, “Gene Pool.”

BTC: Have you used that character elsewhere during your career or is it exclusive to the Pierce Arrow Show?
JS: It’s a character that I have developed and used elsewhere throughout my career.

BTC: If you could perform or meet with any entertainer/person (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
JS: It would have to be Elvis. He was one of the greatest entertainers of all.

BTC: Why should someone coming to Branson plan to see the Pierce Arrow Show?
JS: Together, we are going to have a great time filled with original family friendly comedy and great music.
BTC: What do you think that kids ages 8-15 will like most about the Pierce Arrow Show?
JS: The show’s music and comedy. Ages 8 through 80, and beyond, will all find a lot to enjoy.

BTC: What do you like most about being the comedian in the Pierce Arrow Show?
JS: The subtle way the comedy is worked into the show. The shows subtle beginning, using “Gene Pool” as the underdog, and getting the audience’s support against the trials he faces is so much fun!

BTC: Whether you’re in it or not what’s your favorite part of the show?
JS: The last two segments where I get to come out and perform comedy as myself, James Sibley, not “Gene Pool.”  I get to share some of the jokes and standup routines I have developed over the past 25 years and that have made me the comedian I am.

Pierce Arrow. Travis Spratt, Tony Turner, Scott Fraker, and Dan Britton, performing “Waydown.”

BTC: What’s your favorite musical number in the show and why?
JS: Pierce Arrow’s performance “Way Down.”  It’s not just because it’s an Elvis song and its one of the last he recorded. I love the way they perform it and Dan [Britton] hits those low notes.

BTC: Of all the comedy you do in the show which routine is your favorite and why?
JS: The seamless transition into the start of the show. The routine and interaction between “Gene Pool” and Bobby Blackburn is so subtle and seamless that many in the audience don’t even know that the show has started.

BTC: Where was your last gig before Pierce Arrow?
JS: Carnival Cruise Lines on January 25, 2015

BTC: Where were you born?
JS: Jackson, Mississippi, but I grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana

BTC: When?
JS: 1965

BTC: Was there something special about your childhood that you think our readers would be interested in?
JS: I had to wear a leg brace every day until I was 11 years old because of a mistake that was made during some simple surgery when I was very young.

BTC: When did you realize that you wanted to be a comedian?
JS: I first realized that I wanted to be an entertainer in high school where I played the trumpet in the band. I started singing in bands when I got out of high school. Then I went into musicals and comedy theatres. That lead to me into doing comedy on the side and into “improv” theatres

BTC: Where and when did you first perform professionally?
JS: It was a one night comedy show in Ashville, North Carolina

BTC: What are some of your favorite career highlights?
JS: Getting the opportunity to know and work with Tim Wilson. I heard him on the radio before I even got into comedy and wished I had the money to go see him. As it ended up, he became my mentor, friend, and we did over 300 shows together. Others were the “Comedy Store” and “Laugh Factory” in Los Angeles in 2005/2006, and getting to meet and work with some of the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” guys.

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?
JS: Doing 15 minutes of comedy with Bill Engvall in Shreveport, Louisiana, for an astronomical amount of money, performing before a hometown crowd of about 10,000.

BTC: When was the first time you were in Branson?
JS: In 2000 when I filled in for Paul Harris.

BTC: What was you first impression of Branson?
JS: That it was like “Bizarro Entertainment World.” Entertainers I remembered from my youth were here in Branson entertaining sold out audiences.

BTC: How did you end up in the Pierce Arrow Show?
JS: When the job opened in Pierce Arrow the timing was right from both a personal and professional perspective. I was working cruise ships when Dan [Britton] made the offer. My wife Viki and I were ready for a change and we made the decision to come to Branson.

BTC: What’s your favorite thing to do in Branson when you are not performing?
JS: We like to go to other Branson shows.

BTC: Do you live in Branson year-round?

JS: We live in Branson 10 months out of the year and in our house in Greenville, South Carolina the other two months.

BTC: Do you have a “little known” fact about yourself that you think our readers would find interesting?
JS: I’ve had bariatric surgery and am about 150 pounds lighter than some folks might remember.

BTC: Anything else you would like our readers to know?
JS: I can guarantee that if you come see the Pierce Arrow Show that you won’t be disappointed. There’s something, a comedy routine, song or songs, that will excite and entertain you. I know you’ll have a great time!

For additional information or tickets for the Pierce Arrow Show, or any of Branson’s shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550, or by visiting


How awesome would it be to get the lowest guaranteed rate on great Branson lodging?

The Dutton Inn is one of the great Branson resorts and available under Branson Tourism’s Lowest Rate Lock Guarantee.

“Branson offers a wide choice of lodging. Finding just the right place for your family to stay won’t be a problem,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “From  a quaint family owned inn, like the Dutton Inn, to a beautiful full-service resort, such as the Welk Resort, Branson has the ideal lodging for just about every need and budget,” he adds.

Garrison points out that finding the ideal lodging in Branson, at a price within your budget, might be easy. Finding the lowest price on a given lodging establishment for specific dates not as easy, unless, of course, you use Branson Tourism Center’s Lowest Rate Lock Guarantee Program. It that case, it’s as easy as making one phone call to 1-800-785-1550.

Simply select one of the awesome participating Branson hotels, indicated by the “Lowest Rate Lock” icon to the right of their name in the list, book your reservation through BTC, and subject to the programs minimal conditions, the price you pay for your lodging is guaranteed to be the lowest rate available. If you find a lower price offered for the same room on the same dates anytime between when you book your room and when you arrive in Branson, BTC will match the lower rate.

There are national Internet companies that claim to offer the lowest rate on Branson hotels and lodging. “Small print” conditions aside, how many of them offer free phone support to help make the reservation? Are they in Branson to help if there is a problem with your lodging?

The Branson Tourism Center is one of Branson’s largest and most respected providers of tourism services. It’s in Branson, has a BBB A+ accredited rating, and is the honored Recipient of the 2017 Better Business Bureau’s “Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics” for Southwest Missouri. BTC has sold over 5 million Branson show and attraction tickets and part of their success comes from the efforts of 100 employees dedicating themselves to marketing all that Branson offers and making sure that every customer has a great Branson experience.

Branson Tourism Center’s Garrison says that the one phone call to 1-800-785-1550 will put you in contact with one of Branson Tourism Center’s Branson based Vacation Specialists. Not only can they help with information on the Lowest Rate Lock Guarantee Program they can also help with making show, attraction, or lodging reservations. This ensures getting the best available show seats and lodging. One call takes care of it all!  There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 8:00 AM to 9.30 PM.

There’s nothing in the world like an “Ozark Mountain Christmas!”

Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas is a beautiful “centerpiece” of Ozark Mountain Christmas.

“Do you want to celebrate the simple beauty of the traditional American Christmas?” asks Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “If so, there’s no better place for you to be than in Branson, Missouri for its spectacular, one of a kind, celebration of Ozark Mountain Christmas.

Running from November 1 through December 31, Ozark Mountain Christmas blends the best of what Branson offers into a unique community wide celebration of the traditional American Christmas. It’s combination of Christmas lights, displays, spirit, inspiration, fun, and live entertainment is unlike any other in the world!

The centerpiece of Ozark Mountain Christmas is Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas Festival. Its 5 million plus glittering Christmas lights perennially receives national recognition as one of the best Christmas light displays in America.  It also features a 5 Story Special Effects Christmas Tree, two Broadway productions, and the Holly Jolly ™ Christmas Light Parade with “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer & Friends,” and more. In addition, weather allowing, its 30 plus rides and almost everything else the world class 1880s styled theme park features, is open to enjoy. Silver Dollar City’s Ozark Mountain Christmas is celebrated from November 4 through December 30.

Even in a town that’s famous for the quality of its live shows, Branson’s Christmas shows are a special. There’s excitement in the air as most of its most popular shows start their Christmas shows during the first week of November.

From the “Grinch” to the Nativity and true meaning of Christmas, Branson’s Christmas shows are full of color, fun, and the “Reason for the Season.”

For most of Branson’s shows, that’s a combination of the best from their regular season show and Christmas. Some share a mix of their ‘regular’ shows combined with special Christmas numbers throughout. These include shows such as Daniel O’Donnell, Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies, Legends In Concert, and Puttin’ On The Ritz. Shows such as Clay Cooper’s Country Express, Grand Jubilee, Presleys’ Country Jubilee, and The Haygoods, feature the best of their regular season show for half of the show and their Christmas show during the other half. Regardless of how it’s done, each show is like a snowflake, sharing Christmas in their own special way, giving Branson audiences a unique Christmas blessing and glimpse of what Christmas means to them.

Other shows are totally Christmas and only available during Ozark Mountain Christmas.  These include shows such as the Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza, Christmas Wonderland, Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, Shoji Tabuchi, and The Texas Tenors Deep In the Heart of Christmas.

How about Christmas shopping? Branson offers a year-round world class shopping experience including Branson Landing; a large variety of unique galleries, craft shops, boutiques, and specialty shops; as well as discount malls such as the Tanger Factory Outlet Center and The Shoppes at Branson Meadows. Wood said that opportunities abound to find that special one of a kind Christmas gift, for that special person, in Branson.

One of the most unique aspects of Ozark Mountain Christmas is the spirit of the traditional American Christmas that underpins it. It’s OK to say “Merry Christmas.” It’s even socially acceptable to acknowledge that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. One of the major annual highlights of Ozark Mountain Christmas is the annual “Adoration Lighting Ceremony and Parade” dedicated to “Keeping Christ in Christmas.” The 69th annual lighting of the huge Nativity Scene on top of Mount Branson and night “light parade,” will be held on December 3 in historic downtown Branson.

Wood points out that Ozark Mountain Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year in Branson and that not all shows and activities are available throughout the entirety of Ozark Mountain Christmas. To help ensure, not only availability, but getting the best available show seats and lodging, she suggests calling one of Branson Tourism Center’s Branson based Vacation Specialists at 1-800-785-1550. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 8:00 AM to 9.30 PM.

Ways families with kids can save money on Branson shows

Some of Branson’s most popular shows make it easier on the pocketbook for families to enjoy a great Branson show.

“Do you want a family vacation destination that’s filled with exciting things for your family to do and that’s easy on the pocketbook?” asks Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “It’s hard to imagine a place anywhere in the country that offers families more exiting ways to have fun or is easier on the pocketbook than Branson, Missouri.”

Garrison points out that with Branson’s lakes, attractions, museums, and over 100 live shows, shopping, and more, there’s always something new and exciting for families to see and do. Branson’s live shows are legendary for their variety, quality, and being an outstanding entertainment value. Shows further enhance that value, for families with children, in different ways.

Two of the most popular are by offering free tickets to children under certain conditions, and the use of Family Passes. Either way, it makes it easier on the pocketbook for families to enjoy their favorite Branson show.

The conditions for getting free tickets for children will vary from show to show. As one example, one of Branson’s hottest shows, the Million Dollar Quartet, offers a free child’s ticket with the purchase of each adult ticket.

Although differing from show to show, generally the Family Pass will include two adults, and up to a certain number of children, for a substantially reduced rate. Presleys’ Country Jubilee, celebrating its 50th year in Branson, is a great music and comedy show for the whole family. By using its Family Pass, a family of two adults, one teenager and two children ages 10 and 11 can save over 34% off the price of buying them separately.

The following is a list of the Branson shows, on “Branson Tourism Center’s Most Popular Shows (and Highly Recommended) List,”  offering either free tickets for children under certain conditions or Family Passes. Each entry contains a link to more information, photos, videos, schedules and ticket pricing:

Amazing Pets
AYO starring Voices of Glory
Buckets N Boards
Clay Cooper’s Country Express
Comedy Jamboree
Down Home Country
Grand Jubilee
The Haygoods
Million Dollar Quartet
New South Gospel
Ozarks Country
Ozarks Gospel
Pierce Arrow
Presleys’ Country Jubilee
Shoji Tabuchi

Garrison points out that the savings can really mount up when the free children’s tickets or Family Passes are part of a “package” including lodging. For help in finding or creating, a package that is just right for your family, and saves you the most money, please call one of our Branson based Vacation Planning Specialists at 417-785-1550. “One call can take care of it all,” he adds.


Best Branson Insider Highlights for June 2017

The “Amazing Pets Show” and “Silver Dollar City’s Star Spangled Summer Festival,” featuring the return of The Harlem Globetrotters, are two of the Branson Tourism Center’s featured events for June.

“Branson’s always a special place, but never more so than when families enjoy it together,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “With school out, it’s a pure joy to see families together as they share the adventure, fun, and excitement of a vacation in Branson.”

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

Featured Show of the Month: Amazing Pets features delightful circus-like acts performed by a most unusual cast! Cats galore, cuddly canines, and even brilliantly colored exotic birds put on a show sure to delight “kids” of all ages! It’s a magical touch of mayhem and furry frivolity and fun for the whole family to enjoy!

Trace Adkins

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: Trace Adkins, the beloved big man, with the bold baritone voice, hits the Branson stage for the first time. During his impressive career, Adkins has scored Top 40 Hits with nearly every single he’s released! These include the catchy and clever Honky Tonk Badonkadonk; his Grammy nominated collaboration and #1 hit single with Blake Shelton, Hillbilly Bone; Songs About Me; Every Light in the House; The Rest of Mine; and many more.

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 for their final season at Silver Dollar City, your favorite cartoon characters, Championship Cloggers, 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.

Featured Limited Engagements (Sorted by starting date.)

Jun 7: John Conlee
Jun 16: Home Free
Jun 23: Bill Anderson & Moe Bandy
Jun 30: Trace Adkins

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

Jun 1-2: Ballparks of America – Memorial Day Classic (10U-13U)
Jun 1-Sep 4: Branson Landing’s Annual School Shoes For Kids
Jun 2: Gold Wing Road Riders Association Parade & Light Display
Jun 2: Missouri Truck Driving Championships
Jun 3: Relay For Life
Jun 3: 18th Annual Mopars in Branson
Jun 3-9: Ballparks of America – Week 2 Summer Kickoff Tournament 10U-13U
Jun 3-Jul 16: Silver Dollar City Star Spangled Summer Festival
Jun 9-10: Branson Skaggs Classic Golf Tournament
Jun 9-10: Scott’s Challenge Firefighter Combat in Branson!
Jun 10: Run for a Vet; 5K & Half Marathon
Jun 10: Ballparks of America – Week 3 Branson City Lights Classic 10U-13U
Jun 10-17: Law Enforcement Recognition Week Celebration in Branson
Jun 15-17: Law Enforcement Recognition Week – Light Cruise Parade
Jun 17-Jun 23: Ballparks of America – Week 4 Father’s Day Classic 10U-13U
Jun 18: Father’s Day
Jun 18: Father’s Day Brunch and Car Show at Keeter Center
Jun 18: Chateau on the Lake Father’s Day Champagne Brunch
Jun 23: The Taneycomo Festival Jazz Orchestra – Live in Concert
Jun 23-25: Branson Invitational Golf Tournament
Jun 24-30: Ballparks of America – Week 5 Bring the Lumber Tournament 10U-13U
Jun 28: Branson Fly Fishing Expo

For additional information on these events, Branson’s shows and attractions, or lodging please contact the Branson Tourism Center by visiting, 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.